William and Mary jumped on an early lead against Norfolk State Wednesday, March 27, putting its offensive struggles of the previous game to bed. As the game went on, the Tribe (16-7) did not let up on the Spartans (8-13), pulling out a 16-6 victory.
The Tribe earned seven runs on just two hits in the bottom of the second, owing their scoring to aggressive baserunning and a messy defensive presence for the Spartans, who committed four errors in half an inning. By the end of the second inning the scoreboard read 12-1 in the College’s favor.
Spartans outfielder Justin Hayes hacked a double down the right field line to start the third inning for the Spartans. A deep fly ball threatened to bring the score to 12-2, but the Tribe came up with the catch all the way at the warning track, and freshman pitcher Jack Cone had one away. Cone continued a strong performance, and the Spartans stranded a runner on third, ending the inning with a choppy grounder up the first base line.
The bottom of the third saw senior infielder Zach Pearson drive a long double over the head of the Spartans right fielder, though that would be the only offensive action of the half-inning, as the Tribe stranded Pearson on second.
Cone struck Spartans infielder Brandon Crosby in the elbow, sending Crosby to first to begin the fourth inning. Crosby, who has twelve stolen bases on 13 attempts so far this season, took off for second at the earliest opportunity, and the Spartans had a player in scoring position. Cone kept his cool, though, and the Tribe got out of the inning unscathed.
Errors continued to plague the Spartans in the fourth, as a wild throw from Spartans third baseman Seth Hockett and a bouncing throw from Crosby put runners on first and third for the Tribe. Senior catcher Hunter Smith singled to drive in the run that brought the score to 13-1.
Cone worked into the top of the fifth, remaining strong allowing no runs and only one hit. Meanwhile, the College’s offense faltered for the first time all night with just one hit and no runs.
However, their momentum was enough to carry them through the sixth inning without incident, as redshirt junior Chris Farrell replaced Cone on the mound. Farrell walked one Spartan and struck out two more before earning his third out on a choppy grounder to first base.
The bats got hot for the Tribe in the sixth, and they tacked on three more runs to make the score 16-1. Junior outfielder David Angstadt started things off for the Tribe with a one-out single, which was quickly followed up with a double down the right field line from senior outfielder Owen Socher. The Spartans’ pitcher showed signs of being rattled, hitting the next batter to load the bases for junior outfielder Brandon Raquet, who earned a walk and sent. Angstadt home. Junior first baseman Matthew Trehub drove in the final two runs of the game, putting the final nail in the Spartans’ coffin.
Overall it was a strong performance for the Tribe, though the numerous Spartan errors certainly contributed to the College’s victory. Socher went 3-for-6 with two doubles and two RBIs, a season high in hits for the outfielder, while Smith extended his hitting streak to six games.
Moving forward, the Tribe will hit the road to take on North Carolina-Wilmington in its first Colonial Athletic Association matchup of the season away from Plumeri Park. The series will begin March 29 and end March 31.