Ninth-inning heroics lift Citadel past Winthrop

Drew Ellis produced his second game-winning hit in as many nights, doubling home pinch runner Shy Phillips to cap a two-run uprising in the bottom of the ninth as The Citadel posted a 6-5 win over Winthrop on Wednesday at Riley Park.

The Citadel (12-7) won its seventh in a row by rallying against Eagle closer Joey Strain. Austin Mapes led off with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. With one out, Stephen Windham singled to center for his third hit and second RBI, plating Mapes with the tying run.

Ellis followed with a liner into the gap in left center that split the outfielders and rolled all the way to the wall. The speedy Phillips scored easily to give the Bulldogs their eighth straight win over their Upstate rivals.

Winthrop (14-6) lost for only the third time in its last 14 contests. Roger Gonzalez had four hits for the Eagles.

Last night against Georgia Southern, Ellis smashed a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to break a 3-3 tie and give The Citadel an eventual 4-3 victory. The freshman first baseman had gone hitless in four at bats before his ninth inning heroics on Wednesday against Winthrop.

The Bulldogs trailed since Winthrop put up four runs in the top of the third against starter Thomas Byelick to take a 5-1 lead. Byelick settled down after that and went 4 2/3 innings, striking out eight before giving way to six relievers.

The last of that group, Brett Tompkins, worked a perfect ninth and was credited with the win.

The Citadel scored twice in the third, aided by two walks and two hit batters, to pull within 5-3. It stayed that way until the eighth when the Bulldogs got a run closer. Pinch hitter Mike Deese singled and scored on a throwing error by third baseman Brad Kaczka on a potential inning ending double play grounder.

The bullpen came through with several clutch pitches to keep the Bulldogs in the game. Ross White retired John Menken with runners at the corners in the fifth and Jacob Watcher also stranded runners at first and third in the sixth.

Kevin Connell allowed a leadoff single in the seventh but induced Mark Lowrie to ground into a double play, and Zach Lavery got out of a two-on situation an inning later.

Windham’s three hits raised his batting average to a team-leading .426 while Mapes also had three hits. Walsh drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly and bases loaded walk and has a team-best 21 on the year.

The Citadel returns to action Friday at 3 p.m. when it opens a three-game series with UMBC at Riley Park. The time was changed from the original 6 p.m. first pitch due to the possibility of a doubleheader on Saturday.

SPARTANGBURG — USC Upstate scored five runs in the sixth inning to break open a one-run game and pull away from Charleston Southern on Wednesday night.

Upstate (8-11) took advantage of a tired Buccaneer pitching staff — playing its fifth game in as many days — with eight walks and three hit batters. Erik Samples’ two-run double in the sixth was the big blow for the Spartans.

CSU (10-9) hung tough early, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Brandon Burris led off the game with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly from Cole Murphy. The Bucs tied the game in the third as Jack Crittenberger singled and scored on a wild pitch.

Starter Alex Ministeri (0-2) worked four innings, striking out five, but walking four.

Zach Mitchell (1-1) worked five innings to get the win for Upstate. He struck out seven.

Crittenberger, Sam Knight and Andrew Widell all had two hits for the Bucs.

CSU is off on Thursday before traveling to Longwood for a Big South Conference series. Friday’s opener is at 6 p.m.