It was 75 degrees and the sun was shining. Junior catcher Hunter Smith couldn’t have asked for a prettier day to notch his fourth home run of the season.
Wednesday, Smith put his homer over the back boards of the Bud Metheny Complex in the fourth inning, scoring three runs and sealing a William and Mary victory as the Tribe (9-16, 0-3 Colonial Athletic Association) put down Old Dominion (9-14) 5-2 to snap a three-game losing streak.
In a clean game with no errors from either team, the Tribe was the first to get on the scoreboard when it loaded the bases in the top of the first. Smith, who recorded four RBIs on the day, singled through the infield to get freshman Matt McDermott home. Although the College couldn’t get any more scoring out of the two runners left on base, it had broken the opening tie to take the lead at 1-0. McDermott’s run marked his fourteenth on the season; the freshman is now just one behind senior offensive core member Ryan Hall in scoring.
Despite finding two hits, Old Dominion couldn’t get a run out of junior starting pitcher Nick Butts in the first, allowing the Tribe to take the 1-0 lead into the next inning.
In the second, the College once again got a runner to third as three walks allowed sophomore outfielder Brandon Raquet to get three fourths of the way home. Once again, the College couldn’t score the runner, as the final batter of the inning struck out. But Butts made the bottom of the inning a quick series of three fly outs, once again allowing the College to take the 1-0 lead into the next inning.
The College offense finally broke through again in the third, as Smith scored after singling to get on base, putting the College up 2-0. After a scoreless bottom of the third, Smith put the game away for the College when he stepped up to bat with two runners on base. This time, he smacked a home run across the park, sending all three home and padding the Tribe’s lead to 5-0. This home run, his fourth of the season, bumped his season total to 18 runs batted in, by far the highest on the team.
Old Dominion answered with a homer of their own in the bottom of that same inning, cutting the Tribe’s lead to 5-1. But when that homer was followed by two strikeouts, the Monarchs couldn’t make anything of the comeback attempt. Old Dominion found another run in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Tribe’s lead to 5-2, but that was as close as they would get to tying the game. Despite the fact that it was held off the scoreboard for the final five innings, the College would end the game triumphant, happy to shake off last weekend’s series sweep by Charleston.
The Wednesday victory was an effort of pitching by delegation. Butts, who picked up his first win on the season to put his individual record at 1-1, only pitched for the first two innings of the game. He was followed up on the mound by graduate Andrew Burnick, sophomore Michael Goldak, sophomore Jamie Sara, senior Michael Toner, senior Charlie Fletcher and sophomore Wade Strain. Burnick was the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter inning, while Strain would record his third save of the season.
The Tribe will hope to use this 5-2 victory to bolster it as it heads into its second conference matchup with a chance to tie up its conference record. Currently winless after a weekend of losses to Charleston, the Tribe will look to even things up when it plays UNC-Wilmington this weekend in a three-game series at Plumeri Park.