The College of William and Mary (11-17, 3-6 CAA) dropped two out of three games to Northeastern University (14-10, 5-4 CAA) this weekend in predictably climatic fashion.
After a rainout Friday, the Tribe lost the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader 6-5 in 11 innings before dropping the nightcap 9-3. Sunday, the College came back with a 5-4 victory in 12 innings, the third extra-inning conference victory for the Tribe in the final game of a series this season.
The College is now 3-6 in conference play and two games out of the fifth and sixth final playoff spots in the CAA tournament with five weekends left in the season.
“I knew the early portion of our CAA schedule was going to be very difficult,” Head Coach Frank Leoni said in an email. “I am encouraged that we continue to fight, and we still have a lot of baseball to play.”
Sunday, senior starter Jeremy Neustifter went seven innings, holding the Huskies to three runs on eight hits while striking out a career-high 11 batters. Most importantly, Neustifter allowed two walks; a positive sign for the right-hander, who until a couple weeks ago was averaging almost a walk per-inning.
Freshman right-hander Matt Davenport relieved Neustifter and gave up one run in five innings. Davenport held Northeastern at bay until the 12th, when sophomore second baseman Derek Osteen scored the go-ahead run on a Rob Nickle sacrifice fly. He also induced a game-ending double play after giving up a leadoff single to start the bottom half of the 12th.
Davenport leads the team in wins with a 4-1 record, the only winning record on the ballclub.
“Our pitching continues to improve. I’m feeling much better as our young pitchers continue to grow,” Leoni said. “We pitched very well over the past week, with a few exceptions.”
Leoni added that he thought junior righthander Kevin Landry threw well in the second-game Saturday, even though the he gave up seven runs on six hits in six innings pitched in the 9-3 loss. It was only Landry’s first start of the season after having a starting spot last year.
“I moved Landry back into the starting rotation to try to jump start some things. That’s all,” Leoni said.
In the first game Saturday, freshman lefthander Cole Shain gave up four runs in his 4 1/3 innings pitched.
The Tribe rallied in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs on an RBI triple from senior DH Brett Conner.
A leadoff double by senior third-baseman Tyler Stampone in the eighth and an error by Northeastern third-baseman Mike Tamsin tied the score at 4-4.
A sacrifice fly from junior catcher Chris Jenson gave the Tribe a brief 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the 11th, but the Huskies scored two off of sophomore Logan Billbrough for the 6-5 victory.
Saturday’s loss was the third the Tribe has dropped against a CAA opponent when tied or leading after eight innings in the last three weeks.