The weather was as cold as the Tribe was green, but although the temperature never got warmer, the College of William and Mary did, kicking off its 2009 season with a 3-1 mark on opening weekend.
Freshman pitchers Matt Davenport and Cole Shain recorded their first collegiate wins, while fellow rookies Stephen Arcure and Tadd Bower went 6 for 14 and 8 for 18 on the weekend, respectively, to help lead the Tribe to a pair of wins over Iona College and a victory over Buffalo University in the DiMarini First Pitch Classic.
“I was very happy with what the freshman did, they did a real nice job,” Head Coach Frank Leoni said. “I thought, and this is a little to the extreme, but I thought they had a real veteran look at this weekend.”
Sunday it was centerfielder Arcure who paced the Tribe offensively, going 1 for 2 with two RBI’s and three runs scored. A 6-run sixth inning featuring RBI singles from senior Rob Nickle (3-5, 6 RBI), Bower (3-5, 3 RBI) and senior Brett Conner (3-4, RBI) made sure that junior Kevin Landry would record his first save of the season with little difficulty.
Saturday featured a twin billing, as the College bested Iona 16-6 in the first contest before dropping a 4-2 ballgame to Buffalo later that night. Third baseman Tyler Stampone went 3-3 with three runs scored versus the Gaels to add to his team-leading .517 average, while Shain picked up his first win of the season, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings pitched.
Freshman Garrison Sarrett picked up a three-inning save on the contest while senior second baseman James Williamson scored three runs to add to his team lead of five on the season.
The nightcap featured a pitcher’s duel between freshman Jay McCarthy and sophomore Logan Billbrough for the Tribe and Pierre Miville-Deschenes and Chris Ciesla for the Bison. McCarthy allowed four runs in five innings while Billbrough closed the door in the last three, allowing no runs while striking out four.
But the Tribe duo’s effort was not enough as Miville-Deschenes and Ciesla held the College to two runs with seven scattered hits to give Buffalo a 4-2 victory.
“If you look at our team and they way we are built, we’re built differently than last year,” Leoni said. “We didn’t lose a game last year when we held our opponent to under four runs.”
Friday’s matchup of the Tribe and Bison could not have been more different as the teams took four hours to play nine innings in a 10-9 Tribe victory. William and Mary held a 7-3 lead going into the top of the seventh before Buffalo scored 6 runs in two innings off of Landry and Davenport.
The Tribe rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Bower drove in Stanfield from second base with a two-out single between second and third. Davenport then came on to close the door in the ninth and pick up his first career win.