WINTHROP — Monmouth baseball coach Eric Palleschi has a stable full of pitching arms this season and he’s used them to his best advantage.
Monday, sophomore Nick Sanborn pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and his teammates got him some runs, rallying from a five-run deficit to post a 10-5 win against Mountain Valley Conference rival Winthrop.
The Mustangs (7-0) scored six runs in the fifth inning on seven hits against Winthrop starter Jared Hanson to take the lead for good. Alex Curtis belted one of his three doubles in the game to highlight the inning along with a triple from Phil Rowe.
As he’s done in every game so far, Palleschi started senior Nate Gagne on the mound. For the most part, Gagne’s gone three innings — he pitched two Monday — before being relieved. Curtis came on in the third inning and struggled with his control. He left after getting an out with the bases loaded and a run already home. Enter Sanborn, who promptly threw a wild pitch to score a run before giving up a two-run single to Dakota Carter to make it 5-0. After that the left-hander was tough, allowing just an infield hit the rest of the way while striking out four.
“Near the end everything was working out fine,” Sanborn said.
Added Palleschi: “He’s in a high-pressure role. That’s his job to come into a game like that.”
Winthrop (3-3) has yet to get untracked, after a couple of early postponements and an abbreviated preseason. Despite the five runs, the Ramblers managed just four singles against Monmouth pitching.
“We’re still trying to catch up,” Winthrop coach Marc Fortin said. “I know we’ve got some good hitters.”
It took the Mustangs a few innings to get to Hanson, although they hit some balls hard in the early going and the Ramblers got an outstanding catch from senior Drew Stratton, who robbed Brandon Goff of extra bases with a sliding grab in center field.
Curtis and Rowe were in the middle of Monmouth’s big innings. In the fourth, Kyle Fletcher singled and Curtis doubled with both scoring on Rowe’s double to the fence in right. In the fifth, a one-out walk and Fletcher bloop single over the mound set the stage for another big inning. Curtis followed with an RBI double and Jariah Caissie singled in another run before Adam Hachey made a shoestring catch of a DJ McHugh liner in right. Rowe followed with a triple to deep right then Tommy Small singled. The double was Curtis’ third of the game.
“He works so hard in the off-season,” Palleschi said of Curtis. “He hits the ball to all fields.”
Fletcher tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth and Rowe drew a walk, stole second and third and scored on Brett Wilson’s single in the seventh.