John Murrian was a single shy of the cycle to help lead Winthrop to a 17-9 win over Eastern Michigan on the first day of the season-opening Johnny Gill Memorial Tournament.
Murrian, a junior catcher, did not play baseball last summer. Instead, he lifted weights, put on about 10 pounds and is stronger than he's ever been.
"It was nice just to go home, work on my swing," Murrian said. "I can definitely tell a difference."
He doubled in a run in the fifth, hit a two-run homer in the sixth and a two-run triple in the seventh. He finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs. His home run cleared the scoreboard in right field.
"I didn't see where it went, but I was pretty happy with it," Murrian said with a smiled.
Winthrop sent eight men to the plate in the first inning. Eddie Tisdale, Kevin Nolan and Eddie Rohan walked to load the bases. Tony Brunetti delivered a two-out, two-run single.
The 2-0 lead was all Winthrop pitcher Matteo D'Angelo (1-0) needed. Making his Eagles' debut as a starter, the sophomore scattered four hits, struck out five and did not allow a walk in five innings.
Eastern Michigan starting pitcher Tim Combs (0-1) walked four batters in the first and lasted just three innings, walking six.
Winthrop tallied 13 hits and drew 12 walks in the game.
D'Angelo worked out of trouble in the fourth inning. He gave up a leadoff triple to Jim Gulliver. Zack Leonard followed with a run-scoring single to right. Two outs later, EMU's Andrew Marshall lined a shot off D'Angelo's right leg.
D'Angelo lay on the ground toward the first-base side of the mound while trainers attended to him. He stayed in the game and struck out Aaron Powell to finish the inning.
Winthrop coach Joe Hudak lifted him after three pitches to start the sixth.
"(D'Angelo) is fortunate it was on the side (of his knee). It is just a bruise," Hudak said after the game.
Tyler McBride hit a three-run triple off the base of the right field wall in the five-run fifth. McBride, a junior centerfielder, was scheduled to pitch the second game of today's doubleheader. An injured index finger on his pitching hand snuffed that thought.
"This is a good start. Any time you can get everyone into the game is good," Hudak said. He used every available hitter.
"A lot of young guys had a chance to get their feet wet. But it is just the first game," Hudak added.
Eastern Michigan played George Washington at 11:30 a.m. and needed 13 innings to pull out a 5-4 win. Trailing 4-3, Andrew Marshall hit a game-winning, two-out, two-run double down the right-field line. The game lasted 4 hours, 24 minutes, giving them nearly eight hours of baseball in the two games.
The Eagles will play two games today. They take on George Washington at noon, followed by Eastern Michigan again. Dom Patterozzi will pitch the first game for Winthrop, and Robert Lake will pitch the second game.
Karl Lyles • 329-4032