Longwood baseball team falls in series opener against Winthrop

Published 1:20 am Friday, May 19, 2023

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Ryan Miller gave it everything he had on the mound for Longwood baseball on Thursday night. He threw a complete game in his final collegiate start, but the Lancers (22-30, 10-15 Big South) took a tough luck loss 3-2 to Winthrop to open a three-game series.

 For Miller, it was his first complete game as a Lancer, and the team’s first complete game since 2019.

 How it happened

Miller was locked in a pitcher’s duel with Winthrop (26-25, 14-11 Big South) starter Brody Hopkins and reliever Josh Bookbinder.

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Miller (4-6) gave up 10 hits, but he executed in big moments to keep Longwood in the game. He retired the side in order five times in his nine innings. The righthander also struck out five, and his defense made some big plays in critical spots as well.

Meanwhile, Hopkins (1-4) was solid for five innings to earn the win, and Bookbinder (2) pitched four scoreless innings to earn the save.

It seemed like Winthrop was going to get off to a hot start when Hopkins led off with a solo home run on the first pitch of the game. However, Miller settled things down and kept the score there.

Winthrop added a run in the third, but Longwood battled back in the fourth to tie the game.

Longwood loaded the bases, and Tanner Thomas was hit by a pitch to drive the first run in. Drayven Kowalski drew a walk one batter later to knot the score at two.

The Eagles loaded the bases in the fifth, but Miller held them to only one run on a sacrifice fly from McKinley Erves.

From that point on, Miller kept Winthrop off the board, and the defense turned a pair of double plays. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t unlock the puzzle that was Bookbinder. The Lancers put the tying run in scoring position in the ninth, but Bookbinder retired back-to-back hitters to end the game.

What they said

“Ryan Miller was incredible tonight,” said Longwood head coach Chad Oxendine. “He was incredibly competitive on the mound, and he executed some pitches in some really big spots.”

“Our guys continued to fight throughout the night,” Oxendine added. “We’ve got to continue to focus on the details and stay locked in.”

 Additional notes on Longwood baseball

Longwood turned three double plays on defense.

Gregory Ryan, Jr. had two of Longwood’s four hits. It was his 16th multi-hit game.

Longwood’s Luis DeLeon robbed Nicholas Badillo of a grand slam with a leaping grab at the wall with the bases loaded to end the top of the third inning.

Longwood was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

Miller’s complete game was the first since Tyler Morgan threw a complete game against Gardner-Webb since March 16, 2019. Morgan struck out 10 in the outing.

Up next for Longwood baseball

The Lancers play game two of the series on Friday night, May 19 at 6 p.m. The Lancers will celebrate their seniors prior to the start of the game. The game will be aired on ESPN+.