Winthrop’s baseball team pulled off its second ninth inning walk-off win of the day to defeat No. 3 seed Presbyterian College 4-3 Saturday night in the Big South Conference baseball tournament at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium.
The win sets up a rematch against the Blue Hose at 10 a.m. on Sunday with the winner advancing to the 3 p.m. championship game against Radford. Earlier Saturday, Winthrop survived an elimination game with High Point, beating the Panthers 14-13 after scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth.
The same late heroics were needed against the Blue Hose late Saturday night. Trailing 3-1 heading into its final at bat, Winthrop rallied for the win as it took advantage of two errors by PC shortstop Cletis Avery.
10/22 Winthrop has scored 10 of its 22 runs in three tournament games during its last batting turn, either in the ninth or 10th inning.
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Jake Sullivan reached on a throwing error by Avery and Matthew Mulkey, the hero in Winthrop’s 14-13 win over High Point earlier in the day, followed with a sharp single to left. Grant English then sacrificed both runners to third and second and Anthony Paulsen was issued an intentional walk to load the bases. Mitch Spires then dropped a soft liner over the shortstop’s head to score Sullivan. Tyler Halstead tied the game with a sacrifice fly to deep right to score Mulkey and Paulsen moved to third. That brought Babe Thomas to the plate whose grounder to Avery was mishandled allowing Paulsen to score the winning run.
With the win Winthrop improves to 34-24 while PC drops to 31-28.
Winthrop overcame a five-run deficit with six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to eliminate No. 4 High Point 14-13.
The game was played at River Bluff High School’s field which yielded a tournament-record 13 home runs, including seven by Winthrop. Both Hunter Lipscomb and Babe Thomas crushed two each. Headed into Sunday morning, Lipscomb is 8-for-17 at the plate with 11 RBI in four games.
Lipscomb’s second shot and his sixth of the year was a three-run homer in the ninth that cut HPU’s lead to 13-11. Thomas then made it a one-run game as he followed with his 11th long ball of the year, before Matthew Mulkey’s two-RBI double off the center field batter’s eye drove home Tyler Halstead and Jake Sullivan with the tying and winning runs.
Winthrop (33-23) fell behind 8-0 after four innings as the Panthers (29-24) connected on five home runs, including a pair by Zach Gray. Four of the long balls came off Eagle starter Reece Green while southpaw reliever Thad Harris was greeted by a home run on his first pitch.
Winthrop cut the deficit to 8-7 with three runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth as all seven runs came off home runs.
Thomas connected on a three-run shot, his 10th of the season, to straight away center field in the fourth that was the first to ever clear the batters eye behind the 370-foot fence. Lipscomb drove a three-run homer to right center that that made it an 8-6 game. Mulkey then made it a one-run game with a solo shot to left.
High Point added a single run in the sixth on home run by Austen Zente and then put the Panthers up 13-8 with four runs in the eighth, highlighted by Josh Greene’s second HR of the game.
Winthrop refused to quit as the Eagles fought back with a single run in the eighth on second baseman Brandon Fite’s solo shot to right center in the seventh, and then rallied for six in the ninth.
Zach Peek picked up the win for Winthrop to improve to 5-1 while Cooper Jeffers took the loss to see his record fall to 1-3.