It was the bottom of the ninth, and William and Mary was in trouble. After squandering three leads, the Tribe (10-18, 1-5 Colonial Athletic Association) failed to get the edge on Maryland (14-15) in the top of the ninth. The Terrapins had the chance to take the game, as a runner had just stolen third with only a single out on the board.
But graduate pitcher Andrew Burnick wasn’t about to let this game slip out of the Tribe’s hands. With the Maryland runner still lurking on third, Burnick forced a ground out and then coolly struck out the final batter to send the game into extra innings, where the College would eventually take the match, 6-3.
The Tribe was the first on the board in Tuesday’s weekday matchup. Junior catcher Hunter Smith hit a single to score senior outfielder Ryan Hall, who had gotten on base with a double of his own, bringing the College in front early, 1-0. Junior starting pitcher Nick Butts threw a perfect four innings, keeping Maryland without a hit and letting the Tribe carry its 1-0 lead into the fifth.
The Tribe couldn’t keep Maryland silent forever, however, and the Terrapins found a flurry of offense in the bottom of the fifth, knocking three hits past the College defense that culminated in a run to tie the game at 1-1 going into the sixth.
The College took the lead once again in the top of the seventh, when a walk and a pitch hitting the batter got Tribe runners to first and second base. Sophomore first baseman Matthew Trehub bunted to move the runners, and junior infielder Zach Pearson finished off the small-ball with a single to get junior outfielder Owen Socher home, letting the Tribe take the lead once again at 2-1. The Terrapins had an immediate answer, however, tying the score up in the bottom of the inning at 2-2.
That was the story of the eighth inning as well. A homer from junior infielder Colin Lipke reclaimed a Tribe lead, 3-2, in the top of the eighth, but Maryland evened out the score once again in the bottom of the inning on an error to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the final inning. When the Tribe couldn’t find any offense in the top of the ninth, Maryland had the chance to finish off the game in the bottom of the inning.
But after Burnick struck out the final batter, that Terrapin runner on third was sent back to the dugout frustrated. This game was going to need a few extra at-bats to decide the outcome.
Both teams got runners to second in the tenth inning, but neither got any home, and the match went into the 11th still tied at 3-3.
11 innings into a tight match, the Terrapins started to unravel. Two pitches hit Tribe batters, getting senior outfielder Craig McLane and Hall on base before they could even take a swing. Lipke then lifted the Tribe into the lead with a single that sent both McLane and Hall home with just one out on the board. Maryland couldn’t close out the inning, hitting two more College batters — pushing freshman infielder Matt McDermott home, putting the Tribe up 6-3 — before finally getting their third out. The Terrapins were forced into the bottom of the 11th looking for three runs to keep them in the game.
Sophomore relief pitcher Wade Strain struck out one batter, then grounded out two more to keep the Terrapins off the board and clinch a much-needed 6-3 victory for the Tribe.
With this win, the College improves to 11-18 on the season and 3-9 on the road. The Tribe will look to take the momentum from this extra-inning win into its matchup Wednesday against George Washington at Plumeri Park.