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CHARLOTTESVILLE — William & Mary rallied for three runs in the bottom of the third inning and one more in the fourth, and pitchers Nick Brown, Robert White, and Joseph Gaouette made it stand up, as they eliminated Bryant University from the NCAA Division I baseball tournament with a 4-3 victory this morning.
With the win, the Tribe advances to Sunday play in the Charlottesville regional, when they will take on the loser of today’s game between No. 1 seed Virginia and third-seeded East Carolina at 1 p.m.
With their win today, William & Mary, the regional’s No. 4 seed, improved its overall season record to 30-30. Bryant concluded its season with a 47-12 record.
Brown tossed seven innings, allowing two runs on just three hits, while adding three strikeouts. Relievers While and Gaouette were able to piece together the final two innings. In the process, Gaouette equaled the school record with his 10th save of the season, allowing one hit, but striking out one in a scoreless ninth inning.
Offensively, Cullen Large, Hunter Smith and Zach Pearson led the Tribe with two hits apiece. Large, Smith, Ryder Miconi, and Ryan Hall drove in runs.
Bryant, the No. 2 seed in the Charlottesville regional, was one of the best teams entering the tournament field of 64. The Bulldogs were tied for the most wins in the nation with 47 and hadn’t lost back-to-back games all season, the only team in the country to do so.
William & Mary opened the scoring with three runs in the home half of the third inning. Pearson led off the frame with a double down the left field line. After an out, Miconi doubled down the right field line, scoring Pearson. The next batter, Large lined a single into center, scoring Miconi. After an out and a stolen base by Large, Smith beat out an infield single. Large never stopped running on the play and scored from second base to give W&M a 3-0 lead.
Robbie Rinn got Bryant back within two runs with one swing of the bat in the top of the fourth inning. He lined a 3-2 offering just over the right field wall.
Hall answered Rinn’s homer with one of his own in the bottom of the fifth. For the second straight day Hall visited the left field bleachers, giving W&M a 4-1 lead.
The Bulldogs took advantage of another solo shot in the top of the seventh inning. This time Zach Wood belted a ball over the left field wall, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Bryant cut the lead to a run, scoring without a hit in the top of the eighth inning. Cole Fabio walked and worked himself around the bases on a stolen base and wild pitch. With one out, Rinn drew a walk before Buck McCarthy sent a sacrifice fly to center field. But that was as close as the Bulldogs would get.
Bryant’s Brandon Bingle was saddled with his fourth loss of the season. He allowed all four runs on six hits, while fanning four Tribe batters.
The Tribe, which won its fifth straight elimination game, including last weekend’s Colonial Athletic Association tournament, will play another elimination game at tomorrow at it tries to keep its season alive.