The Winthrop baseball team returns to the Winthrop Ballpark today for a 5 p.m. non-conference game against The Citadel. The Eagles are home for the rest of the regular season. They will host Liberty Thursday through Saturday and then also host the Big South Baseball Championship May 25-29.
The Citadel (34-20) has won four straight games. The Bulldogs lead the Southern Conference standings with a 21-6 mark and will try to wrap up the regular season title this weekend at third-place Georgia Southern.
Winthrop (23-26) won two of the three Big South games they played at VMI last weekend. Eddie Rohan hit his 40th home run and Robert Lake threw the second complete game of his career in Lexington, Va.
Today's game is the third and final meeting of the season for the two schools. The Citadel won the first game, 7-3, in Charleston. The Bulldogs won 10-8 at the Winthrop Ballpark on April 7 and roughed up Eagles' pitchers for 19 hits.
Dom Patterozzi (0-4, 9.31 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for Winthrop. Eagles' coach Joe Hudak wants to save his pitching for the Liberty series. His team is a game out of fourth place in the conference standings. The top four seeds in the conference tournament receive a first-round bye.
"The weekends have been more important for us for a while. Certainly this (game) isn't unimportant and we'd like to win," Hudak said.
The coach will not use closer Tyler Mizenko tonight. The sophomore right-hander picked up a save Friday and threw again on Sunday. Mizenko leads the team with five saves and will be rested for Liberty.
Hudak was pleased with his team's performance at VMI.
"It was a good weekend for us. We have thought all along we are a better club than we have showed," he said. "Friday and Saturday we played very well. Sunday we got down early but there wasn't any question in our minds that we couldn't come back and win."
The Keydets took the series finale 7-5.
The Bulldogs will send Austin Pritcher (2-3, 6.51) to the mound today. He has started the previous two contests against the Eagles. He got the win in Charleston by limiting the Eagles to two runs on five hits in six innings. In Rock Hill he was smacked around for eight runs off nine hits in 42/3.
Former Clover High School standout Jeremy Long has been used sparingly for The Citadel in his sophomore season. He has come out of the bullpen in six games and has thrown 52/3 innings.