This past week, William and Mary Tribe baseball was on the road, first playing at Richmond on Wednesday and then beginning a weekend series at Longwood, then home at Plumeri Park on Saturday and Sunday. While timely hitting on an evenly offensive night on Wednesday served to secure a Tribe win, it was the total lack of timely hitting that sunk the Tribe at Longwood on Saturday.
Going into Wednesday’s game having just beaten Hofstra two out of three, the Tribe managed to continue their winning ways in somewhat dramatic fashion as this one went into extra innings.
The game began with the Tribe getting on the board early. After a scoreless first inning, the Tribe struck first with a walk to junior Tadd Bower. He was joined on base after a bunt single by sophomore Ryan Williams. With two men on and two outs, sophomore Derek Lowe slapped a single through the right side of the infield to score Bower and give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.
The Tribe’s lead would last only an inning, however, as the Spiders came roaring back in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring five runs including a grand slam, making the lead 5-1 going into the top of the 4th.
What followed can simply be described as a bizarre breakdown of pitching for the Spiders. The Tribe scored four runs in the top of the frame, and yet they would only record one hit in the inning. The three Richmond pitchers that came out that inning combined for 6 walks, a balk and 3 wild pitches, allowing the Tribe to tie the game without having to do much hitting at all.
The Spiders’ offense, however, would not suffer a similar breakdown in the bottom of the inning, as they scored two in the bottom of the frame to make the score 7-5 after 4 full innings.
After two scoreless innings, the Tribe would answer with 3 runs of their own in the top of the 7th. The runs came on the back of doubles by Bower, junior Stephen Arcure and Lowe to score the first two runs in the inning. The third run of the inning would come after a steal of third by Lowe and a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by sophomore Ryan Brown. The big inning for the Tribe left the score at 8-7 going into the bottom of the 7th.
However, as was becoming the custom in this hotly contested game, Richmond would tally a run in the bottom of the frame and tie the game back up at 8. A scoreless eighth and ninth innings would push the contest into extras.
The game would not last much longer, as on a one-out, 1-0 offering, senior Jonathan Slattery would launch one to deep left center for his first homerun of the season and the sixth of his career at William and Mary. With a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the 10th, sophomore Matt Wainman would continue to work out of the bullpen. Having already pitched 4 innings, Wainman would come out of the game after recording the first out, ending his day going 4.1 innings and letting up one unearned run on three hits and a walk while notching 4 strikeouts. Sophomore Brett Koehler would come on in relief and strike out the last two batters of the game, continuing the dominance of the Tribe bullpen and securing the extra-innings victory, 9-8.
However, while timely hitting enabled the Tribe to go back and fourth with Richmond on Wednesday, they didn’t have the same kind of fortune in Saturday’s start to a home-home series with Longwood.
Junior Matt Davenport had a rough outing in Saturday’s game, going 5 innings while letting up 7 runs (6 of them earned) on 8 hits and striking out 6. Most of the damage against Davenport came in an ill fated 4th inning in which the Longwood Lancers scored five runs. The Lancers would later tack on two runs in the bottom of the 6th that would knock Davenport out of the game.
Meanwhile, the Tribe offense struggled to make anything happen, as they wound up leaving 8 runners on base and couldn’t seem to string any hits together and take some pressure off of the pitching.
The bright spot of this 7-0 loss was the continued strength of the Tribe bullpen, as senior Reid Killen would go 3 innings of shutout ball, letting up only one hit while striking out 5.
The Tribe’s loss to the Lancers would end their three game winning streak, while their record at the end of Saturday’s game would stand at 17-16 overall. But the Tribe bounced back on Sunday afternoon, dispatching the Lancers and earning revenge to the tune of 6-1.