Looking to remain near the top of the South Division standings in the Big South Conference, Winthrop will face its final road test of the regular season when it takes on Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Winthrop (15-11, 8-5 Big South) is tied with Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville for second place in the South Division; all three trail Coastal Carolina by one game. The Eagles made the division race a little more interesting by knocking off division-leading Chanticleers on Wednesday night.
Winthrop’s 15 wins are the most since 2009-10. A win against Gardner-Webb will ensure the Eagles first winning season since 2009-10 and the first winning record in the Big South since the same season.
Winthrop is seeking its fifth win on the road in league play, which would be the most since the 2006-07 team went 7-0. Over the last five games the Eagles are 4-1 as four players have averaged double-figures led by senior Joab Jerome at 12.4 points per game. Jerome has shot 47 percent from the field, 54 percent from three and 79 percent from the foul line over that span.
Junior Keon Moore continues to lead the team in scoring at 12.4 per game and is averaging 11.2 points over the last five as he’s shooting just 37 percent from the field and 32 percent from three. Freshman Keon Johnson is averaging 10.6 points per game over the last five while shooting 50 percent from the field and 47 from three.
Gardner-Webb enters the game at 15-13 overall and 8-5 in the league and has won three of its last four games since dropping a four-overtime game at home to VMI on Feb. 5.
Furman 2, Winthrop 0 Winthrop dropped its second straight game as it opened the Spartan Classic with a loss to Furman.
Winthrop is now 3-7 on the season as it will be back in action on Saturday against the host USC Upstate at 1 p.m. and then Furman at 5 p.m. With the victory, Furman improved to 2-5.
The only scoring in the game came in the top of the first inning as Winthrop starter Sutton Watson gave up a two-run home run with one out. Watson gave up a lead-off single and then got the next batter to ground out before Ambree Muller stepped up and took the 1-0 pitch over the fence in left-center. Watson allowed a single to the next batter but over the next six and two-thirds she allowed one hit as she falls to 3-2 on the year.
Winthrop had six hits to Furman’s four, but was unable to take advantage of its scoring opportunities. The Eagles left six runners stranded including two in the first and two in the third.
In the bottom of the first after falling behind 2-0, Winthrop’s Paige Haley singled to right with one out. She moved to second two batters later when Sarah Allen singled to through the hole at short but the threat ended on a groundout to second by Alex White.
The Eagles left two stranded in the third as again Haley singled with one out, which was followed by a McKenzi Corn single up the middle. Allen struck out looking and then White grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
In its last chance, Winthrop threatened in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a throwing error. With two outs, Kelsey Ritter reached on a throwing error and moved to second base. Leah Young came in to pinch-hit but struck out looking to end the game.
Watson tossed her fourth complete game of the year as she allowed the two runs on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Haley was the only Eagle with multiple hits as Zharne Glover, Corn, Allen and Mel Andrea each had singles.
Women’s Tennis from Thursday
Winthrop 4, East Tennessee St. 2: The Eagles won their second match in two days.
In the doubles competition, the Eagles would win 2 matches, along with the doubles point. Winthrop’s Alice and Andressa Garcia faced East Tennessee State’s Salma Dahbi and Giulia Andreazza in the No. 1 doubles position, winning impressively, 8-1, while Caitlin Cridland and Ekin Gunaysu came up short, 8-2, against the Pirate’s Lyn Yee Choo and Jessica Brumit in the No. 2 doubles position. The Eagles would capture the doubles point in the No. 3 doubles position, as Monica Aguado and Tijana Uzelac defeated Sofia Espana and Anna Gerbasi 8-3.
Winthrop would continue its success in the singles competition. In the No. 1 singles position, Andressa Garcia won in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3, against Choo, while Alice Garcia was also victorious in straight sets over Andreazza, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 2 singles position. Cridland would continue the straight sets dominance for the Eagles, as she defeated Gerbasi 6-4, 6-2, in the No. 3 singles position, but Espana would capture the No. 4 singles position against Uzelac, 6-1, 6-4. Gunaysu was leading Dahbi 4-6, 6-1, 4-0, in the No. 5 singles position, when the match was decided, and Aguado would fall to Brumit, 6-2, 7-5, in the No. 6 singles position.
After the match, Coach Cid Carvalho spoke about the way the Eagles have been playing, “I’m proud of the way our players played against Charlotte yesterday, and East Tennessee today. We are looking forward to go play Furman next week.”
Winthrop’s record now stands at 2-1 on the season. Their next match is at Furman on Saturday, March 1st, at 1 P.M.