Baseball: Tribe struggles versus No. 1
Fans flocked to Plumeri Park to see if head coach Brian Murphy and his team could follow up on the impossible successes of William and Mary’s soccer team last season against No. 1-ranked teams. Alas, the storyline followed a more predictable path Wednesday night, as William and Mary (2-2) fell to Virginia 17-2.
“Obviously, they’re a really good team, and we would have needed to have played our best to beat them and we didn’t,” Murphy said to the Daily Press. “I didn’t think we were very good in any area. Obviously when you give up 17, you don’t really stand a chance, but there was no facet of the game we played our best in.”
The Tribe sent junior right-hander Bryson Kauhaahaa to the mound for the start against the Cavaliers’ (3-1) batters. In his first career start for the Tribe after transferring from Cypress College last fall, Kauhaahaa pitched a scoreless first inning but faltered in the second, giving up six runs. Only two of the six runs were earned as the Tribe’s fielders racked up two errors. Kauhaahaa threw 52 pitches over two innings, more than the Cavaliers’ starter Artie Lewicki pitched over five.
Following Kauhaahaa’s second inning breakdown, Murphy sent out four pitchers to varying success. Freshman Daniel Powers pitched the next two and one-third innings, giving up one run.
Down six runs in the fourth, the Tribe’s batters pulled their team back into contention. Junior first baseman Michael Katz, fresh off his walk-off homerun Sunday against Army, cracked another ball over the centerfield wall to bring two runs home. Katz’s homerun brought in the Tribe’s only runs for the game, while the Cavaliers continued to punish College pitchers.
Virginia scored one run in the fifth against Powers, then nine in the sixth against junior J.T. Castner and junior Sean Rutherford. Castner let in four before recording the first out of the inning, and five more poured in before Rutherford tallied the third out. All told, 15 Cavaliers batters would come to the plate during the sixth inning.
Sophomore pitcher James Bedi rounded out the night on the mound for the Tribe, pitching the final three innings and giving up just one run on two hits. The Tribe’s batters were only able to muster one hit during the final five innings. Freshman outfielder Porter Reinhart, pinch-hitting for Katz, drove a single up the left side of the field in the bottom of the ninth, but his teammates left him stranded.
The Cavaliers’ 17-2 thumping of the Tribe handed Kauhaahaa (0-1) the loss and Lewicki (1-0) the win. Wednesday night’s matchup represented the sixth-straight season in which the two teams had faced off with Virginia, which has a perfect 6-0 record for that stretch. Last year’s game ended in an 11-2 Cavaliers win.
After four home games to start the season, the Tribe travels to High Point for a three-game series that begins Friday at 4 p.m.