Bailey Rush drove a two-out double into right center to score Drew DeKerlegand with two outs in the eighth, breaking a 4-4 tie and giving The Citadel a 6-4 victory over Winthrop on Wednesday night at Riley Park.
With two outs and nobody on in the eighth, DeKerlegand was hit by a pitch by Sam Kmiec. On a 1-0 count, Rush’s drive split the gap and DeKerlegand easily raced home to make it 5-4. Rush also scored on the play when the relay throw eluded catcher Reid Langdale.
The Eagles (1-2) threw a scare into the Bulldogs (3-1) in the ninth when Matt Lobacz walked and Clay Altman singled off closer Skylar Hunter to put the tying runs on base with nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt, the freshman right hander struck out Kyle Edwards and Chad Smith to earn his first collegiate save.
David Rivera, the sixth of seven Citadel pitchers in the game, worked a perfect eighth with one strikeout to pick up his first win. Kmiec allowed three hits and one earned run in three innings in taking the loss.
Winthrop scored twice in both the first and third innings and took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Johnathan Stokes led off with a single, Hughston Armstrong reached on an error and both runners advanced on a sacrifice by Mason Davis.
One out later, Joe Jackson continued his RBI splurge with a two-run single through the right side to even the game at 4. The junior catcher has driven in nine runs through the first four games of the season, the top mark in the Southern Conference.
The Eagles reached Austin Livingston for two runs on three hits in the first inning before the Bulldogs battled back to tie it on RBI singles by Bo Thompson in the bottom of the first and Armstrong an inning later. Winthrop regained the lead in the third, taking advantage of a pair of Citadel errors.
Livingston, from Ashley Ridge High School, was making his first career start. He went the first two innings and allowed four hits and four runs (three earned) with three walks and three strikeouts.
Another Bulldogs freshman, left hander Nate Brecklin, made his collegiate debut and threw shutout innings in the fourth and fifth.
The Citadel begins a three-game series at North Florida on Friday.