WINTHROP — With virtually the same lineup that reached the regional semifinals last year, the Monmouth baseball team has big things planned this season. But don’t think the Mustangs are going to get ahead of themselves. They showed Monday against Mountain Valley Conference rival Winthrop that they can wait for the game to come to them.

Monmouth drew 13 walks, cracked six hits, scored six in the fourth and five in the fifth to invoke the 10-run rule on Winthrop, 12-2, in five innings Monday.

Hunter Richardson struck out eight to get the win on the mound while helping his own cause with two singles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Chandler Harris and Nick Sanborn added doubles and the Mustangs took advantage of seven Winthrop errors in the fourth inning of the Ramblers’ season opener.

The Mustangs, coming off a 7-1 win over Dirigo in their season opener, improved to 2-0.

“We’re doing well from where we left off last year. We’re trying to get further than we have (in) past years,” Richardson said. “This is obviously a big year. We need to fix up little things and once we do that, we have a very good chance, I think.”

Richardson struck out the side in the first, then escaped without giving up a run after allowing two singles in the second and a single and a walk in the third. He allowed six hits and walked one. Antonio Meucci and Jackson Ladd each had a double for the Ramblers.

“We got the win. I don’t care how many hits (I give up), just get the ‘W,'” Richardson said.

“Hunter looked good early,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi added. “He got a little tired at the end. We’ve worked on some stuff to make sure he’s got that secondary pitch.”

Leading 1-0 in the fourth, the Mustangs tripled their lead before getting their first hit of the inning thanks to three quick Winthrop errors and two walks against Meucci.

With one out, Monmouth put on a safety squeeze with Gage Cote laying down a good bunt in front of the mound. Cote had it beat out regardless, but Meucci’s throw to first was in the dirt, prompting Avery Pomerleau to take off from third and score when the throw to the plate went off line. That allowed Mat Foulke to score on Meucci’s subsequent wild pitch to make it 4-0.

Winthrop continued to make mistakes in the field and Monmouth ended up sending 12 men to the plate in the inning. Richardson (single) and Sanborn (RBI double) had the only other hits in the frame against Meucci and reliever Matt Ingram.

The Mustangs got five more in the fifth, with five walks, a hit batter and Richardson’s two-run single doing the damage.

“We were patient at the plate when we needed to be patient and put the ball in play when we needed to put it in play,” Palleschi said.

Winthrop, which graduated several senior starters from last year’s team that reached the regional finals, scored single runs in the fourth and fifth on an RBI single by Zac Robertson and Jacob Hickey’s RBI groundout that scored Ladd.

Monmouth got on the board against Meucci in the second. Harris led off with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. With one out, Avery Pomerleau hit a pop fly into short right field that Winthrop second baseman Greg Fay ran down with a nice over-the-shoulder catch. With Fay’s momentum carrying him away from the infield, Harris tagged up and beat Fay’s throw home.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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