William and Mary, winners of five straight games, seemingly had Old Dominion beat before even reaching Norfolk. At least, that’s how it looked.
Coming off three consecutive saves, senior pitcher Matt Wainman had momentum heading into the ninth inning of the first game in William and Mary’s weekend road series against Old Dominion. The Monarchs rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth, however, to down Wainman and the Tribe 6-5.
After Wainman’s setback, senior ace John Farrell took to the mound Saturday. Sporting the squad’s lone unbeaten record and a sub-2 ERA, Farrell seemed poised to avenge Wainman’s loss. Instead, Old Dominion (21-18, 11-10 CAA) roughed up Farrell in a lopsided 10-1 win.
Looking to salvage at least one game from the series, sophomore pitcher Jason Inghram threw eight innings, allowing just one run Sunday. Once again, the College (26-16, 9-6 CAA) looked to be in good shape on the mound. This time, however, it was the Tribe’s bats that led to its demise, as the Monarchs pitching staff kept the College off the scoreboard, winning 1-0.
Three games that appeared to be in the Tribe’s favor managed to turn into the team’s second lost series of the season and the first in which it was swept.
Friday, the Tribe began the series in what has become a staple of its offense — smart at-bats and small ball. After plating a run in the third inning, the top of the fourth saw an Old Dominion fielding error, walk, sacrifice bunt and finally sophomore left fielder Jonathan Sarty’s groundout plate the Tribe’s first run.
Scoring again in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, the College handed a 5-2 advantage into the hands of Wainman. Loading the bases with three quick singles, the Monarchs closed to within one after a double smacked down the right field line.
With men on first and third, Wainman intentionally walked the next batter in hopes of forcing ODU into a double play. Instead, the Monarchs Josh Eldridge hit a walk-off double to clinch game one of the series.
Saturday’s game began with fireworks, but not in celebration of the Tribe. Monarch batters scored seven runs — including five in the second inning — during Farrell’s five innings of pitching.
It wasn’t just the pitching that suffered, however, as just six batters registered a hit in Saturday’s game. Old Dominion would increase its lead to ten before the College tacked on a single run in the top of the ninth. Only freshman catcher Ryan Hissey recorded more than one hit, going two of three from the plate. Six other batters didn’t manage a hit, highlighted by slugging sophomore first baseman Michael Katz’s 0-4 performance.
The uncharacteristically poor hitting continued Sunday, as the offense failed to produce. Old Dominion’s Ryan Yarbrough lasted all nine innings, posting a complete-game, four-hit shutout against the Tribe.
On the other side, sophomore starting pitcher Jason Inghram battled through eight innings and kept pace with Yarbrough, recording eight strikeouts alongside seven hits. The only difference came in the bottom of the first inning, as the Monarchs advanced a runner to third base with a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base.
From third base, Old Dominion would score its only run of the day after a fielder’s choice to senior shortstop Ryan Williams. It was the only run they would need as the College’s offense stumbled through the game without scoring a single run.
In a series that started with so much promise, especially coming at the heels of a five-game win streak, the Tribe found ways to allow the Monarchs to close out two close games and to run away with a third.
Following the series sweep, the College drops to third place in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Tribe will take the week off before hosting conference foe George Mason Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.