Left hander Sam Kmiec went eight innings, giving up just four hits and striking out nine as the Eagles downed the Liberty Flames, 11-5, on Friday.
Winthrop (14-12, 2-2) got on the board early when catcher Roger Gonzalez led off the second with a double. Gonzalez was later sent home on a Mark Lowrie to left center field. Lowrie advanced home for the 2-0 lead when Jace Whitley doubled to left center.
In the third, Winthrop’s Tyler Asbill singled to center. Anthony Paulsen singled to score Asbill, extending the Eagles lead to 3-0. Lowrie reached on a throwing error and was later sent home on a Babe Thomas single up the middle for a 4-0 lead in the fourth. The Eagles tacked on two more runs in the fifth on two walks, a hit and a throwing error from the Flames.
Winthrop added five more in the sixth. Grant English was walked followed by Asbill reaching base after being hit by a pitch. The runners advanced on two consecutive wild pitches and English scored. Brandon Fite singled home Asbill. Paulsen single before Mitch Spires connected for his first home run on the season and the Eagles’ lead was up to 11-0.
Liberty (16-12, 3-1) scored in the seventh when Eric Grabowski hit a two-run homer. The Flames plated three more runs in the ninth but ran out of steam. Kmiec is now 4-3 on the season. Game 2 will Saturday at the Winthrop Ballpark at 3 p.m.