CLINTON, SC – Winthrop softball coach Mark Cooke broke the Big South record for career victories Thursday as the Eagles swept a conference doubleheader at Presbyterian, 4-3 and 9-5.
The Eagles improved to 15-13 overall and moved their conference record to 3-2. Presbyterian fell to 14-11 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Head coach Mark Cooke now has 670 career victories in his 25 years coaching in the Big South. He broke the previous record of 669 wins which was owned by Jess Dannelly of Coastal Carolina.
In the first game of the afternoon, the Eagles and Blue Hose were scoreless through the first three innings with each team managing only two hits.
Winthrop broke the deadlock in the top of the fourth as senior Mel Andrea picked up a one-out single before junior Kelsey Ritter hit her second homerun of the season, a two-run shot, over the left field fence to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Freshman Megan Winningham extended the Winthrop lead to 3-0 with a solo shot in the top of the fourth, her second of the season. The Eagles added an insurance run as Alex White notched a RBI single to extend the Winthrop lead to 4-0 through the top of the fifth.
Presbyterian got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth behind a one-out fielding error by the Eagles. The Blue Hose closed within 4-2 after five innings. Presbyterian threatened in the sixth, but couldn’t push home a run. In the seventh, the Blue Hose led off with a homerun to make it 4-3, but senior Sara Allen sat down the rest in order to preserve the victory.
Allen pitched all seven innings allowed three runs, one earned on six hits while striking out four, improving her record 6-5 on the season. Senior McKenzi Corn went 3-for-3 in the game with one run scored and walked in her other plate appearance. Andrea and Ritter each notched two hits.
The second game was a much more high-scoring affair as both clubs put up a run in the first inning. Both teams continued scoring in the second as the Eagles put up two runs in the top of the inning off an RBI single from Maddi Antone and a sacrifice fly from Holli Ryan. Presbyterian responded with four runs in the bottom of the second to take a 5-3 lead.
After a scoreless third inning, the Eagles put up four runs on four hits in the top of the fourth. Junior Christine Dewitt singled home the first run and then Presbyterian miscues allowed the Eagles to put up three more unearned runs in the inning.
Winthrop continued the scoring in the fifth inning, picking up two runs on RBI singles from Ritter and Antone to put the Eagles up 9-5.
Sophomore Dallas King picked up the victory for the Eagles after coming in in relief for starter Bradlee Holeman. King pitched 5.2 scoreless innings, allowed only three hits and struck out three batters. King’s record now stands at 4-1 on the season.
Kelsey Ritter and Maddi Antone each recorded three hits with Antone notching two RBI and Ritter, one. Alex White and Mel Andrea each had two hits apiece.
The Eagles will continue their conference road trip this weekend with a three-game series at Longwood. Winthrop and the Lancers kick off the series with a doubleheader Saturday starting at 2 p.m.