It's hard to believe that college baseball is less than a month away with some remnants of snow still visible.
Winthrop's first-year coach Tom Riginos spent some time Tuesday morning going over his team. He explained what he saw as three unique stages in taking over the program: conflict; commitment, and winning championships.
The conflict stage is over. Now the team is committed.
"The players are all on the same path," Riginos said. "They believe in what the coaches are doing. We had a good fall. It was a learning experience for myself, the players and the coaches."
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The fall schedule helped Riginos identify his weekend starters. He said Tyler Mizenko, Matteo D'Angelo and Robert Lake have separated themselves. D'Angelo and Lake are seniors that have been the workhorses on the staff the last two seasons. The two have combined to start 53 games, or 37 percent of the team's games the last two years.
Mizenko, a junior, is the school's all-time leader in saves. He made two spot starts last season.
Riginos said Mizenko has "the best stuff on the staff." He was clocked at 97 mph last season according to Winthrop's media relations office.
"On a Friday night, (Mizenko) gives us the best chance to win," Riginos said. "I'd rather give him 85 to 100 innings this year."
The new coach also gave us some news on the 2012 schedule that will include a home game against Georgia Tech and road trips to Arizona State, Georgia and Clemson.
WOMEN'S TENNIS -- Winthrop junior Sandra Herrera has been selected as the Big South Conference Player of the Week for matches played the opening weekend of the 2011 season.
Herrera helped the Eagles open the 2011 season with a 2-0 start on Saturday, as she went a perfect 4-for-4 in No. 1 doubles and singles. In doubles, Herrera and Giovanna Portioli defeated Hampton, 8-3.
She and Portioli then topped Wofford 8-3 later that day. In singles action, Herrera defeated Hampton's Barenes Myers, 6-0, 6-1 in No. 1 singles, and then took down Haley Baird of the Terriers, 6-2, 6-3.
WOMEN'S TENNIS TAKES ON ACC COMPETITION -- Winthrop will play at North Carolina on Saturday, at Wake Forest on Sunday and at Clemson on Tuesday.
HAMMICK HAMPERED -- Women's basketball center TaQuoia Hammick missed Monday's game vs. Presbyterian with a knee injury. Lady Eagles coach Bud Childers is optimistic the injury isn't serious. Hammick, a junior, has come on strong in her last three games. She is shooting 78 percent (11-of-14) from the floor in that span.
Childers used Ashley Cox at center and Mary Hathaway at power forward at times against PC. Neither player has experience at those positions.
UPCOMING -- The Lady Eagles (8-8, 2-2 Big South) play their next two games on the road, at UNC Asheville (8-8, 1-4) and at High Point (7-10, 1-3). High Point forward Cheyenne Parker was named Big South Freshman of the Week after posting career-highs at Gardner-Webb with 19 points,16 rebounds and five steals in 37 minutes.
DOING GOOD, BACK HOME -- Henry Kalungi, a former men's soccer player at Winthrop and current member of the Richmond Kickers, has been working in his home country of Uganda during the off-season in an effort to improve the lives of children through soccer.
Kalungi is director and co-founder of the Uganda Youth Soccer Academy (UYSA), which is a community-based soccer academy established to offer opportunities to the disadvantaged youth of Uganda through soccer and education.
"We started this academy with a goal of helping the orphans from slums and other places to earn a life," Kalungi said on winthropeagles.com. "I go early in the morning on Wednesdays and Saturdays to coach the kids and teach them life skills and to encourage positive decisions."
Originally from Kampala, Uganda, Kalungi represented his country as a member of the U-20 National Team. He came to the United States to play for Winthrop, earning honors as All-Big South in 2006, as well as team MVP, Big South All-Tournament Team and NSCAA/adidas All-South Atlantic Region Team.