Baseball: Tribe trounces state rival Virginia in comeback

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JAMIE HOLT/THE FLAT HAT

Tuesday Feb. 26, William and Mary travelled to Charlottesville for its first away game of the season, where the Tribe (5-1) downed in-state rival Virginia (4-4) in a commanding 9-3 comeback victory.

After the Tribe left a runner on base in the top of the first thanks to a pair of swinging strikeouts, sophomore pitcher Jacob Haney started out shaky on the mound, allowing four hits and seeing Virginia score twice. Down 2-0 heading into the second frame, the Tribe fought its way back within one as freshman infielder Hunter Hart started off with a leadoff single that turned into a run on an RBI groundout from sophomore infielder Matt McDermott.

The Cavaliers immediately pushed their lead back to two runs in the bottom of the second, as they drew a walk and an RBI double off of freshman pitcher Zach Tsakounis in his first inning in relief.

Up 3-1 heading into the third frame, it looked like Virginia had control of the game until the Tribe’s offense exploded with seven runs in the next two innings. Virginia’s pitching faltered in the top of the third, putting three runners on base with a hit-by-pitch and two walks before sending one home with another hit-by-pitch. The Cavaliers pulled the pitcher, but that could not stop the onslaught. Senior infielder Zach Pearson and McDermott put up RBI hits, followed by an RBI fly out from sophomore infielder David Hogarth, and the Tribe surged ahead, 5-3. It didn’t stop there; in the fourth inning, a costly two-run fielding error and another RBI hit from McDermott brought the lead to 8-3 for the visitors.

Meanwhile, Tsakounis stood strong on the mound to keep the Cavaliers scoreless for the next five innings. After the second inning, he allowed just three hits, two walks and zero runs, striking out seven to keep Virginia off the board. Pitchers sophomore Randall Prosperi and redshirt junior Chris Farrell finished out the game in relief as the Tribe added one more run in the sixth inning to claim a commanding 9-3 victory.

Tsakounis would record the victory on the day, bringing his record to 2-0. McDermott led all Tribe batters with four hits and three RBI, while Hart recorded three hits and ran home three times. For the first time this season, senior catcher Hunter Smith was held without a hit.

The Tribe continues a stretch of away games with a weekend series against High Point in North Carolina, beginning March 1.