William and Mary’s hot play in the friendly confines of Plumeri Park didn’t carry over on the road as the Tribe dropped two of three games to CAA-foe Georgia State in a nail-biting series down in Atlanta. After just barely being edged by the Panthers, 7-6 Friday, the College was shut out Saturday and fell in another close one, 1-0. Finally, the team salvaged some part of the series, pulling out a 6-5 win Sunday.
With the two losses, the College (24-15, 9-9 CAA) slides to sixth in the conference standings, a game and a half ahead of the Panthers (16-21, 7-8 CAA) for the final playoff berth with 12 playoff games remaining in the regular season.
The series kicked off with senior pitcher Matt Davenport on the hill for the Tribe, struggling early. Georgia State tagged the righty sidearmer for two quick runs on three hits in the first, giving the Panthers an early 2-0 advantage.
Eventually, the Tribe responded with three runs in the top of the fourth. First it was senior catcher Chris Forsten with an RBI single, then junior second baseman Kevin Nutter ripped an RBI base hit to center. Finally, junior center fielder Ryan Brown slapped a single down the line to score Forsten and put the College up, 3-2.
But the Tribe wasn’t done there as the offense continued humming, plating a run in the fifth and sixth innings on a passed ball and an RBI single from freshman first baseman Michael Katz to give the Tribe a 5-2 lead.
The bottom of the sixth would see that advantage quickly disappear, though. The Panthers, with help from two throwing errors, would score five on three hits to reclaim a 7-5 lead. The College battled back and loaded the bases in the seventh, but could muster only one run on an RBI walk from Brown, leaving three on base and Georgia State with a 7-6 lead.
The scoring ended after that as Davenport took the loss, leaving after seven innings, four earned, nine hits and two walks.
Baseball purists could rejoice in game two, as it featured dominant pitching.
Junior starter Brett Koehler faced off with Georgia State’s Ben Marshall.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when the Panthers finally broke through with a run on three hits. That one run would be all they needed, and all they’d get, as neither hurler would falter again.
Koehler took the loss after an eight-inning complete game in which he allowed just one earned on six hits and a walk. Neither team committed an error as Marshall was even more magnificent, going all nine and conceding just one hit, two walks and two hit batsmen while striking out six.
The College came out for Sunday’s matinee looking to stave off a sweep. Once again, every inning would matter.
Georgia State struck first in the bottom of the second, plating one against senior starting pitcher Cole Shain before scoring one in the third as well. The Tribe responded, breaking its scoreless streak with three in the fourth to take the lead. On cue, the Panthers took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning and got out to a 5-3 lead with another run in the fifth.
It wasn’t until the eighth that the College would tie things up with an RBI single from senior designated hitter Sean Aiken and a base knock from Forsten.
Finally in the ninth, the Tribe took the lead. Sophomore third baseman Ryan Lindemuth singled and came around to score on an double from senior left fielder Tadd Bower.
After pitching scoreless seventh and eighth innings, junior reliever John Farrell shut the door in the ninth to pick up his first win of the year.