Winthrop used a 20-hit attack, including a record-tying five hits from TJ Olesczuk, to defeat USC Upstate 13-5 on Tuesday evening at The Winthrop Ballpark.
The trio of Olesczuk, Chad Smith and Babe Thomas combined to go 13 for 15 at the plate in the first ever game between the two schools, located just 60 miles apart.
Olesczuk tied a school record by going 5 for 5. He is the 11th player in Winthrop history to collect five hits in a nine inning game. He had three singles, a double and triple. Smith, a junior third baseman from Rock Hill, had his second career four-hit game while Thomas earned his first collegiate four-hit game.
Junior-college transfer Zac Goodno hit his first Winthrop home run.
The win improved Winthrop to 5-3 on the season while Upstate fell to 4-5.
Sophomore starting right-hander Zach Sighlter earned his first collegiate victory by pitching five innings while allowing one run on three hits. He struck out four and walked a pair. Spartans freshman starter Eric Birklund suffered the loss to fall to 0-1.
Upstate took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the second inning of Winthrop starter Zac Sightler as Zach Krider opened the inning with a single up the middle, moved to second on another base hit by Daniel Seeba and then scored on a two-out single to right by designated hitter Brian Thompson. Upstate loaded the bases when Justin Allen walked, but Sightler worked his way out of trouble.
Winthrop came right back with four runs in its half of the inning as the Eagles banged out four hits and took advantage of three walks by Birklund. John Menken walked to lead off the frame and scored on a RBI single by Stephen Wallace. Winthrop loaded the bases with the help of a single and two more walks before Chad Smith brought two more runs home with a single through the left side. Winthrop scored its fourth run of the inning on a double by Olesczuk into the left field corner off relief pitcher Josh Howard that scored Brad Kazcka. Smith was thrown out at home to end the inning.
The Eagles tacked on two more runs in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead. Kyle Edwards led off with a single to center and ended up scoring on a wild pitch by Howard. Kaczka, who also reached on a single, came home with the second run of the inning when Olesczuk lined a single up the middle for his third RBI of the game.
Winthrop added three more runs in the sixth off reliever Austin Goss. Smith greeted Goss with his second hit of the day and scored on Olesczuk’s triple. Goodno cleared the bases by lining his home run to left center.
Upstate got two runs back in the seventh off Eagles reliever Travis Shelley as the Spartans strung together a walk and three hits. Both runs scored on a bases loaded single by Tyler Lesch. Jason Driver came on in relief to get the final two outs and prevent further damage.
But Winthrop made it a 12-3 game in its half of the seventh by plating three more runs on three hits and one Spartans error. Olesczuk picked up his fourth hit of the game and fourth RBI to highlight the inning.
Winthrop will travel to Jacksonville University this weekend for a three-game series against the Dolphins. The Eagles will play road games at Wofford and Vanderbilt before returning home for a March 12 game against the Terriers.