Winthrop University

Critical series for Winthrop baseball this weekend in Charleston

The Winthrop baseball team hits the road this weekend to take on Charleston Southern in a three-game Big South Conference series. Winthrop is 1-5 in its last two visits to the Buccaneers.

“We haven’t gone down there and played very well since I’ve been here,” said Winthrop coach Tom Riginos. “We definitely have something to prove this weekend.”

The Eagles (29-14, 7-8 Big South) are looking to extend a seven-game winning streak and a four-game conference winning streak. They are battling for position in the Big South standings after a slow start, and currently sit sixth behind their hosts this weekend.

Winthrop’s offense struggled in recent years, but the Eagles’ bats have been potent this spring. The team leads the Big South in batting average (.301) and ranks 14th in the country in total hits, led by senior Brad Kaczka. Kaczka has 57 hits for a batting average of .373 and has drive in 26 runs. Fellow senior John Menken leads the team with six home runs, while junior Anthony Paulsen has a team-high 17 doubles and 34 RBI. Paulsen, Kaczka and junior Roger Gonzalez are all in the top-10 in the conference in batting average.

After having a seven-game winning streak snapped by the Citadel on Tuesday, Charleston Southern (20-19, 9-6 Big South) is trying to build upon a 16-11 win over Furman. The Bucs pitching staff ranks fourth in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings with 9.3. Friday night starter Andrew Tomasovich - a former Fort Mill High School standout - has 73 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.58. The Bucs hitters have combined for 391 hits and an overall average of .285, led by seniors Chase Shelton and Andrew Widdell. The pair have combined for 50 RBI, five home runs and 94 hits.

The games are scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Winthrop then faces Presbyterian and Longwood in its final two Big South series, while Charleston Southern closes with league-leading Radford and Presbyterian.

Big South Conference baseball standings (after April 22)

Team

Conference record

Overall record

Radford

12-3

26-13

Coastal Carolina

11-4

27-13

Liberty

11-4

25-16

High Point

9-6

21-18

Charleston Southern

9-6

20-19

Winthrop

7-8

29-14

Campbell

8-10

25-17

Gardner-Webb

5-10

19-22

Longwood

5-10

17-22

Presbyterian

4-11

23-18

UNC Asheville

3-12

17-24

Top-eight teams make the Big South Conference tournament

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