Winthrop steals home plate for road win over Coastal

ccubase-Ben-SmithWinthrop (10-12, 3-1 Big South) scored on a two-out, bases-loaded wild pitch in the top of the ninth inning to claim a 2-1 decision versus Coastal Carolina (9-12, 1-3) Friday evening at Pelicans Ballpark.

In the ninth, John Menken hit a leadoff triple. However, Brad Kaczka grounded out then pinch hitter Clay Altman reached on a fielder’s choice to third base as Coastal threw out Menken, who tried to score on the play. A walk and an infield single loaded the bases with two outs. With an 0-2 count, a wild pitch allowed Altman to score the winning run before Andrew Beckwith recoded a strikeout on the next pitch to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Jackson and Colin Hering had back-to-back, one-out singles before Josh Strong came out of the Eagles’ bullpen to record a fly out and strikeout to end the game.

The teams traded zeroes through five innings. However, in the top of the sixth inning, the Eagles put a tally on the scoreboard. Leighton Daniels had a leadoff single, TJ Olesczuk reached on an infield single and Babe Thomas walked to load the bases with one out. Menken’s fly ball to center was deep enough to drive in Daniels for the 1-0 lead.

The Chanticleers answered in the home half of the sixth. With one out, Connor Owings singled and scored one batter later on Zach Remillard’s second double of the game.

Winthrop starter Sam Kmiec improved to 3-1 on the season. He struck out five in 8.1 innings and scattered seven hits while allowing one run and one walk. Strong earned his first save of the season.

CCU starter Ben Smith came out with stiffness after two innings. Chase Adkins (0-1) was impressive over the next 6.2 innings despite being saddled with the loss. The freshman allowed six hits, three walks and two runs with five strikeouts.

Coastal Carolina and Winthrop will meet in game two of the series on Saturday at 3 pm.

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