WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – For the third time this season the William and Mary baseball team used a walkoff hit to pick up a win. This time, junior Nick Thompson hit a solo home run over the left field fence, lifting the Tribe to a 7-6 victory over Radford in a back and forth game at Plumeri Park on Tuesday night. With the win, the Tribe improves to 10-5, while Radford falls to 9-8.
Radford jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. With one out, Josh Reavis doubled into left field to start the Highlanders rally. After an out, Patrick Marshall doubled to left field, brining around Reavis and giving Radford a 1-0 lead.
William and Mary responded with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Thompson led off the inning with a walk, moving to second on an error. Thompson came around to score on a fielder’s choice by junior Michael Katz.
The Highlanders regained the lead in the top of the second inning. Zach Woolcock led off the inning with a double into right field. An infield single from Hunter Higgerson and Danny Hrbek getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly from Chris Coia gave Radford a 2-1.
W&M retied the game in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Derek Lowe reached on a fielder’s choice, putting a runner on first with two outs. The next batter, freshman Tim Hoehn doubled to the right field wall, scoring Lowe.
The Tribe took its first lead in the bottom of the third inning. Thompson led off the inning with a single, followed by a single from senior Kevin Nutter, moving Thompson to third. Senior Ryan Lindemuth grounded into a fielder’s choice, but it was enough for the RBI, giving the Tribe 3-2.
Radford regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning with a pair of runs. With one out, Hrbek singled starting the rally. After another out, Blake Sipe singled putting runners on the corners. Reavis followed with another single that allowed both Hrbek and Sipe to score.
The College answered right back with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophomore Josh Smith walked to start the rally for the Tribe. With one out, Lowe doubled down the left field line putting runners on second and third. After an out, Thompson followed with a double off of the right field wall to give the Tribe a 4-3 advantage.
Radford took advantage of an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning. A double by Chris Coia started the rally. The next batter, Sipe laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw was misplayed, allowing Coia to score.
The Highlanders regained the lead for the fourth time in the top eighth inning. Higgerson belted a ball over the left field wall, giving Radford a 6-5 lead.
William and Mary, down to its finial out, rallied to tie the score for the third time in the game. Hoehn led off the inning with a single, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from Thompson. Lindemuth hit a two-out double to left field, scoring Hoehn. The Tribe loaded the bases, but were unable to find the winning run in the ninth inning.
Radford threatened in the top of the 12th inning. Aaron Scoville led off the inning being hit by a pitch, advancing to third on a pair of wild pitches. With one out, Radford had runners on second and third and sophomore Joseph Gaouette settled to record a strikeout and a fly out, without any damage.
With one out in the inning, Thompson provided all the fireworks. He belted a solo shot over the left field walk, giving the Tribe a 7-6 walk off win.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the finial decision. William and Mary’s bullpen was outstanding and holding the game in place. Freshmen John Yoest and Daniel Powers, as well as Gaouette, and senior Kevin Casey all pitched. Casey earned his second win of the season, pitching a scoreless 13th inning with two strikeouts.
It was the fifth time this season, the Tribe has battled back in the ninth inning or later to tie or take the lead. W&M has posted a 4-1 record in those games. It is also the third extra inning game for the Tribe this year. The Green and Gold is 2-1 now in extra inning affairs.
The Tribe has hit 11 homers in 15 games, which is 0.73 per-game. It is the 10th best rate of the last 30 years, and the best since 2009 when the Tribe was averaging 0.75 (37 in 49 games).
William and Mary continues its season-long 10-game home stand on Wednesday, March 12 when they welcome Richmond to Plumeri Park. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.