Baseball: Tribe swings home opener victory

William and Mary welcomed Lafayette to Plumeri Park on Feb. 24-26 for a three-game series. The Tribe was looking to recover from a season-opening series sweep at the hands of No. 2 Florida. The College (3-3) won all three games to complete the sweep of the Leopards (1-6).

“We were just trying to get into the win column, learn how to win and experience that again,” Tribe head coach Brian Murphy said about the home-opening series.

Friday, the Tribe took on the Leopards in its home-opener at Plumeri Park. The College left with its first win of the season in a thrilling extra inning game, 5-4.

Lafayette struck first in the top of the first inning with a two-run home run by third baseman Dan Leckie, who finished the game two for five at the plate.

The College cut the Leopard lead in half on a single by junior second baseman Cullen Large and an error by Lafayette right fielder Luke Robinson. Tribe right fielder Ryan Hall scored on the play.

I was just looking to put a ball in play, hopefully catch a hole and get that runner in from second.”

The score remained 2-1 until the top of the sixth inning. Lafayette designated hitter John Selsor doubled to left center, bringing home second baseman Steven Cohen to give the Leopards a 3-1 advantage. After this, the Tribe went to its bullpen, taking senior pitcher Nick Brown out of the game after six innings in which he gave up three earned runs.

Hall hit a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth to once again pull the Tribe within one run.

The Leopards and the Tribe traded runs in the seventh, and the score remained 4-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, with the College needing to score to extend the game. After freshman left fielder Brandon Raquet got on base, Large doubled to right field, plating Raquet for the tying run. However, the Tribe stranded Large on base, and the game went to extra innings.

After holding the Leopards scoreless in the top of the 10th, Tribe senior designated hitter Ryder Miconi singled and was pinch run for by sophomore Owen Socher. Socher advanced to second on a balk. Then, freshman first baseman Michael Goldak singled to left field, bringing Socher home for the game-winning run.

“I was just looking to put a ball in play, hopefully catch a hole and get that runner in from second,” Goldak said.

Tribe junior relief pitcher Robert White picked up the win, while Lafayette relief pitcher Mark Anderson was saddled with the loss.

Saturday, the Tribe returned to action, throttling the Leopards 16-1. Sophomore lefty Bodie Sheehan got the start for the College, and David Giusti opened on the mound for the Leopards.

After a close game the previous afternoon, the College jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The Tribe scored at least one run in each of the first seven innings, jumping out to a 14-0 lead before Lafayette was able to scratch across a run.

The College opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Large dashed down the line on a wild pitch to put the Tribe up 1-0.

Hall homered for the second day in a row when he had a two-run blast in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the lead to 9-0. Senior center fielder Charles Ameer also went deep, with a two-run homer to cap a five-run inning to push the lead to 14-0.

Lafayette scored their only run of the game in the top of the sixth when first baseman Alex Woinski hit a sacrifice fly to score Leckie to trim the lead to 14-1.

I’ve been fortunate that they’re going in the right spot right now.”

After taking a 16-1 lead through seven, the Tribe played two scoreless innings to complete the victory.

Sunday, the Tribe closed out the weekend series against the Leopards at Plumeri Park with a 1 p.m. game as they tried to complete the series sweep.

Lafayette jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first, courtesy of two home runs. First, Leckie homered to left field to put the Leopards up 1-0, and then Robinson extended the lead to 4-0 later in the frame with a three-run bomb to right center field.

The scored remained 4-0 until the bottom of the fifth. The College loaded the bases with no outs. Sophomore shortstop Kyle Wrighte hit a dribbler to third, but the catcher was unable to hang onto the throw, allowing two unearned runs to score. Later in the inning, Large had an RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-3, before Hall doubled to left center, scoring two and giving the Tribe its first lead of the day, 5-4.

“I’m just trying to barrel balls up, can’t really control where they go,” Large said on his hot streak at the plate. “I’ve been fortunate that they’re going in the right spot right now.”

In the bottom of the seventh, the College pushed its lead to 6-4. Sophomore catcher Matthew Keane led off the inning with a double to right and advanced to third on a Wrighte single. Ameer grounded into a double play, but Keane scored on the play.

Lafayette fought back to cut the score to 6-5 in the top of the eighth. Cohen drew a one out walk, followed by a Woinski double to right. Cohen scored on a Selsor ground out.

However, the Tribe held the Leopards scoreless in the ninth to pick up a 6-5 win and complete the sweep.

The Tribe will travel to Charlottesville to take on Virginia on Tuesday. The last time the two teams played was in the NCAA tournament regional, when the Tribe eliminated the Cavaliers with a 5-4 win.

“This is our first set of midweek games,” Murphy said. “Hopefully the pitching depth will come in handy in the middle of the week.”


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