William and Mary split a pair of nonconference games this week, losing a pitchers duel to Richmond 2-1 at home Tuesday before taking Wednesday’s game at George Washington in an offensive barrage, 9-4.
The Tribe (7-13) got an offensive pick-me-up this week from the return of junior right fielder Stephen Arcure and junior designated hitter Buster Gean to the lineup. The difference in the Tribe’s lineup was evident against George Washington, when the two went a combined 5 for 10 with two RBI.
“We felt like those guys could add to the middle of our lineup,” head coach Frank Leoni said.
Tuesday the Spiders took the lead in the fourth inning when senior right fielder Mike Mergenthaler singled and scored after two Tribe errors. However, the College came back to tie in the fifth. Freshman catcher Devin White led off the inning with a double, after which the Tribe played some small ball, bunting twice to move him around to score. But that would be it for the Tribe’s bats, even as sophomore starter Matt Wainman turned in one of the team’s best starts all year — going seven innings, striking out 10, and allowing one unearned run on just three hits.
Then in the eighth, with senior reliever Reid Klein on the mound, the Spiders loaded the bases with nobody out on a single and two walks. One fielder’s choice later, Richmond’s Mike Small scored to take the decisive 2-1 lead.
The Tribe wasn’t completely done though, launching a small rally in the ninth in an attempt to tie the game. After two singles and a flyout, the College had runners on second and third, but Richmond pitcher Daniel Clark struck out senior shortstop Derrick Osteen to end the game. The Tribe wound up with just six hits for the game.
“I felt like their pitchers kept us off balance,” Leoni said. “We hit an awful lot of fly ball outs against Richmond.”
Against George Washington, the Tribe continued its streak of solid pitching outings, but added offensive firepower to split its midweek slate. Sophomore center fielder Ryan Brown hit an RBI single in the second, driving in junior first baseman Tadd Bower to draw first blood for the College. The Colonials took their only lead of the game in the bottom of the second following a fielder’s choice and two singles to drive in two runs. In the fifth, though, a double from senior second baseman Jonathan Slattery scored Arcure, tying the game at two runs apiece.
The Tribe took the lead for good in the sixth, when three singles culminated in RBIs for Arcure and Gean. Richmond then handed the College another run, putting the team up 5-2. After a Colonial RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, the Tribe extended its lead in the eighth. Osteen drove in a run by drawing a bases-loaded walk, and Slattery drove in his second run of the day on a fielder’s choice. George Washington got their final run in the bottom of the eighth, but the College put the game away with two runs in the ninth.
“We needed to play a solid game, and we definitely got that,” Leoni said.