ROCK HILL, SC - Toledo scored early and held on to claim a 5-4 victory over host Winthrop on Thursday in the opening game of the Johnny Gill Memorial Tournament. With the win, the Rockets improve to 6-3 on the season.
UT tallied the game's first three runs, before the Eagles (7-4) plated the final three tallies and had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Fortunately for the Midnight Blue & Gold, they were able to get the final out and preserve the one-run triumph.
Senior Aaron Dudley (3-for-4, RBI) led the Rockets with three hits, while junior Dan Sherwood (2-for-4, 2 RS, RBI), senior Tim Krofcheck (2-for-4, RS, RBI) and junior Jason Edwards (2-for-4) also had multi-hit efforts.
On the mound, sophomore Kyle Shaw (1-1) picked up the victory after tossing 5.1 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Junior Matt Zahel was credited with his second save of the season, pitching a scoreless final frame.
UT jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI double by Krofcheck and a run-scoring single off the bat of Dudley. The two-base hit by Krofcheck scored junior Chris Dudics after he started the game with a triple to the right-center field gap. Krofcheck later came home on the hit by Dudley.
The Rockets added one run in the fourth frame to increase their lead to 3-0. Sophomore Mark Lapikas singled home junior Dan Sherwood from second base after Sherwood singled and moved into scoring position following a groundout to the right side.
The Eagles started their comeback in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI groundout by Matt Thielepape's scoring Eddie Rohan. Rohan reached on a double and advanced to third after Shaw's failed pickoff attempt.
Toledo responded with two insurance runs in the sixth to go back up 5-1. Sherwood began the scoring with his RBI double to left field that scored junior Jim Vahalik. Sherwood then came home after Lapikas reached on an error.
Winthrop cut the deficit to 5-4 in its half of the sixth after scoring three runs off Shaw and senior reliever Mike Inselmann. Thielepape drove in Tyler Cook for the first run of the inning after Cook led off with an infield single and moved to third after Sean Sullivan's single to right field. Sullivan later scored on Chas Crane's single and Zak Blair would drive in Thielepape for the last run with his RBI groundout to second base.
The Eagles then had the bases loaded in the eighth inning with one out against senior Matt Suschak after Thielepape walked, and Crane and Zak Blair singled. The home team did not manage to drive in any runs as Suschak struck out Patrick Gamblin swinging and got Gliebe to hit into a fielder's choice.
In the ninth, Winthrop loaded the bases again when Cook singled, and Sullivan and Thielepape drew back-to-back walks against Zahel. Fortunately for the Rockets, Zahel was able to record a strikeout and produce an infield out to preserve the road victory.
Winthrop's Matteo D'Angelo (1-2) took the loss, surrendering four runs on 11 hits with four punchouts in in 5.1 innings of work.
The Rockets return to action tomorrow with two games against Canisius at 1:00 p.m. and Winthrop at 4:00 p.m.