The score sat tied at 2-2 in the first of extra innings in William and Mary’s Wednesday game. Radford had runners on second and third base. There were zero outs on the board. All the Highlanders needed to score— and possibly put away the game— was a single run.
But sophomore pitcher Wade Strain wasn’t about to let that happen. With a Highlander still eyeing home base from third, Strain struck out the next three Radford batters in quick succession to close out the top of the inning with two runners left on base and the score still tied at 2-2. A single run in the bottom of the tenth would end the College’s home stand with a victory.
A single run in the bottom of the tenth would end the College’s home stand with a victory.
Wednesday’s matchup was the second in two games in which the Tribe (4-10) faced down Radford (4-9). The Tuesday match went to the Highlanders in a tight 1-2 loss. The Tribe opened scoring in its next shot at the Highlanders on Wednesday as junior catcher Hunter Smith put a single-run homer past the backboards of Plumeri Park, getting the score to 1-0 with his second home run of the season. Radford answered immediately in the top of the second to tie the score at 1-1.
Radford grabbed their first lead of the game in the seventh inning, scoring on a single to pull ahead at 2-1. But like the previous lead, this one didn’t stand for long, and the College immediately answered with its second home run of the game as junior infielder Colin Lipke ripped his first homer of the season to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the eighth. Neither team could break through in a zero-hit ninth, and so the game headed to extra innings. The Tribe was faced with one final chance to tie up this midweek series.
The Tribe struck out once before junior outfielder Owen Socher got on base with a single. Junior infielder Nick Butts followed up that hit with another single, putting Tribe runners on first and second. But when junior infielder Zach Pearson struck out, the Tribe was left with two outs on the board and the game resting on the shoulders of Smith. Smith had opened scoring this match, and he would end it as well. He stepped to the plate, squared up, and then cracked a double to the center that sent Socher running home and secured a 3-2 victory for the Tribe. Smith’s three-hit game, including the tallies that both opened and closed scoring on Wednesday, marked his fifth multiple-hit game of the season.
With the shutdown pitching from Strain and the extra-inning double from Smith, the Tribe’s record improves to 4-10 on the season.
With the shutdown pitching from Strain and the extra-inning double from Smith, the Tribe’s record improves to 4-10 on the season. The team will look to continue their momentum as they enter a weekend series against Campbell in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Although the College couldn’t tally a win against Clemson in its first away weekend series this season, it played with energy and passion against Clemson that it will look to echo in this next challenge against the Camels.