ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Austen Barber’s run-scoring triple plated the winning run in the top of the 12th inning as Winthrop edged UNC Asheville 3-2 in Big South Conference action Greenwood Field Friday afternoon.
The Eagles also received stellar relief pitching from closer Eric Ruth. He pitched 5.1 innings of scoreless ball to improve his record to 3-0.
The snake-bit Bulldogs (16-35, 4-18) fell to 1-7 in one-run Big South Conference games this year. Asheville looked like it would score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs and Phillip Treadway on first base, Sam Turner sent a double into the right-field corner that would have easily scored Treadway. But the junior outfielder injured his hamstring rounding second and had to stop at third.
Ian Graham then sent a fly ball to deep center-field that Winthrop center-fielder Jace Whitley made a diving catch on that would have scored two runs.
Winthrop (21-33, 8-15 BSC) broke a 2-2 tie in the 12th. Max Vogel led off with a triple to right-center field. With one out, Barber tripled down the right-field line to plate Vogel with the winning run. It was the first triples of the year for both players.
Asheville jumped out to a 2-0 lead with some two-out lightning in the first inning. Robert McIntosh started the rally with a single to right. Todd Joyner followed with a single to right, moving McIntosh to third. Justin Woods reached on an infield single to score McIntosh for a 1-0 Bulldog lead. Eli Miller’s single to left scored Joyner for a 2-0 Asheville advantage.
Bulldog starter Dean Roland kept Winthrop off the scoreboard until the seventh. Clay Altman and Vogel had one-out singles. A failed pick-off attempt moved the runners to second and third. Kyle Edwards singled to left to score Altman to cut the lead to 2-1. Barber then tied the game with a perfect squeeze bunt.
Altman led Winthrop at the plate with three hits. McIntosh, Towles and Turner all had two hits each for the Bulldogs.
Nick Schavone pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the Bulldogs.
UNC Asheville and Winthrop will finish the 2013 season on Saturday at McCormick Field starting at Noon. Prior to the game, Asheville will honor its four seniors playing their final game with the Bulldog program. The four seniors are Billy Creighton, Ian Graham, Todd Joyner and Dillon Tabar.