Winthrop Eagles 7, Georgia Diamond Dogs 4

All right, we’re going to get through the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader with Winthrop quickly, because it stunk and I want to put it behind us so we can get on with the second game, which was much better and which I’ll get to tomorrow, so here goes:

Jason Leaver was on the mound in the top of the first inning and he gave up a leadoff single to Cam Walters which was a harbinger of bad things to come. Eddie Rohan’s subsequent one-out single put two men aboard, but the lead runner was put out at third when Eddie Tisdale hit into a fielder’s choice and John Murrian popped up to end the visitors’ turn at the plate, although the Eagles already had a pair of hits to their credit.

No Diamond Dogs reached base in the bottom of the frame. Get used to that, because you’re going to hear it a lot. Sean Sullivan sandwiched a single amid a trio of flyouts in the top of the second stanza and Lyle Allen drew a one-out walk in the home half of the frame before Adam Fuller struck out and the Georgia left fielder was caught stealing.

A David Thoms error allowed Walters to reach first in the top of the third canto and a bunt single by Kevin Nolan put runners at second and third due to an error by Leaver. Rohan’s sacrifice fly scored one unearned run and Tisdale’s sacrifice fly scored one more. Steve Esmonde took over on the mound after Murrian sent a single into left field and Bryn Henderson’s and Sullivan’s subsequent singles plated an additional unearned run before Chas Crane grounded out to conclude the four-hit, three-run frame.

The Athenians went three up and three down in the bottom of the stanza. Matt Thielepape led off the top of the fourth inning with a home run to left field, after which his teammates registered only outs. In the lower half of the canto, Peter Verdin carded the Classic City Canines’ first hit of the afternoon with a leadoff single, but a groundout, a flyout, and a strikeout followed to strand him.

Although Winthrop failed to score in the visitors’ half of the fifth frame, Murrian was plunked with one out away, Henderson dropped a single into right field, and Michael Palazzone came in to end the inning by coaxing Crane to go down swinging. The Red and Black were set down in succession in the bottom of the canto.

Thielepape began the upper half of the sixth stanza by drawing a walk and he advanced to third when Walters reached on a Bryce Massanari error. Nolan’s sacrifice fly scored an unearned run before the next two Eagle hitters notched outs. The Diamond Dogs did not produce a baserunner in their turn at the plate.

Tyler Maloof surrendered a two-out walk to Sullivan before extracting a groundout from Crane in the top of the seventh canto and Georgia finally decided to start playing some baseball in the bottom of the inning. Rich Poythress drew a one-out walk to produce the Bulldogs’ third baserunner and Massanari followed that up with a double to card the home team’s second hit. Greg Hough came on in relief of Ken Monteith and persuaded Zach Cone to ground out before issuing a base on balls to Joey Lewis.

This loaded the bases for Colby May, who found himself facing Tyler Mizenko and punched a base hit into right field to bring home one run. Levi Hyams struck out to strand three. The Eagles took back the run they had surrendered in the top of the eighth inning when Cecil Tanner conceded a two-out single and a stolen base to Nolan, an R.B.I. single to Rohan, a double to Tisdale, and a walk to Murrian before eliciting a flyout from Henderson.

The Red and Black appeared finally to have awakened, as Michael Demperio led off the bottom of the frame with a base hit and swiped second before the Diamond Dogs began a maddening pattern of alternating the production of outs with the production of baserunners. Johnathan Taylor grounded out, then Matt Cerione walked. Poythress grounded out, then Massanari walked. Chase Davidson was thrown out at first to strand three.

An error by Demperio allowed Tyler McBride to reach base after Earl Daniels had gotten a pop-up from Sullivan to begin the ninth stanza. (Georgia now had four hits, four walks, and four errors on its resume for the afternoon.) After Aaron Bonomi popped up, as well, a passed ball followed by a Walters single scored the Winthrop center fielder to generate yet another unearned run for the visitors. Walters was caught stealing, but the damage had long since been done.

As had been the case against Louisiana State in last Friday night’s loss, the Classic City Canines made it look better than it really was with a cosmetic comeback in the bottom of the canto. Lewis drew a leadoff walk, May was hit by a pitch, and Hyams sent a single into right field to load the bases before a wild pitch scored a run. It appeared that this was all the damage the Diamond Dogs would do once Demperio flied out and Taylor watched strike three sail by, but Cerione tacked on two more runs with a base hit to left field before Poythress grounded out to wrap up a dismal six-hit, four-error effort by the lackluster Bulldogs.

No pictures. No funny captions. (O.K., they’re probably not funny, anyway, but you know what I mean.) No snide comments about how half of Winthrop’s team is named "Eddie" or "Tyler." No "Hogan’s Heroes" jokes about Chas Crane or "Boston Public" jokes about Tyler McBride and no heavy-set L.S.U. quarterback jokes about Eddie Rohan. No wondering whether Kevin Nolan and/or Greg Hough is or are related to other famous baseball players with the same surnames. No butchering the French language with regard to the name Aaron Bonomi and no asking myself what the heck I’m going to do with the name Matt Theielepape. Earlier in this posting, I actually used the phrase "the Eagles already had a pair of hits to their credit" without an accompanying reference either to Don Henley or to Glenn Frey.

This just stunk. After getting an extra day’s rest and after having lost their last sure midweek win against an inferior team, the Diamond Dogs had no business wandering around in a daze for six innings before finally coming to life after it already was too late, particularly not against a Winthrop team that’s pulled this nonsense before. I don’t care that the victory gave the Eagles their 20th win of the season; if you’re visiting Foley Field on a school night and you aren’t a member of the A.C.C., you ought to lose. Georgia certainly should have had three baserunners before the Bulldogs had three errors, but they didn’t.

It was a lousy effort and an inexcusable result and now it’s time to throw a toaster oven off the balcony and move on to the second outing of the doubleheader, to which I shall get anon.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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