Winthrop will ride a four-game win streak into the 6 p.m. game today against No. 9 North Carolina at Boshamer Stadium.
The Eagles (14-13) beat Furman on March 29 and then pulled off a three-game Big South series sweep at High Point over the weekend. Winthrop used a season-best 19 hits in a 10-8 come-from-behind win at High Point on Sunday giving the team five straight games with 10 or more hits.
Winthrop coach Tom Riginos saw his team break out of a seven-way tie for second place in the conference standings at High Point. The team is now in sole possession of second.
"We never expect a sweep on the road," Riginos said. "Now that the guys are getting used to the new bats they hits are coming. We're still not hitting on all cylinders. We tell the guys all the time, it's not a sprint, its a marathon. We want to peak at the right time."
Coastal Carolina, the Big South preseason favorite, swept Liberty last weekend to claim the top spot in the standings.
Tonight's game at North Carolina is the Eagles' fourth contest against a nationally-ranked opponent this season. Winthrop lost at No. 28 San Diego, 7-5, on Feb. 19. The team lost 22-5 and 10-0 at No. 1 Florida two weeks ago.
Winthrop has dropped its last nine games against ranked teams. The last time the Eagles upended a club in the national rankings was April 8, 2009 when they took the first game of a double header, 7-4, at No. 5 Georgia.
"We have some confidence," Riginos said. "We came from behind twice in a four-win week and there's not a lot of motivation needed to play a team like North Carolina. We'll keep on doing what we are doing."
North Carolina (26-4) is off to one of its best starts. Their record matches the school's best 30-game mark set by the 2007 Tar Heels.
The team swept No. 16 Clemson last weekend. It was the first time since 1990 North Carolina has swept Clemson at Boshamer Stadium.
Riginos said his team will play to win regardless of UNC's lofty rank (No.9 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, No.16 in Baseball America).
"We expect to win. Whenever we take the field we expect to win," he said. "Whoever is pitching I expect they will pitch well. That's why we schedule those teams; to develop those guys."
The game is the first of two midweek tilts for the Eagles, who host The Citadel on Wednesday. Winthrop used several pitchers in the High Point series and will split up the innings against North Carolina and The Citadel.
Winthrop will host Big South foe UNC Asheville Friday through Sunday at The Winthrop Ballpark.