GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The William and Mary baseball team dropped game one of its three-game set with the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators Friday evening, 4-1. With the loss, the College falls to 2-3 overall, while Florida improves to 5-1 on the year.
Freshman outfielder Josh Smith drove home W&M's only run of the contest with a solo home run to left field in the top of the third. Fellow classmate Michael Katz went 2-for-4, while senior Stephen Arcure notched a pinch-hit double to center field. Senior Tadd Bower and sophomore Ryan Lindemuth each went 1-for-4, respectively.
After giving up a run early, senior southpaw Cole Shain (0-1) settled in and pitched six solid innings against the nation's best team. In his six innings of work, Shain gave up just five hits and only one earned run, but was credited with loss. Junior reliever Ryan Williams recorded two strikeouts in one inning of action.
Florida's Hudson Randall (1-0) earned the victory, as he pitched 6.1 innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits.
The Gators jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. A Mike Zunino RBI sacrifice fly to right field plated Gator Nolan Fontana. In the top of the second, the College threatened to tie the score, but was unable to put any runs across. Katz led the inning off with a double down the left field line. With one out, junior Kevin Nutter's sacrifice bunt advanced Katz to third, but the inning came to an end with Katz stranded on the corner.
In the top half of the third, W&M tied the score up at 1-1. Smith led the inning off with a solo home run to left field. After Florida recorded the first out of the inning, senior infielder Tadd Bower roped a double to center field. With one out and Bower on second, the College was unable to take the lead.
Florida's Tyler Thompson nudged the Gators back ahead at 2-1, with a two-out home run to right field in the bottom of the fifth.
Once again, the Tribe positioned itself to strike in the top of the seventh but was turned away. Katz led the inning off with a single to center field. The Falls Church Va., native moved into scoring position after stealing second. Sophomore Bobby Klein's ground out to second advanced Katz to third. With just one out and Katz on third, the College was unable to drive the freshman home, and Florida escaped the inning maintaining its 2-1 advantage.
Another W&M lead off double to center field, this time by Arcure in the top of the eight had the College poised to tie the affair. However, the Gators recorded three straight outs in working their way out of the jam.
The Gators plated a pair of insurance runs in the bottom half of the eighth to extend its lead to 4-1. In the top of the ninth, Florida denied any potential Tribe rally and held on for the 4-1 victory.
The William and Mary baseball team will continue its series with the Florida Gators Saturday, Feb. 25, with the first pitch from Gainesville scheduled for 4 p.m.