The third-seeded Winthrop baseball team rallied to score four runs in the seventh inning to defeat No. 6 seed Campbell in the teams’ opener of the Big South tournament.
The Eagles will now play No. 2 Coastal Carolina on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Sam Kmiec earned the win, throwing seven innings and allowing five runs on 12 hits. Travis Shelley got his fourth save of the year, holding the Camels to just two hits in the final three innings. Heath Bowers took the loss, surrendering six runs on 11 hits in six innings.
“All year our guys have had no quit in them and you really saw that today,” said Tom Riginos, coach at Winthrop. “We just kept battling and grab a run here and there and then had a big seventh inning.”
Designated hitter Tyler Asbill, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, agreed about his team’s mindset while being behind late in the game.
“We really were just trying to grind it out,” says the junior. “We got a few runs, then had a big inning and ended up on top.”
Campbell took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning as Seth LaRue scored on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Brian Taylor.
Mark Lowrie tied it up in the bottom of the second, coming home on a single to right center by Jace Whitley after leading off the inning with single up the middle.
The Camels took back the lead with two runs in the top of the third inning. Cedric Mullins crossed the plate on a single through the left side by Kyle Leady. Leady moved to third on a single by Cole Hallum before scoring on LaRue’s second sacrifice fly of the day.
Kyle Edwards cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the third, scoring as Asbill grounded out after tripling.
Anthony Lopez put the Camels back on top by two in the fourth inning. Lopez walked, stole second and came home on a single up the middle by Austin Beard. Beard scored again in the sixth inning on a double to left center by Mullins to push the Campbell advantage to 5-2.
Winthrop answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth as Anthony Paulsen came home from second on a single by Babe Thomas after reaching on fielder’s choice and advancing to second on a fielding error by the second baseman.
The Eagles rallied to score four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Mitch Spires led off the inning with a single through the left side and advanced to third on a double by Edwards. Asbill singled to score Spires and move Edwards to third. Brad Kaczka doubled to left field to bring home Edwards and advance Asbill to third before Paulsen drove home both runners with a double down the left field line.
Roger Gonzalez tacked on one more insurance run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly by Asbill. Gonzalez got to second on back to back singles and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Edwards.
Riginos says his team is focused on playing their game and not the opponent they are going up against. “We have been talking all year about playing against the game. Coastal Carolina is a great team but we are focusing on how we play the game.”
Winthrop 8, Campbell 5
Pitchers: Campbell - BOWERS, Heath; THORSON, Bobby(7); RECTOR, Sam(8) and LEONARD, Steven.
Winthrop - Kmiec, S.; Shelley, T.(8) and Thomas, B.; Gonzalez, R.
W-Kmiec, S.(6-4) SV-Shelley, T.(4) L-BOWERS, H.(8-5)