CHARLESTON — The Winthrop baseball team came up short in a back-and-forth game, losing to The Citadel 6-4 in Charleston on Wednesday night.
The loss drops Winthrop to 1-2, while The Citadel improves to 3-1. The same two teams will battle again in Rock Hill on March 5.
Winthrop jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in top of the first inning with the first five Eagles batters reaching base safely. Nick Bateman and Leighton Daniels led off the game with base hits and Cody Dolan followed with an RBI single to score Bateman. Matt Lobacz walked to load the bases and Clay Altman drew another walk to score Daniels.
The Citadel responded in the bottom half of the first when Mason Davis led off with a walk and advanced to second on a balk by Winthrop freshman starting pitcher Joey Strain. Davis came home on a single to center field by Bo Thompson.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the second when Bailey Rush singled through the right side and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Strain. An RBI single by Hughston Armstrong scored Rush knotting the game at 2-2.
The Eagles struck again in the third when Dolan walked to lead off the inning and Lobacz followed with a single to left field. Clay Altman and TJ Olesczuk reached on back-to-back errors plating Dolan to give Winthrop the lead. Lobacz scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Kyle Edwards, and the Eagles regained their 2-run advantage, 4-2.
The Citadel battled back in the bottom of the fifth to score two unearned runs on a two-run single by Joe Jackson that scored Armstrong and Johnathan Stokes to tie the game at 4-4. The Bulldogs took the lead in the eighth when Rush doubled to right-center scoring Drew DeKerlegand from second. Rush came all the way home to score on the play as well on a throwing error by Daniels.
Bulldog reliever David Rivera (1-0) was credited with the win and Skylar Hunter got his first save of the season. Winthrop's Sam Kmiec (0-1), who came on in relief in the eighth, took the loss.
The Eagles were led at the plate by Daniels, Altman, and Dolan with two hits each, Daniels, Altman, and TJ Olesczuk have now hit safely in all three games this season.
The Eagles return to action Thursday night against Delaware State in an added game on the schedule starting at 6 p.m. at The Winthrop Ballpark. Matt Pierpont (0-0, 1.50 ERA) is expected to start against the Hornets. Admission to Thursday night's game is free.
The Coca-Cola Classic takes place this weekend at The Winthrop Ballpark and gets started at noon Friday when Army takes on Eastern Kentucky, followed by Winthrop and Delaware State at 4 p.m.