Sports

Froehlich goes deep twice in Eagle win

If Sean Sullivan ever gets tired of playing baseball, he can have a great career as a fortune-teller.

Winthrop's freshman infielder said after a 5-2 loss to Wagner on Saturday that he had a feeling things were going to change the next game. Whether it was Sullivan's mojo or no desire to have another lengthy postgame meeting with the coaching staff, something worked -- the Eagles got two home runs from Billy Froehlich and excellent mound performances from Ryan Mullins and Matteo D'Angelo as they beat Wagner 4-1 on Sunday.

"We were ready to play today," coach Joe Hudak said, all smiles and completely the opposite from the previous 24 hours. "You hate that it takes a loss to teach you that lesson. But if we learn it and it doesn't happen again, at least we would have learned it."

After mostly offensive non-production on Saturday, Winthrop (7-15) jumped immediately in front on Sunday. Bryn Henderson continued his hot streak by lashing a two-out single in the first to bring up Froehlich.

The senior waited on two pitches and then found the one he wanted. He belted a shot over the right-center fence for his second homer of the season and a 2-0 lead.

"(Saturday), I went 0-4, I'm just trying to be more consistent," said Froehlich, who had a perfect 4-for-4 day on Sunday with two homers, a double and three RBIs, drawing questions about what he ate for breakfast. "They fell behind a few at-bats and put it over the middle of the plate."

Winthrop added another run in the third and turned it over to Mullins, who started his third game of the season and turned in another gem. The senior lefty scattered four hits over 6 1-3 innings, giving up one run, one walk and striking out three.

The Eagles' Iron Man reliever in 2007, Mullins (1-0) led the Big South Conference with 33 appearances and was in line to relieve again this year. Instead, he's blossomed into a weekend starter, a position he should keep holding when Winthrop begins Big South play next week at VMI.

"I wanted it to happen, I wasn't really expecting it to happen," Mullins said. "I just think mostly it's the guys are not hitting it right now. They're making me look good."

He buzzed through his innings with only 79 pitches, working himself out of two early trouble spots, before tiring in the seventh. After recording the frame's first out after a leadoff double, Mullins departed to a warm round of applause and turned the game over to D'Angelo.

The Italian import, two days after his first career save, was again golden. D'Angelo closed the door with 2 1-3 innings of hitless relief, allowing one runner on an error and striking out six of nine.

"Pretty excited because it's the first time I've closed games in my life," he said. "Kind of a weird feeling because I'm usually a starter. I don't mind being a closer."

Froehlich tattooed another shot in the gap between the center field wall and the Screen Monster to lead off the sixth -- "Whatever he ate today or however he slept last night or whatever, he needs to do it again," Hudak quipped -- and the Eagles cruised to the finish. It felt like a 300-pound weight had been lifted off The Winthrop Ballpark as the team cheerfully performed the field-cleaning tasks.

Everything wasn't perfect, as Hudak pointed out. The Eagles ran themselves out of four potential rallies with baserunning mistakes, which deprived them a chance of putting the game away early. But considering the team looked low enough to change an ant's transmission a day earlier, a win was the most important goal.

Mission accomplished.

"We made some mistakes, we swung the bats well, should have gotten more than we got," Hudak said. "But it was certainly good to get a win."

Today's series-ender will be played at 3:30 p.m., a change from the original 4 p.m. Freshman Robert Lake (1-0, 3.50 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Eagles.

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