Lancers fight to the finish in season-ending loss

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A five-run fourth inning from No. 4 Winthrop University was just enough offense to outlast a resilient No. 8 Longwood University baseball team for a 7-4 final score May 23 at Liberty Baseball Stadium, ending the Lancer season in an elimination game at the Big South Tournament.

Longwood (17-38) fell behind 5-1 after that fourth inning but fought back with runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to bring the deficit to one run in a 5-4 ballgame. Two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth gave the Eagles the 7-4 victory.

Junior right-hander Cody Boydstun (2-8) pitched 3.0 frames, taking the tough loss for the upset-minded Lancers. Boydstun surrendered three runs, all earned, on 51 pitches on three days rest after tossing a career-high 130 on May 19 against Gardner-Webb University.

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“Cody Boydstun gave us everything he could,” fourth-year Longwood Head Coach Ryan Mau said. “He ran out of gas in the fourth inning. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to minimize the damage, but I loved the way we responded offensively.”

Senior right-hander Zach Potojecki came on in the fourth and tossed 2.1 scoreless frames to keep Winthrop at five runs and allow the Lancer to come back.

Longwood scratched across a run in the fifth on senior Justin Mitchell’s bases-loaded walk to kick-start the comeback effort. Then an RBI hit from senior Mac McCafferty one inning later made the score 5-3 after six innings.

Lancer junior Jawan McAllister led off the seventh with a home run into the Winthrop bullpen to make it a one-run contest.

The Lancers were led offensively by sophomore Antwaun Tucker’s two hits and two runs scored while senior Sammy Miller, Mitchell, McCafferty, sophomore Grant Keller, and redshirt junior Jawan McAllister each added a hit.

Senior Michael Catlin tossed the final two innings for Longwood, striking out two while surrendering just three hits and two earned runs.

“I loved the way the seniors, Potojecki and Catlin, threw the ball to keep us in the ballgame,” Mau said. “We weren’t going to go away. I’m proud of the fight that everyone showed.”

This May 23 loss saw the end of the careers of seniors Miller, Catlin, McCafferty, Mitchell, Ryan Shull, Potojecki and Andrew Corbitt. They played their entire Lancer careers under Mau.

“I’ve coached some of those guys for four years now,” the coach said. “They leave our program in a better position than when they stepped onto campus, and for that, I’ll be forever thankful.”

Winthrop (25-31) was eliminated Thursday by No. 5 Gardner-Webb (31-27). No. 1 Campbell University (35-24) ended up winning the tourney.