After triumphing in a three-game sweep of North Carolina-Wilmington in a Colonial Athletic Association matchup last weekend, William and Mary (20-10, 4-5 CAA) fell at Delaware (11-19, 5-4 CAA) in three one-run losses in a row the weekend of April 7.
GAME 1 (FRIDAY, APRIL 5)
The Tribe looked like it would have a chance to jump out to an early lead in Friday’s game, when a throwing error and two walks loaded the bases for the visiting team. However, the College only had one out left to work with and was forced into a ground out before getting anyone home.
After a first inning riddled with fielding errors for both teams, the game settled down into a low-scoring pitcher’s duel. Junior pitcher Wade Strain started on the mound for the Tribe, allowing just three hits through the first scoreless five innings. Meanwhile, Blue Hens starting pitcher Joey Silan threw five no-run innings of his own, keeping the score at 0-0 heading into the sixth frame.
In the sixth, a pair of singles to start out the inning got Strain pulled for sophomore pitcher Randy Prosperi. Prosperi walked his first batter to load the bases; finally, the Blue Hens were the first on the board with an RBI single to make it 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth.
Prosperi held the Blue Hens off the board for the final two frames, allowing just one more hit and striking out two batters, but the Tribe was unable to get a runner home in its last three chances, striking out five times in the last three innings to concede a 1-0 defeat to the Blue Hens.
Senior outfielder Owen Socher led the Tribe with two hits, while senior infielder Zach Pearson and junior first baseman Matthew Trehub also connected for base hits. Strain picked up the loss, bringing his record to 2-3.
GAME 2 (SATURDAY, APRIL 6)
Saturday’s matchup was another low-scoring affair through the first half of the contest. Tribe starting pitcher senior Bodie Sheehan kept the Blue Hens off the board for the first six innings, holding them to just a single hit and zero runs through six frames. Meanwhile, the Blue Hens starting pitcher Chris Ludman kept the College from scoring in turn.
In the seventh frame, after six scoreless innings, Sheehan’s time on the mound ended in a sudden flurry of hits. The Blue Hens put up three straight singles to score the first run of the game. Sheehan forced the fourth batter into a ground out, but before he could get out of the jam, the Blue Hens hit a two-RBI double to make the score 3-0.
The Tribe got one run back in the top of the eighth. Two hit-by-pitches got freshman outfielder Jack Cone and Socher on base before Zach Pearson scored Cone on an RBI single to cut the Blue Hens lead to 3-1. Relief pitcher redshirt junior Chris Farrell then forced the Blue Hens through three swinging strikeouts to set the College up for a comeback attempt in the top of the ninth.
The Tribe opened the ninth frame with a lead-off double from sophomore infielder Matt McDermott, followed by a sophomore infielder David Hogarth single and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Cone scored McDermott on a sacrifice fly to cut the Blue Hens’ lead to 3-2 with just one out on the board.
The Tribe couldn’t get that final runner home, leaving three men stranded on the bases as they ended the game in a popup and were forced to concede its second loss of the weekend, 3-2.
GAME 3 (SUNDAY, APRIL 7)
After two low-scoring contests Friday and Saturday, Sunday’s game stood out as a 17-run affair. The Blue Hens opened up scoring in the bottom of the first with two singles and a double to score two runs; it took the College until the third inning to answer back when freshman outfielder Matt Thomas ran home to cut the Delaware lead to 3-1.
The Tribe surged out to its first lead of the series with a three-run top of the fourth, but the Blue Hens immediately answered back with five in the bottom of the frame to reclaim their lead, 7-4. The Blue Hens then tacked on two more in the sixth to bring their advantage out to 9-4.
Once again, the College had to fight for a last-minute comeback. The Tribe cut the Blue Hens’ advantage to 9-6 with two runs in a drawn-out eighth inning, where senior infielder Colin Lipke scored McDermott and then McDermott scored on a fielder’s choice.
Down three runs with three outs left in the ninth, Trehub and McDermott put up a double and a single, respectively, to score two runs and cut the Delaware advantage to just a single run. Unfortunately for the Tribe, the day would end in a swinging strikeout, as for the third time in as many days the College fell short by a single run in the 9-8 loss.
Six separate Tribe batters recorded hits on Sunday, with Lipke leading the team with three in three at-bats.
After going 0-3 over the weekend, the College dropped from second place in the conference to sixth with an overall record of 4-5. The team will resume conference play April 12 with a three-game home series against CAA rival James Madison.