After finishing second in the regular season and conference tournament last season, William and Mary looks to capture the Colonial Athletic Association crown this year. The campaign surged to a promising start Friday, as the College (18-7, 2-0 CAA) defeated Delaware (10-13, 0-2 CAA) 5-4 and then 13-10 in a doubleheader at Plumeri Park.
“Friday was a big day for us,” head coach Brian Murphy told Tribe Athletics. “There were a couple different games we were able to pull out. The first game was a bit more pitching and execution oriented. Game two, we had a good relief performance which gave us a shot, and we were able to tack on runs throughout.”
Junior pitcher Jason Inghram (5-0) took the mound in the first game, throwing seven and one-third innings while only giving up three runs. Inghram’s fifth win of the season ties him for the most among CAA pitchers. Senior relief pitcher and third baseman Kevin Casey came on in the ninth with the Tribe up 5-3. After giving up a quick run with no outs, Casey retired the next three batters to strand a man on second and earn his fourth save of the season.
The College’s pitching depth gave the team an advantage in the first game. While Inghram was substituted after showing signs of fatigue, Delaware’s Dan Gatto lasted the entire game. The Tribe rung up four runs on Gatto in the fifth inning. Senior second baseman Ryan Lindemuth hit a two-run home run, his first of two home runs that day.
The Tribe was more effective in the batting box than on the pitching mound in the second game of the doubleheader. Each of the team’s first five hitters recorded two runs apiece. Freshman shortstop Tim Hoehn led the team with three hits.
Facing a 5-4 deficit, the College’s offense exploded for seven runs on seven hits in the fourth inning. The Tribe scored four runs before the Blue Hens gained the first out. Junior left fielder Nick Thompson homered to left field to bring home Hoehn and start off the scoring.
Junior starting pitcher Bryson Kauhaahaa opened the game for the Tribe, but the Tribe would end up rotating in four other pitchers. Kauhaahaa lasted just two and one-third innings after giving up three earned runs. Sophomore relief pitcher Aaron Fernandez (2-0) earned the win but gave up four runs on seven hits over four innings.
Up 13-5, the Tribe gave up five runs in the seventh inning. Murphy pulled Fernandez after giving up two runs while recording just one out in the inning. Freshman reliever Daniel Powers replaced him but sacrificed three runs to finish the inning.
With Delaware back in contention, the College’s relief pitching shut down the Blue Hens over the final two innings, not giving up a single hit.
Freshman relief pitcher Nick Brown retired the side in the eighth before sophomore relief pitcher Joseph Gaouette earned his first save of the season to cement the Tribe’s doubleheader sweep.
Building on remarkable non-conference success, junior first baseman Michael Katz recorded four hits Friday. Katz currently leads the CAA with a .432 batting average and 13 home runs. The Tribe and the Blue Hens were scheduled to play again Sunday, but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather.
“It’s good to start off 2-0 in conference,” Murphy told Tribe Athletics. “We would have liked to play Sunday, but Mother Nature had other ideas.”
The College travels today to play Richmond (11-12-1). First pitch is planned for 3 p.m.