Senior Kevin Casey led the hit parade for W&M, going 5-of-6 at the plate and finishing just a triple short of the cycle. He hit his first career Tribe home run to go with three runs scored and two RBI. Junior Devin White was 3-of-6 at the plate with a home run and four RBI, while fellow classmate Michael Katz drove in three runs and hit his team-leading sixth home run of the season. The five home runs are the most since the Tribe had six in games against Longwood and Hofstra during the 2005 campaign. With its performance on Thursday, W&M pushed its season home run total to 16 through 16 games, which is just one away from the total season production of 17 in 2013.
Fernandez earned his first career win in the best outing of his young career. The Old Brookville, N.Y., native threw 6.1 innings in relief of starter J.T. Castner, allowing just one earned run on four hits, walking just one to go along with three strikeouts. Jonathan de Marte took the loss for Richmond as he allowed 12 runs, 10 earned, over one-plus innings of work.
Doug Kraeger homered in the top of the first to stake Richmond to a 2-0 lead, but W&M responded with a seven-spot in the bottom half of the frame highlighted by a pair of home runs. After junior Nick Thompson led off the home side of the first with his second homer in as many days and fourth overall on the year, the Tribe loaded the bases behind a Casey double, Ryan Lindemuth single and Katz walk.
Sophomore Ryan Hissey tied the game at two with a sac fly, before White singled through the left side to put the Tribe in front, 3-2. After the Green and Gold loaded on a Porter Reinhart walk, senior Derek Lowe knocked in the fourth Tribe run of the frame on a fielder’s choice. Freshman shortstop Tim Hoehn provided the final blow of the inning with his first career home run, a three-run job to straight away center, giving W&M a 7-2 lead after one inning.
The Spiders tacked on three runs in the second to draw within 7-5. Aaron Newman provided the lumber during the frame with a two-run double to the left-center field gap, driving home Kurtis Brown and Tyler Beckwith.
W&M put another crooked number on the scoreboard in the home half of the second. Katz knocked in one of the first two runs of the second, before White provided the haymaker. The junior catcher launched a three-run shot over the right-field fence, the second of his career, pushing the Tribe lead to 12-5 through two innings.
After Richmond scored one run in the third via a Adam Forrer RBI single through the right side, Fernandez settled into a grove on the mound. The 6-2 right-hander retired nine straight at one point in posting five straight scoreless innings.
The Tribe used the longball to its advantage once again in the bottom of the sixth to tack on three more. After Thompson walked to lead off the frame, Casey drilled the first pitch he saw over the left-field fence. Katz followed with a solo shot to the center field, upping the cushion to 15-6.
In the seventh, W&M loaded the bases with two outs and Katz notched his third RBI of the game with a hit by pitch. Richmond scored five in the top of the ninth, including four two-out unearned runs, but the Tribe held on for its eighth win in the last nine games. Jansen Fraser provided the big hit of the Spiders’ last-ditch effort, lacing a three-run home run over the right field fence.
The Tribe returns to action with a three-game set this weekend against Iona at Plumeri Park. Friday night’s game is slated for 7 p.m. followed by Saturday and Sunday games at 4 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. Check out live stats and live audio of each contest will be at TribeAthletics.com.