College Sports

Eagles' bats still hot at home tournament

UNC Wilmington's Amanda Aditays must have felt like she was pitching in a home run derby Saturday morning at Terry Field. The only problem was the Seahawks' righthander wasn't trying to serve up gopher balls to Winthrop's Eagles.

It just happened.

Stephanie Reid, Mallory Hogan and Jo-Lynn Smith all went yard for the third time this year in the first inning and the Eagles cruised from there, dealing the Seahawks a 10-0 setback in a Winthrop/adidas Invitational game that was shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule.

"Coaching is easy when you have three kids hit home runs and you're up 5-0 and hitting the ball like we were," Winthrop coach Mark Cooke said. "Obviously, we're real happy the way we're hitting the ball."

Winthrop, 15-10, was scheduled to finish play in Pool A with a matchup against N.C. A&T, winless in the tournament, at 3 p.m., but that game, and the rest of Saturday's schedule, was postponed by a severe storm that hit Terry Softball Complex at 2:45 p.m.

Pool play will resume this morning at 9 with Memphis/Vermont and Furman/Charlotte completing games that were suspended Saturday.

Play on all three fields will continue at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. However, there will be no pool play championship games.

N.C. A&T freshman pitcher Jennifer Luper, a former Fort Mill standout, will try to calm down Winthrop's hitters.

Aditays, 6-5, got off to a good start against Winthrop, getting Tessa Thomas, who had opened both games Friday with a double, to ground to shortstop. Then, the bottom fell out.

Big South Conference preseason player of the year Lisa Kingsmore ran her hitting streak to 20 games with a single to left. Shortstop Stephanie Reid then took Aditays deep to right center. Hogan followed with a homer to straight-away center field.

Hogan just missed another round tripper by a few feet in the third inning.

Shaken by the back-to-back blasts, Aditays walked Lenny Stoddart. Smith followed with another long ball to center to give the Eagles a 5-0 lead.

Winthrop has been tearing the cover off the ball since going through what Cooke called "one of the best sessions of batting practice we've ever had," just before a doubleheader against Charlotte on March 5.

Since then, Winthrop has banged out 60 hits in seven games, all victories.

"I can live with that," Cooke said with a big smile. "Hitting is contagious. Everyone is getting in a rhythm. They seem to feed off each other. Mallory has been in a zone for the last five or six games."

Megan Evans improved to 7-4, going four innings, allowing three hits while striking out five.

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