Big First Inning Powers Winthrop Past The Citadel

Big First Inning Powers Winthrop Past The Citadel

ROCK HILL, SC - Winthrop scored five times in the first and went on to snap an eight-game losing streak to The Citadel, defeating the Bulldogs 11-4 on Tuesday in Rock Hill.

The Eagles (16-8) earned a season split with The Citadel (14-9) after losing 6-5 at Riley Park last Wednesday. The last Winthrop win over the Bulldogs came on April 6, 2011.

Brad Kaczka tripled three times and drove in five runs to pace Winthrop. He launched a three-base hit to right center to highlight a five-hit first that staked the Eagles to their early lead and added three more RBI on a triple in the fourth that built Winthrop's advantage to 9-1.

The Citadel attempted to rally beginning in the fifth, loading the bases on consecutive singles by Jason Smith, Jacob Watcher and Austin Mapes. The Bulldogs capitalized on a run-scoring ground out by Connor Walsh and two more crossed on a wild pitch and error to pull within 9-4.

Thomas Byelick worked 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, and The Citadel appeared poised to continued its comeback in the sixth. Bret Hines walked and pinch hitter Mike Deese singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out.

But Deese was retired when pitcher Austin Lawrence spied him trying to advance to second, and Lawrence set down Smith and Watcher to escape the jam with his team still up by five runs. Winthrop added two more runs in the seventh, including Kaczka's third triple of the game.

Six of Winthrop's runs were unearned as a result of four Bulldog errors. Smith and Watcher both had two of The Citadel's seven hits.

The Bulldogs are back in action this weekend when they travel to Cullowhee, N.C., for their Southern Conference opening series against Western Carolina. Friday's game is at 5 followed by contests on Saturday at 2 and Sunday at 1.

All three games can be seen on the SoCon Digital Network and heard on SportsRadio 1450 with Bulldog play-by-play announcer Mike Legg calling the action.