Baseball: Tribe edged in heartbreaker at Virginia
Written by Chris Weber|
February 23, 2012
After leading by four runs in the eighth and one in extras, William and Mary fell at Virginia 6-5 on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th.
With the game tied at four in the top half of the 11th, the College looked as though it was on its way to an upset over the rival Cavaliers when junior second baseman Kevin Nutter led off with a walk and advanced to third when shortstop Ryan Williams moved him over with a single to center. With men on the corners and nobody out, the squeeze was on and freshman right fielder Josh Smith laid down a bunt. But U.Va. picher Justin Thompson bolted off the mound to scoop up the ball and flip it home to get Nutter at the plate. Still, the Cavaliers wouldn’t get out of the inning unscathed, and a throwing error by U.Va. catcher Nate Irving brought Brown home, giving the Tribe a 5-4 lead.
Senior pitcher Jay McCarthy took the ball for the 11th but quickly worked his way into trouble, giving up a lead-off single to right before walking U.Va.’s Mitchell Shifflett on just four pitches. Head coach Frank Leoni quickly got McCarthy, bringing Williams in from shortstop to pitch. After a sac bunt moved the runners to second and third, Mike Papi sent Williams’ 3-2 offering to right for a two-RBI, walk-off single. McCarthy would take the loss.
The College (2-2) held Virginia (2-1-1) at bay for the majority of the contest. Senior starting pitcher Matt Davenport threw six and two thirds shutout innings, allowing two walks and two hits. The senior’s ability to keep Virginia’s hitters guessing gave the Tribe’s offense time to gain traction, and the College drew first blood in the second.
Senior catcher Chris Forsten doubled and scored on a Williams groundout. Then, after reaching on a bunt single, Nutter touched home on an RBI-single by Smith, giving the College an early 2-0 advantage.
The Tribe would add to its lead with one run on two hits and an error in the fourth and another run on one hit and one error in the seventh.
Forsten went 2 for 3 with three walks and two runs while Nutter also went 2 for 3 with three walks, scoring once on the night. The College finished with 12 hits and 10 walks while the Cavaliers had 11 base hits and seven walks.
The 4-0 lead wasn’t safe, though, as U.Va.’s bats came alive in the eighth, tagging senior pitcher Cole Shain for three runs on two hits and a walk before tying it up with one run on junior pitcher John Farrell.
Farrell, who entered the year as the Tribe’s closer, has struggled in his first three appearances, posting a 3.6 ERA and a 2.4 WHIP in five innings.
The College will try to rebound when it heads to Florida Friday to kick off a three-game set with the No. 1 team in the nation.