After being swept by James Madison the previous weekend, William and Mary headed into its weekend series against Old Dominion still looking for its first conference win.
It took nine tries, but the College finally won its first conference games of the season, taking two out of three games against the Monarchs in Norfolk last weekend. The Tribe won the Friday game 4-3 but lost 12-5 Saturday before winning 4-0 Sunday to nab its first series win of the year.
“What it came down to in both the games that we won is that we pitched really well,” head coach Frank Leoni said. “For us to not only be able to win our first conference series, but to win one on the road is huge.”
The Tribe held Old Dominion to just five hits in the third and final game of the series en route to a shutout victory. Junior starter Cole Shain shut down the Monarcchs, allowing just three hits and one walk in seven innings.
“He did a lot to keep their batters off balance,” Leoni said.
Junior catcher Chris Forsten’s single in the second inning scored freshman third baseman Ryan Lindemuth to give the Tribe the only run it would need. Senior designated hitter Jonathan Slattery knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice in the fifth, Forsten got his second RBI of the day on a sacrifice bunt in the sixth, and senior shortstop Derrick Osteen added the final run on an RBI single in the ninth.
“We saw it as the most important game of the season,” Slattery said. “We saw it as a must-win.”
Saturday’s game was a different story. The Monarchs lit up senior starter Logan Billbrough for nine runs in four innings, including a seven-run third inning that put the game out of reach for the College. Old Dominion extended the lead to 12-0 following freshman designated hitter Joey Burney’s second homer of the day, a two-run double and an RBI single.
The lone bright spot was the eighth inning. After being held scoreless on three hits through seven innings, the Tribe scored five runs on singles by freshman pinch hitter Devin White and Osteen, and walks by sophomore second baseman Kevin Nutter and freshman third baseman Ryan Lindemuth.
“We came out a little flat out of the gate,” Slattery said. “By the time we got started, it was a little too late.”
The College took the first game of the series on the strength of a solid start of junior starter Matt Davenport, who gave up three runs on four hits in seven innings. The Monarchs drew first blood on a two-run homer by first baseman Chris Baker in the first inning, but Davenport didn’t allow another run until the sixth inning. The junior’s outing gave the Tribe enough time to take back control of the game.
Sophomore center fielder Ryan Brown scored on an RBI single by Slattery in the fourth, and in the sixth the Tribe took the lead for good on a two-run double by sophomore first baseman Tadd Bower. Forsten doubled in Bower to extend the lead to 4-2.
The Monarchs halved the deficit on a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning, but sophomore reliever Brett Koehler didn’t allow a hit over the last two innings, thereby securing the victory for the Tribe.
The Tribe will play George Mason at home this weekend, following games tonight against Richmond and tomorrow at George Washington.