William and Mary opened its first home series of the season against Quinnipiac Friday afternoon. Wednesday, after starting the season 0-4 by way of four consecutive one-run defeats, the College exploded for 10 runs and picked up its first victory of the season over Maryland. In this first game since the blowout victory, the Tribe took the lead briefly, but the Bobcats’ bats came to life in the later innings and the College lost the first game of the series, 6-1.
After Colonial Athletic Association pitcher of the week for the week of Feb. 20 junior Bodie Sheehan retired the Bobcats (1-3) in order in the top of the first inning, the College (1-5) was able to load the bases in the bottom of the inning by way of two walks and a single by junior outfielder Owen Socher. However, the Tribe could not take an early lead as sophomore first baseman Matthew Trehub grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Through three innings, the game was still scoreless, with Sheehan only giving up one hit to the Bobcats. He also had five strikeouts in just three innings and did not allow the Bobcats’ one baserunner to get into scoring position. The Tribe had runners in scoring position in both the first and third innings, but was unable to scratch a run across to allow Sheehan to pitch with the lead.
The Bobcats got their leadoff batter on base for the first time to start an inning in the top of the fifth. Outfielder Julius Saporito laced a single up the middle before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by first baseman Ben Gibson. The Bobcats moved Saporito over again on a groundout back to Sheehan. With Saporito on third, Sheehan struck out second baseman Ian Ostberg on four pitches to maintain the scoreless tie.
The Tribe looked to capitalize in the bottom of the inning after junior shortstop Zach Pearson led off with a line drive double down the left field line. He moved up to third base on a groundout. Then, freshman second baseman Matt McDermott ripped a pitch into center field. The ball was caught, but Pearson dashed down the third base line and slid into home to score the game’s first run on McDermott’s sacrifice fly. With that, the College took a slim 1-0 lead into the sixth inning.
However, the Tribe’s lead was short-lived.
However, the Tribe’s lead was short-lived. After retiring the first batter on a long flyout, Sheehan grooved a pitch to shortstop Dylan Lutz, who drilled it to opposite field. The ball carried over the right field wall for a solo shot, tying the game at one apiece.
The Bobcats held the Tribe without runs in the bottom of the sixth before taking their first lead of the evening in the top of the seventh. With runners on first and third and one out, Sheehan was unable to get Ostberg to ground into a double play. Instead, Ostberg belted a fly ball into center field, which was caught by Socher but scored Gibson from third on the sacrifice fly. Sheehan was able to get the final out of the inning on the next batter, but the College trailed 2-1 going to the bottom of the inning.
The Bobcats’ starting pitcher Taylor Luciani settled down after an erratic first couple innings and kept his team in front in the bottom of the seventh. He set the Tribe down in order with all three batters grounding out.
The College came back out for the top of the eighth looking to stay within one run, with Sheehan exiting the game after seven innings. He gave up earned two runs on seven hits and had eight strikeouts. Senior pitcher Robert White came on as relief pitcher for the Tribe. For the third consecutive inning, the Bobcats were able to score, this time on a double by Lutz and an RBI single off the bat of third baseman Evan Vulgamore to extend their lead to 3-1. Vulgamore came home after the next batter, center fielder Brian Moskey, laced an RBI double down the left field line. After giving up three straight hits, White gave way to senior pitcher Charlie Fletcher. The Bobcats continued to string hits together and scored their third run of the inning. All three runs were charged to White. Fletcher eventually worked his way through the inning, but not before the Bobcats extended their lead to a commanding 5-1 advantage.
The Bobcats added another run in the ninth that the Tribe was unable to answer, resulting in a 6-1 defeat. Luciani pitched eight strong innings for the Bobcats only giving up one run on three hits. He picked up the win for the Bobcats while Sheehan was saddled with the hard-luck loss.
This weekend the College will wrap up the series with the Bobcats, looking to bounce back and claim its first series victory of the season.