ROCK HILL, S.C. – Charlotte battled back for a 2-2 game through four but saw the Winthrop bullpen combine on a one-hit shutout over the final five innings as the Eagles came back for a 5-2 victory in baseball action on Wednesday night. The Niners erased a 2-0 deficit with runs in the third and fourth, but saw Winthrop score three unanswered to even the season series at a game apiece.
Winthrop (17-19) jumped on the board with a pair of runs in the first taking advantage of a Niner error mixed in. Leighton Daniels started with a single back up the box and moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt by starter Corbin Shive. Shive’s pickoff throw short-hopped first baseman Logan Sherer allowing Daniels to scamper to second on the error.
Luke Maldonado was then hit by a Shive offering before John Menken scored Daniels with the game’s first run delivering a single to left. Chad Smith would pick up the other Winthrop RBI in the inning plating Maldonado with his groundout to second.
The Niners (8-22-1) would respond with runs in the third and fourth to erase the deficit for a 2-2 game. Brett Lang doubled with one out in the visitors third later scoring on Mikal Hill’s single to left. In the fourth, it was Lang who came up with the clutch hit driving in Shive with a two-out single to right.
“We had some good at bats there, we did some really good things and then we just stopped doing it,” commented Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “Within the course of the same game with the same players, we go from one extreme to the next.”
Winthrop would break the 2-2 tie in the fifth as a leadoff double by Michael Patrick allowed Daniels to cash in with a RBI driving in Patrick with his single to right. Insurance for the Eagles would follow in the sixth by adding two more for a 5-2 lead.
As Daniels and Maldonado did in the first, Smith and Brad Kaczka led off with a single and hit by pitch letting Winthrop convert both of those into insurance runs. Patrick would drive in both runs with a single that snuck through the left side of the infield giving Winthrop the 5-2 lead.
Travis Shelley (1-1) tossed four innings in relief allowing the one Niner hit by Des Roberts while striking out two. Joey Strain tossed a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.
Lang finished the night with a pair of hits in three plate appearances with a RBI and run scored for the Niners. Hunter May would pitch a perfect eighth and ninth for Charlotte with a strikeout.
Charlotte will now jump back into Conference USA play this weekend traveling to Florida Atlantic for a three-game weekend set with the Owls. RHP Corey Roberts (0-3, 4.01) will get the start in Friday’s opener scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Live audio will be provided by the Charlotte 49ers by logging on to http://www.charlotte49ers.com.