Sophomore outfielder Brandon Raquet started 44 of William and Mary’s 57 games last season as one of the team’s starters and leaders in runs. This season, he’s only started five of the College’s first nineteen matchups. His first run of the season was the difference-maker in Friday’s match against Eastern Tennessee State University.
The Tribe held Eastern Tennessee off the scoreboard entirely as sophomore pitcher Jamie Sara claimed his first victory of the season, helping the College to a tightly pitched 1-0 win in the opening of this weekend’s doubleheader.
The Tribe (7-12) held the Buccaneers (9-5) to zero hits in the first inning as junior pitcher Nick Butts started out the game. The College was then the first to connect with a pitch in the bottom of the first, as junior infielder Colin Lipke hit a single and then got to second base before the College was caught out.
Things got dangerous for the Tribe in the top of the second when Eastern Tennessee got a runner on base after a pitch hit their batter. The College then allowed the runner to get all the way to third on a wild pitch and a throwing error. But the Buccaneers’ final batter was caught easily by freshman second baseman Matt McDermott and the Tribe kept the score at 0-0.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third, when Eastern Tennessee allowed Raquet to walk to first. Another single from Lipke got Raquet to second before senior outfielder Ryan Hall cracked a single to left field that allowed Raquet to get all the way home, breaking the tie and bringing the score to 1-0.
Despite having both Lipke and Hall still on base, the Tribe was unable to get another runner home before it struck out to end the third. But that single run would end up being enough to claim the win, as a game riddled with strikeouts on both sides kept the game scoreless through the remaining six innings.
Although Eastern Tennessee got runners on base three more times in the remaining innings, they were never able to complete a run. In the Buccaneers’ last chance at bat, relief pitcher sophomore Wade Strain struck out two batters in quick succession. Eastern Tennessee’s third and final chance at continuing the game ended in another popout to McDermott, allowing the College its second win in a row.
Butts started pitching in the game and Strain would close it out, but it’s Sara that will claim the victory with the three crucial innings he pitched through the middle of the stretch, bringing his record on the season to 1-2. As a contingent, the five Tribe pitchers allowed only four hits in the match. The Buccaneers only allowed three more than the College, but that was still enough for the home team to claim the victory.
With this win, the Tribe improves to 7-12 on the season and begins this weekend series against East Tennessee 1-0. The College is 6-4 in its last 10 matches. That momentum will carry the Tribe into its second game of the weekend series as the Buccaneers look for their first run of the weekend on Saturday at Plumeri Park.