Despite connecting for hits in all but two innings Friday and getting season-best performances out of core batters in a Colonial Athletic Association matchup, William and Mary couldn’t convert hits into runs as the Tribe (14-21, 3-7 CAA) fell to James Madison (17-16, 3-7 CAA) in a 15-3 division loss.
The College started out this weekend’s away series strong. Senior outfielder Ryan Hall connected for a lead-off single, which was immediately following by another single from freshman infielder Matt McDermott. Junior infielder Colin Lipke came up to the plate to try and convert the two runners on base into a tally, but he hit into a double play. The College went on the defense in the bottom of the first with the game still tied at 0-0.
Things spun out of control for the College in the bottom of the first. Despite an early strikeout, James Madison squeezed five hits out of starting pitcher senior Bodie Sheehan in his second loss of the season. By the time Sheehan managed to strike out the final batter of the inning, the Tribe was already facing a 4-0 deficit.
There would be no comeback for the visiting team in the top of the second, as the James Madison pitcher made quick work of the three College batters with two strikeouts and a fly out. In the bottom of the inning, the Dukes’ Fox Semones knocked a home run across the park to pad the home team’s lead to 5-0.
In the top of the third, sophomore infielder Patrick Ryan made it to second on a wild pitch, but once again the College couldn’t get as far as third base. The situation continued to decline for the Tribe in the bottom of the third as James Madison added two more runs to their already impressive total.
Down 7-0, the College needed a serious comeback effort if it was going to stay in this game. That effort finally came in the top of the fifth, when a walk and a wild pitch pushed junior infielder Jason Waldman all the way to second. The rest of the team stepped up to get Waldman his fourth run of the season, as a single from junior infielder Nick Butts and a ground out by junior outfielder Owen Socher got Waldman to home. Despite getting two more hits from Hall and Ryan after the Waldman tally, the inning ended without another run for the College, cutting James Madison’s lead to 7-1.
The Tribe added another run in the top of the sixth. Much like Waldman’s tally earlier, Lipke was pushed to second on a walk and a wild pitch. Waldman himself then pushed Lipke home with a double, cutting the home team’s lead to 7-2.
James Madison vanquished any hopes of a Tribe comeback in the next inning, however, with four runs, including three on a three-run homer, to pad their lead to 11-2. A wholesale change of outfield personnel couldn’t save the Tribe’s defense. James Madison continued to dominate, putting up one run in the seventh and then three more in the eighth to pad their lead to an insurmountable 15-2.
Down thirteen runs in the top of the ninth, the Tribe wasn’t quite done yet. A double from sophomore first baseman Matthew Trehub scored Ryan, cutting the Dukes’ lead to 15-3. James Madison then celebrated their home win as the College headed off the field to prepare themselves for redemption Saturday.
James Madison’s offense overwhelmed all three of the College’s pitchers Friday, shelling Sheehan in the first five innings with eleven hits and not allowing either relief pitcher to get away without any damage. Although the Tribe only trailed James Madison in hits by seven, getting 11 of their own out of the two Dukes pitchers, they struggled to make those hits into runs. Hall and Ryan led the College’s offensive effort with three hits each, which is each player’s best effort at bat so far this season.
The College claimed its first conference series victory last weekend with two wins in a doubleheader against Towson. With the first game a wash, the Tribe still has the chance to salvage this series. It will look to do so Saturday as Game 2 goes underway in Harrisonburg.