Winthrop and The Citadel wasted little time before postponing Tuesday's baseball game at The Winthrop Ballpark because of persistent rain.
The game will be made up at 6 p.m. April 6 in Rock Hill. The teams will play at 6 tonightat The Citadel's home field, Riley Park, in Charleston.
Winthrop first-year coach Tom Riginos said he and the Eagles were excited to play Tuesday. Pitcher Dom Patterozzi was scheduled to get his first start of the season.
The redshirt-junior had an impressive first season going for the Eagles in 2009. He was 3-2 with 29 strikeouts in 30 1-3 innings before sustaining a season-ending arm injury that required surgery.
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Patterozzi returned to the mound last season with mixed results; too many walks and extra base hits allowed. He was 0-5 in 14 appearances including seven starts.
"Dom is throwing well," Riginos said. "We were excited about getting him out there (Tuesday). It would have been an opportunity for him to step up."
Riginos and pitching coach Clint Chrysler were undecided on today's starter. They may still throw Patterozzi.
Ken Monteith is another option. The junior was given his first starting assignment of the season on Sunday against Stony Brook. He allowed four runs on six hits in three innings and left the game with a 6-4 lead. He started two games last season.
Winthrop is 6-8 on the year. Riginos has said he and the staff needed about 20 games to be in a position to assign player's roles.
"We're getting closer," Riginos allowed. "Mitchell Knox, Eric Ruth and Tommy Lawrence have done well in the bullpen. Monteith had a solid outing, and (Matt) Pierpont is starting to come along."
Among the position players, Riginos has been impressed by the play of freshman T.J. Olesczuk who is the team's second-leading hitter at .395.
"T.J. has great bat speed. For a freshman, he's shown an ability to barrel balls up. The ball jumps off his bat," Riginos said.
Olesczuk came to Winthrop from Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., not far from New York City. His father, Tom, played baseball for the Manhattan College Jaspers. Tom was in Rock Hill for the Coca-Cola Classic tournament, March 4-6, to see his son, and his alma mater. T.J. went 2-for-4 to help Winthrop beat Manhattan, 10-3.
There are a lot of new responsibilities for Riginos as head coach this season after serving as an assistant coach for nearly two decades. Making the final decision on postponing, or playing, games is proving to be a tough call.
"No doubt about it," he said, chuckling in the dugout Tuesday night. "I've looked at the radar more than ever. Tonight, it was the right decision."
The last thing Riginos and The Citadel coach Fred Jordan wanted was to start the game, then have to stop and restart again. Using up pitching for a non-conference game didn't interest either coach.
Winthrop opens up Big South Conference play on Friday at The Winthrop Ballpark with a three-game series with VMI. The Citadel hosts Southern Conference foe Davidson this weekend.
The weather looks great for baseball at Riley Park today. The forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 73 degrees.