Tribe sweeps weekend series against St. John’s with stellar pitching, active bats

COURTESY PHOTO // TRIBE ATHLETICS Sophomore pitcher Mike Weidinger delivers a pitch during the Tribe's blowout win against St. John's on March 5.

Friday, March 31-Sunday, April 2, William and Mary Baseball (18-11, 5-4 CAA) swept St. John’s (16-10, 0-0 Big East) in a non-conference weekend series at Plumeri Park in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

The Tribe entered this series fresh off a win against No. 14 Campbell earlier in the week and looked to continue its recent hot streak. In its last five games, the Tribe finished 4-1 and boosted that record at home against the Red Storm.

On Friday night, the Tribe fought back to win on a walk-off defensive error by St. John’s. After the Red Storm took an early 3-0 lead in the third from back-to-back home runs, the Tribe spent the remainder of the game clawing back to equalize.

In the bottom half of the third, junior catcher Nate Goranson sparked the Tribe’s offense with a solo home run, his second of the year. 

Tasked with keeping their team in the game, the Tribe’s bullpen held the Red Storm scoreless for the last six innings. Senior pitcher Tom Mayer and graduate student pitcher Rojo Prarie each gave the Tribe three shutout innings, only letting up a combined five hits while striking out five. 

In the sixth, the Tribe continued to chip away at the St. John’s lead. Graduate student first baseman Cole Ragone singled and drove in freshman second baseman Corey Adams. With a third of the game left, William and Mary had closed the gap to one run. In the seventh, senior outfielder Joe Delossantos tied the game with a groundout, knotting the game at 3-3. 

The score remained tied until the bottom half of the ninth, when the Tribe immediately applied pressure in the batter’s box. Goranson began the inning with a single, then immediately moved to second after a successful sac-bunt from freshman infielder Noah Zertuche. After sophomore outfielder Lucas Carmichael grounded out, senior third baseman Ben Williamson was intentionally walked then stole second, leaving runners on second and third for Delossantos. Delossantos was able to put the ball in play, and thanks to an untimely error by the Red Storm shortstop, Goranson scored the winning run and the Tribe walked away victors of game one.

Saturday’s game was a complete slug-fest for the Tribe.

In the first two innings alone, the Tribe plated five runs off of four hits. Williamson, Delossantos and Ragone all hit home runs, while Carmichael added on with a double in his first at-bat of the day. 

By the end of the second inning, the Tribe had already jumped out to a 5-2 lead, which only continued to grow in the middle innings of the game.

Ragone hit his second home run of the day in the fourth, increasing his season total to five. In the fifth, Adams drove in a run with a single to right center. Williamson tagged on an RBI double in the sixth, which preceded a Delossantos two-run triple and RBI singles from Goranson and sophomore shortstop Luca Danos. 

After six innings, the Tribe led St. John’s 15-3 and was able to hold off the Red Storm offense for the remainder of the game. After recording the final out in the top of the ninth, the Tribe went up 2-0 in the series with a resounding 15-6 win.

The Tribe brought out the brooms for a sweep on Sunday, and on the mound, sophomore pitcher Nate Knowles led the charge. Knowles, who is 3-2 on the year, shined for the Tribe, going four scoreless innings while only allowing one hit. Knowles fanned five Red Storm batters and walked none in his no-decision appearance.

St. John’s junior starter Tyler Roche nearly matched Knowles, throwing three solid innings while letting up only one run after a Delossantos RBI double in the third. 

In the fifth and sixth innings, the Red Storm notched one run, erasing the Tribe lead and making the score 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth. 

The Tribe wasted no time getting that run back, and after a sacrifice fly from Adams, the Tribe evened the score at 2-2. The Red Storm, looking to avoid getting swept on the road, tried to get its offense back into the game. Despite St. John’s efforts, William and Mary’s bullpen prevented a late charge.

Sophomore reliever Carter Lovasz shut the door for the Tribe, entering the game in the seventh and throwing three no-hit innings while striking out two and walking none. Lovasz, who earned the win for Sunday’s game, improved his record to 2-1 on the season, carrying an impressive 2.36 ERA in 26.2 innings of work.

In the bottom of the eighth, Goranson was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Freshman Tank Yaghoubi then singled and advanced to second, giving the Tribe runners on second and third with just one out. Adams, who had driven in a run earlier in the game, brought in Goranson on a groundout to short, retaking the lead for the Tribe at 3-2. 

Lovasz went out for a hitless inning in the ninth, and with a final Johnnie strike out, the Tribe capped off the sweep of St. John’s with a huge win in a tightly-contested game. 

William and Mary, now 9-2 in its last 11 games, looks to keep the momentum rolling on April 4 against Maryland at Bob “Turtle” Smith Field in College Park, Maryland.


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