TRIBE 10, NORFOLK STATE 9
Eleventh-inning drama secured the third extra-inning victory of the spring for the College of William and Mary (7-13, 1-2 CAA). Senior third baseman Tyler Stampone belted a solo walk-off home run to give the Tribe a 10-9 comeback win over Norfolk State University (4-9).
The Tribe entered the bottom half of the eleventh inning tied 9-9 and facing the possibility of losing their fourteenth game of the season.
But Stampone led off the eleventh by taking a 2-1 fastball from Spartans reliever Chas Davenport a third of the way up the light-post in left-centerfield for a walk-off home run, Stampone’s first on the season.
“I think that’s the first one of my career,” Stampone said. “I had one on Saturday that hit the top of the fence which was pretty close, so I felt like I needed to get it over with.”
The home run generated a collective sigh of relief from the Tribe coaches.
“As soon as that ball got off his bat, I was like ‘please get out of here,’” Head Coach Frank Leoni said. “I just knew the longer a game goes on like that, with a team like ours and a team like theirs, you’re asking for trouble.”
The Tribe scored two runs in the second on junior centerfielder Tyler Truxell’s (2-3, 2 RBI) double to take an early 2-0 lead, before scoring seven runs in the final three frames to send the game into extra innings.
In between, the Tribe did what they could to help the Spartans. Despite six solid innings from freshman righthander Reid Killen, the College managed only two hits through six innings off Norfolk State starter Jason Barker.
“It seems like that’s kind of a theme for us. When our pitching’s on, our hitting off; when our hitting’s on, our pitching’s off,” Stampone said.
An eighth-inning error by senior first baseman Jeff Jones combined with a failed sacrifice fly attempt in the bottom half of that inning left the Tribe trailing by one heading into the ninth.
But senior rightfielder Rob Nickle (2-5) scored after leading off with a double. Sophomore righthander Tim Norton came out of the bullpen to hold back the Spartans, going three innings for his first win of the year.
The young Tribe team got a lesson, as well.
“I told the team after the game, ‘why are we talking in the dugout like we should be rolling anybody’,” Leoni said. “We’re not good enough to talk like that.
“[But] I hope days like today get us going in the right direction.”