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Tribe baseball to face UVA Friday in NCAA tournament

  • CAA champs:
    CAA champs:  The team won the program's first CAA tournament title since 2001.  Tribe Athletics photo
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Due to possible inclement weather, the start time for Friday's game has been changed to 11 a.m. Find out more here. - Ed

For the fourth time in program history, William & Mary is heading to the NCAA Baseball Tournament, starting with the Charlottesville Regional in Charlottesville, Virginia. W&M found its fate Monday as part of the NCAA's Selection Show in front of friends and family at Paul's Deli in Williamsburg.

The fourth-seeded Tribe will face the top-seeded University of Virginia on Friday, June 3, in Charlottesville, Virginia. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.

The Tribe and Cavaliers met earlier this season with UVA picking up a 16-8 victory on March 1 at Davenport Field. Joining the regional will be champions of the Northeast Conference Bryant, who earned the No. 2 seed, and No. 3-seeded and at-large bid out of the American Conference East Carolina Pirates. Those teams meet in the second game of the regional at 6 p.m. Every game of the Charlottesville Regional will be streamed live online via ESPN3.

Tickets to the Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field are only currently available through purchase of a full Regional ticket book. Reserved ticket books are located in the left field and right bleachers. General admission ticket books are also available for seating on the hill and in standing room areas. To purchase tickets, click here.

W&M earned the CAA's automatic bid after winning its second league title in program history Sunday. From the brink of elimination to the elation of a Colonial Athletic Association Championship, senior Josh Smith launched a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning to cap the most improbable of comebacks. His heroics ended a whirlwind 24 hours culminating in the William & Mary baseball team's 14-9 win over league regular season champion UNCW and the program's first CAA Tournament title since 2001.
Facing a seven-run, ninth-inning deficit in game one of the CAA Championship on Saturday afternoon, W&M (29-29), which had not overcome a ninth-inning deficit all season, rallied to pull even and eventually pick up the win, albeit over a day later after a delay from Tropical Storm Bonnie. Sophomore Cullen Large provided the game one heroics on Sunday with solo home run in the 12th inning. In the final game of the CAA Tourney, the Tribe led throughout, but needed some late inning drama to cement the championship. The Green and Gold also staved off eliminating from the conference championship with four wins following a loss in its opener to Charleston on Thursday.
After UNCW (39-17) pulled even with single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings, the Tribe brought the top of the lineup to the plate in the bottom of the eighth. Sophomore Ryan Hall walked to lead off the frame and moved into scoring position thanks to a sacrifice bunt from junior Ryder Miconi. With two outs and following a wild pitch, Hall stood on third. Senior Charley Gould and freshman Hunter Smith proceeded to draw walks and load the bases for Josh Smith. On the first offering from UNCW sophomore reliever Austin Easter, the Great Falls, Va., native drilled a no-doubter over the left field wall to give the Tribe the lead for good, 13-9. It was Smith's team-leading ninth home run of the season.
Freshman Zach Pearson added to the margin with an RBI single up the middle to score Kyle Wrighte, who singled and stole second after Smith's home run. One day after throwing a season-high 4.2 innings in game one of the championship round, senior right-hander Joseph Gaouette worked a spotless ninth, including a strike out, to close the door on the Tribe's second league tournament crown.
Josh Smith finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate with seven RBI and two runs scored. He was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the CAA Championships for his efforts and was joined on the All-Tournament team by freshman catcher Hunter Smith, junior right-hander Dan Powers and junior right fielder Charles Ameer. Hunter Smith was 3-for-3 in the championship game with three RBI, a double, two runs scored and two walks. Sophomore Cullen Large added two runs scored and two hits, while Ameer had a pair of hits with a RBI and Pearson drove in a pair.
Sophomore Charlie Fletcher picked up the win in relief, working one inning and allowing one run. Junior Nick Brown started the game for W&M and pitched four innings, while striking out three on short rest. The Tribe received an inning of work from senior Mitchell Aker and two scoreless innings out of freshman Jason Waldman. UNCW's Clay Lockamon took the loss, allowing one run in 3.2 innings of relief. Easter did not record an out, facing six batters and allowing four earned runs in the decisive eighth.
UNCW jumped on the board with three runs in the top of the first inning, thanks to back-to-back homers. W&M recorded two outs following a leadoff walk to Steven Linkous, before the Seahawks cashed in. CAA Player of the Year Nick Feight connected on a two-run home run to put UNCW on the board, before Casey Golden made it back-to-back jacks, pacing the Seahawks to an early 3-0 lead.
William & Mary came right back and scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs, Large doubled followed by a walk to Gould. Back-to-back singles from the Smith duo of Hunter and Josh cut the deficit to 3-2 after one.
The Seahawks extend its lead to two runs with unearned run in the top of the third inning. Stupienski doubled off of the left field wall to lead off the frame, before moving to third on a ground out. He came around to score on a passed ball.
Again, the Tribe responded but this time with its 31st four, or more, run inning when they batted around and scored five in the home half of the third. Back-to-back singles from Miconi and Large and a walk to Hunter Smith sandwiched around an out loaded the bases. Josh Smith doubled off of the centerfield wall to plate a pair. After a walk to Wrighte, run-scoring at-bats from Ameer via a single and a fielder's choice from Pearson gave W&M a 7-4 advantage.
UNCW pushed back for two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Back-to-back singles from Zach Canada and Robbie Thorburn started the rally. A groundout moved both runners up 90 feet. With two outs, Brian Mims singled up the middle, clearing the bases.
W&M again answered the Seahawks call with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Miconi led off the inning with a walk, and Gould was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. The next batter, Hunter Smith cleared the bases with a double to centerfield, restoring a three-run Tribe lead, 9-6.
In the fifth, Canada singled to bring home Feight, who was hit by a pitch to start the frame, to draw the Seahawks closer. However, Aker was able to pitch out of a second and third jam preserving the two-run lead.
UNCW brought the score within a run in the top of the sixth inning. Three straight walks to Linkous, Mims and Stupienski loaded the bases. After a strikeout, Andy Austin skied a fly out to center, which cut the lead to one. Waldman got the final out of stranding two Seahawks on base, before pitching and unblemished seventh inning.
The Seahawks completed the comeback with a sac fly in the top of the eighth inning. Linkous reached on a walk, moved to second a sac bunt and to third on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly by Feight tied the score at 9-9, setting the table for the Tribe's thrilling home half of the inning.