The College of William and Mary (19-5, 2-4 CAA) played three games this weekend, losing a doubleheader Saturday to George Mason University (19-5, 4-2 CAA), 21-3 and 11-7, while winning the series finale 7-6 Sunday.
The entire series can be summed up in three innings.
During the top of the sixth inning in the first game Saturday, George Mason’s Shane Davis hit a grand slam for the Patriots, making the score 14-1, and was followed by Brett Palumbo. On the first pitch, Palumbo showed bunt.
“Being up 14 runs or so, and then you try to bunt a base hit, that’s just bush league,” senior third baseman Tyler Stampone said.
Stampone shared his opinion with Palumbo on the field, albeit louder and in stronger language.
“I told him that’s [classless],” Stampone said, “And they threw at me my next at-bat, which I guess I knew was coming, but it was also unnecessary.”
The game would end 21-3, and Stampone’s fiery action would carry over into the nightcap. Down 4-1, the Tribe scored five runs in the third to take a 6-4 lead. The score was tied 7-7 when junior righthander Kevin Landry entered out of the bullpen in the top of the eighth, walking George Mason’s Brent Weiss on four pitches.
The next batter, nine-hitter Ryan Uphouse laid a bunt down the first baseline. Landry fielded the ball, but his throw sailed over senior Jeff Jones’ glove at first base, and as Weis ran for third, senior shortstop James Williamson’s relay skipped past Stampone, allowing Weis to score.
Later in the inning, senior rightfielder Rob Nickle misplayed a single by the Patriots’ Justin Bour in right field, letting Bour move to second. As Bour tried to stretch what was now a double into a triple, Williamson’s relay throw again went past Stampone and Bour scored.
Four errors in one inning, eight errors total, and two innings later the Tribe would fall 11-7.
“When you play out a script in the beginning of the year, thinking about how you can possibly win certain games, we put ourselves in a situation to win that game,” Head Coach Frank Leoni said afterwards. “That was our chance; hopefully we’ll have another chance tomorrow.”
With the sun out Sunday for the first time all weekend, Leoni shuffled his infield, moving Stampone to first base. The Tribe entered the bottom of the ninth with its best chance for a win all series.
Freshman righthander Matt Davenport held the Patriots to four runs on seven hits over six and two-thirds innings. The Tribe entered the ninth tied 6-6, facing George Mason’s Jordan Flasher, who had yet to surrender a run on the season.
Senior shortstop Lanny Stanfield walked with one out, bringing freshman Tadd Bower to the plate. Despite having Stampone on deck, Leoni let Bower hit, and the freshman pushed a single between second and first to put runners on first and third for Stampone.
“Hats off to Tadd,” Leoni said. “He’s been struggling, and he got to two strikes and not only gets a two-strike hit, but he puts the ball in a spot where it allows Lanny to get to third.”
With Stanfield 90 feet away, Stampone took 2 curve balls before laying down a suicide squeeze on Flasher’s first fastball of the at-bat. Stanfield scored, and the Tribe formed a dog pile to celebrate the team’s 7-6 victory.
“After yesterday, a bottom-of-the-ninth win is a big deal,” Davenport said. “And hopefully we can keep it going through this week.”