After sweeping James Madison for the first time in CAA play last week, William and Mary entered its weekend series against George Mason hoping to continue to keep pace in the conference. The College split a Friday doubleheader — narrowly falling 5-4 in the matinee before taking a 6-3 victory in the nightcap — and lost the Sunday series finale, 8-2, in Fairfax, Va.
After losing two out of three, the Tribe currently sits in fifth with a 5-4 conference record, 16-10 overall. The Patriots improved to 15-10 on the year and 4-5 in the CAA.
The first game of the series got off to a promising start for the College, as the Tribe held a 4-0 advantage going into the bottom of the third inning. Junior second baseman Kevin Nutter, who led the Tribe offense by going 2-for-4, scored in the first inning on a George Mason error, while senior outfielder Stephen Arcure and senior catcher Chris Forsten both added runs in the second inning as well.
In the top of the third, senior left fielder Tadd Bower hit a double down the left field line that scored sophomore first baseman Ryan Lindemuth, giving the College a 4-0 advantage.
After two innings of scoreless work, senior pitcher Matt Davenport allowed the Patriots to get on the board in the second inning. GMU’s Jake Leonardo scored after Mason second baseman Chris Cook grounded out. After a scoreless fourth, the Patriots continued to erase the Tribe’s lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. George Mason eventually tied it up in the sixth inning, scoring two runs and knotting the score at 4-4.
The College hung on until the eighth inning when GMU’s Blaise Fernandez’s single to right field allowed right fielder Dan Schafferman to score, giving the Patriots a one run advantage. The College had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the ninth, but could not capitalize on the opportunity, leaving the Patriots to escape with a 5-4 victory.
Later that night, the College extracted a bit of revenge after George Mason’s midday victory. The Tribe’s shot at redemption did not start well, as the Patriots managed to hold a 3-2 lead after three innings of play.
Facing a 3-2 hole in the top of the fifth inning, the Tribe’s bats suddenly awoke. Nutter scored off a Bower sacrifice fly, and freshman first baseman Michael Katz scored junior center fielder Ryan Brown, giving the Tribe its first lead of the day at 4-3. An Arcure double later in the inning allowed Katz and Lindemuth to score, providing the College with a decisive 6-3 edge.
Arcure led the way for the College offensively, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, while Nutter provided another good offensive showing, also going 2-for-4.
Senior lefty Cole Shain earned his second victory of the season after allowing just one earned run in six innings of play, while senior reliever Jay McCarthy and junior reliever John Farrell threw three shutout innings. Farrell was credited with the save.
With the series tied at one game apiece, all eyes shifted to the decisive third game. The Patriots started off Sunday’s game with a pair of runs in the first inning. The College then evened up the score in the third inning on the strength of a two run offensive inning. Lindemuth notched an RBI that scored Nutter, while Brown scored on a wild pitch from George Mason’s A.J. Johnson.
After a scoreless fourth, the Patriots took control in the fifth inning, exploding for six runs. George Mason batters rattled the Tribe pitchers for three hits in a lengthy sixth inning, which resulted in an 8-2 Patriot lead. The College had an opportunity to cut into the Mason lead in the top of the eighth with the bases loaded, but the Tribe offense ultimately failed to take advantage.
Junior righthander Matt Wainman pitched 4.1 innings and took the loss for the Tribe, falling to 2-3 on the year. Farrell and freshman relievers J.T. Castner and Jason Inghram pitched the remainder of the contest for the College and allowed zero runs.
The College will get a break from its conference slate when it hosts Richmond Tuesday at Plumeri Park.