William and Mary baseball kicked off its 2016 season on the road, facing off against the 49ers in Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 19-21. After dropping the opener of the three-game series, the Tribe (2-1) dominated the next two games, outscoring the 49ers 16-1 to earn the series victory.
The College’s bats were active from the beginning, as they opened the first game of the series Friday afternoon with two runs in the top of the first. Freshman designated hitter Jason Waldman drove in both runs with a bases-loaded single, senior centerfielder Josh Smith and sophomore leftfielder Ryan Hall scoring on the base hit.
The lead stood until the bottom of the third, when a fielding miscue by senior first baseman Charley Gould, the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Player of the Year, proved costly. With two outs and a runner on second base, Gould committed an error that put runners on first and third. Following a walk, 49ers second baseman Brett Netzer smacked a bases-clearing double into the left field corner to give Charlotte (1-2) a 3-2 advantage.
The 49ers stretched their lead to three with a two-run homer in the next frame off the bat of Logan Sherer, Charlotte’s first baseman. The Tribe got a run back in the top of the sixth through junior third baseman Tim Hoehn’s RBI single, but the 49ers answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, ultimately triumphing 7-3. Junior pitcher Nick Brown, a CAA Preseason Team selection, was saddled with the loss for the College, giving up all seven runs (four earned) in his six innings of work.
Strong pitching defined the Tribe’s 5-1 victory Saturday, as three College hurlers combined to give up just one unearned run.
Strong pitching defined the Tribe’s 5-1 victory Saturday, as three College hurlers combined to give up just one unearned run. Senior right hander Mitchell Aker did the majority of the work, tossing six and a third innings of one-run ball for his first win of 2016.
The Tribe once again scored in the top of the first, with Gould driving in Hall with an infield single after Hall led the game off with a triple. The 49ers answered back in the bottom of the fifth, Sherer coming in to score on a sacrifice fly. Junior right fielder Charles Ameer gave the Tribe the lead back for good in the top of the sixth inning, clubbing a solo home run over the left field wall.
The College offense cemented its victory with a three-run ninth inning. Hall drove home freshman shortstop Kyle Wrighte with a single after Wrighte was hit by a pitch (one of five Tribe players to get plunked on the day). Smith then drilled a two-run home run to give the College a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, where senior pitcher Joseph Gaouette pitched a scoreless frame for his first save of the season.
Every College hitter who started the game scored a run or drove in a run and three batters finished the game with multiple runs batted in.
Sunday afternoon’s deciding game was all William and Mary, as strong pitching and offense combined to earn an 11-0 College victory. Junior pitcher Dan Powers started for the Tribe, scattering six hits over seven stellar innings, walking none and striking out three.
Every College hitter who started the game scored a run or drove in a run and three batters finished the game with multiple runs batted in. Smith hit his second two-run home run in as many days, crossing the plate three times, while freshman third baseman Zach Pearson enjoyed a three-hit, two-RBI day in his second collegiate game. As a team the Tribe pounded out 14 hits, scoring 11 runs.
The Tribe finishes up the road trip Tuesday in Lynchburg, Va., facing off against Liberty before a four-game home stand to close out the week. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 3 p.m.