Baseball: Tribe holds on for 4-3 home victory over ODU

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Charlie Fletcher. COURTESY IMAGE / TRIBE ATHLETICS

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, it looked like William and Mary had already squandered this inning’s shot at tying the game. The Tribe (14-20) had already struck out twice against Old Dominion (10-21). As senior outfielder Ryan Hall stepped up to bat, the eighth inning felt like it was only three more pitches away.

But an error by the shortstop got Hall on base, and then freshman infielder Matt McDermott hit a single to keep the College alive. An Old Dominion pitching change couldn’t save the inning, as the next pitcher up gave up a walk that loaded the bases for the Tribe, leaving the College just one hit away from avoiding a new losing streak. The Tribe got that hit, beating the Monarchs 4-3 Wednesday evening.

Scoring Tuesday started with the home team in the bottom of the fourth, when singles from junior infielder Zach Pearson and junior outfielder Owen Socher scored junior infielder Colin Lipke and Zach Pearson to take an early 2-0 lead.

Despite two hits in the next inning, the College couldn’t build on that lead, which was snatched away from it in the next inning. Old Dominion claimed the advantage with a flurry of offense that involved a stolen base, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two singles to score three runners and take a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. There, the Old Dominion pitcher made quick work of three Tribe batters.

It looked like Old Dominion was going to be able to maintain that lead going into the eighth, but the College managed to load the bases with two outs on the board. The Monarchs’ pitching crumbled after that initial walk, allowing two more consecutive walks to score Hall and McDermott as the Tribe regained the advantage at 4-3. Old Dominion managed to get the final College batter out on a pop fly, but the damage had already been done. The home team headed into the eighth inning once more with a lead.

Junior pitcher Nick Butts threw a solid eighth to maintain the advantage, allowing only one single before forcing a ground out and fly out, finishing off the top of the inning with a strikeout of the final batter. The Tribe very nearly built on that momentum with another tally, as Socher got to third on a Hall single in the bottom of the inning. But the inning ended in a ground out, keeping the match a one-run game.

The Monarchs had the top of the ninth to try and find that one tying run, but senior relief pitcher Charlie Fletcher kept Old Dominion without a hit, allowing a single walk before finishing off the Monarchs for good.

Fletcher’s first save of the season clinched a 4-3 victory for the College. Butts recorded his second victory to go 2-1 on the season. Socher and Hall each connected for multiple hits in the win, which caps off a five-game homestand in which the Tribe went 3-2.

With this victory, the College improves to 14-20 on the season. The team will look to build on the resilience of Tuesday’s win as it travels to James Madison this weekend for a crucial Colonial Athletic Association series on enemy ground.