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LYNCHBURG – The William & Mary baseball team fell 8-4 at Liberty in its first mid-week of the season on Tuesday afternoon.
With the decision, the Tribe falls to 2-2, while the Flames improve to 2-2 on the young season.
Sophomore Cullen Large led the Tribe offense with a pair of hits, while classmate Ryan Hall drove in two runs. Senior Josh Smith extended his hitting streak to six games, dating back to the end of last season.
Despite not scoring in the first inning for the first time all season, the Tribe still scored the first run of the game. In the top of the third inning freshman Kyle Wrighte singled up the middle, before advancing to second. The next batter freshman Matthew Keane laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Wrighte to third, before Hall cracked a double down the left field line scoring the game’s first run.
The rally continued as Smith roped a single into center field scoring Hall. After an out, Smith stole second and moved to third on an infield single from Large. Freshman Jason Waldman, followed with a single through the right side of the infield, giving the Green and Gold a 3-0 lead.
Liberty answered with four runs of its own in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Andrew Kowalo doubled into right field. The next batter D.J. Artis tripled to center field, scoring Kowalo. The rally continued as Dylan Allen reached on an error allowing Artis to score. Back-to-back doubles from Andrew Yacyk and Dalton Britt gave the Flames their first lead of the afternoon at 4-3.
W&M loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, but didn’t get a run. Hall walked, before Smith reached on an error, putting runners on the corners. Senior Charley Gould walked, loading the bases, but Liberty pitcher Geoffery Murphy got the final out of the inning, avoiding any damage.
A two-out home run allowed the Flames to extend its lead to four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sammy Taormina led off the inning with a single, moving to second a sacrifice bunt. Austin Bream followed with a single, putting runners on the corners. After an out, Kowalo launced a three-run homer overt he left field wall, giving the Flames a 7-3 lead.
The Tribe pushed across a run in the top of the eighth inning. Junior Tim Hoehn led off the inning with a walk. After an out, Keane doubled into the right center gap, putting runners on second and third with one out. The next batter, Hall flew out to right, but it was enough to plate Hoehn, cutting the deficit to 7-4.
Liberty got the run right back in the home half of the eighth inning. Taormina led of the inning with a double down the right field line, before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt. Josh Latta followed with a single left field, making the score 8-4.
Freshman Bodie Sheehan was saddled with his first loss of the season in his first career start. He tossed four innings allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. He struck out three-batters. Senior Andrew White tossed 1.2 of relief allowing two runs on three hits, while sophomore Michael Toner pitched two innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Junior John Yoest came on to get the final out of the Flames’ eighth on a strikeout.
Shane Quarterly earned win by tossing 0.2 innings allowing a run and three hits. Murphy had the best day out of the Flames relievers, pitching three scoreless innings without allowing a hit, but walked two. Offensively Britt, Taormina, and Kowalo each had a pair of hits. Kowalo, who homered, led the Flames with three RBI.
The Green and Gold will play host to George Mason on Wednesday at Plumeri Park in the home opener. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. W&M will also host Holy Cross for a three-game weekend series at Plumeri Park this weekend. The series lid-lifter is set for 4 p.m. Friday.