Eagles win third straight, blast Wagner 10-6

Ryan Schwartz delivers a pitch Friday against Wagner.
Ryan Schwartz delivers a pitch Friday against Wagner.

It's not a concern stranding a village on the basepaths when you're blasting them out of the park.

Winthrop smashed three home runs on Friday as it won its third straight, beating Wagner 10-6 in the first of a four-game series. Bryn Henderson, John Murrian and Aaron Bonomi each hit their first homers of the season to provide six runs and Ryan Schwartz picked up his first win since the season-opener as the Eagles continued to flourish in their new start.

Following a nine-game losing streak to some of the top programs in the country, coach Joe Hudak called his troops together. They were in Houston at the time, had just lost four straight to No. 15 Rice and were about to pack up for a thrown-in two-game set at Prairie View A&M.

"It's a learning experience for them, but at the same time, we need to learn," Hudak recalled. "The game teaches you a lot of lessons. For 17 games, we got taught a lot of stuff. The key is learning it.

"We talked about starting a second season before that doubleheader and we're 3-0 in this second season."

Winthrop's bats scored 31 runs in the games at Prairie View and added another 10-spot on Friday. Four singles and a balk in the first inning provided a 3-0 lead and the Eagles played longball after that.

Winthrop (6-14) only left three runners on, quite a change from the seven it was averaging before the Prairie View series. The batting averages kept rising as well, each starter getting at least one hit.

"We just stayed a team the whole time," said catcher Murrian, who was the Eagles' designated hitter against the Seahawks while rehabbing from a tender throwing elbow. "Tough losses and a couple of tight games. We stayed together as a team real well and kept playing hard."

Schwartz, after a couple of messy outings, threw a masterful game, striking out five and giving up two earned runs in 7 2-3 innings. He worked himself out of jams in four frames and gave up a couple of wind-aided homers but was otherwise effective.

Winthrop also took advantage of the wind, Henderson lofting a high flier to right that carried over the fence for a three-run shot. Bonomi put a little more juice into his and cleared the wall while Murrian lasered his out to left.

Murrian's shot also bailed the Eagles out of the only sour spot of the evening. Cruising with a 9-2 lead in the seventh, Schwartz (2-2) departed with two outs and two on, the next-to-last reaching on an error.

Casey Bradwell and Cam Walters never got that stubborn last out as Wagner (6-5) notched four runs. Matteo D'Angelo finally struck out Damian Csakai on a full-count pitch to stop the damage.

With a few nervous eyes dotting around the park, Murrian hammered his second pitch out in the bottom of the frame. D'Angelo took the mound for the ninth, struck out his first two and retired Vin Avella on a groundout for his first save.

"Feels good to get some insurance on that," Murrian said. "Help the team out, make sure we're winning."

Hudak congratulated the team and instructed it to get ready for tomorrow. He didn't have to point out the record is hardly worth shouting about but winning a few more ballgames would be.

"These games have prepared us," Hudak said. "We've struggled and nobody is happy about where we are but we've all stayed together."

The Eagles and Seahawks clash again at 4 p.m. today. Freshman Hamilton Bennett (0-4, 8.44 ERA) is scheduled to start.

• NOTE: Monday's game hosting Wagner will begin at 4 p.m. instead of the original 3 p.m. ... Eddie Rohan took Murrian's spot behind the plate.