From the CAA
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (May 29, 2016) – Senior Josh Smith drove in seven runs, highlighted by an eighth-inning grand slam that snapped a 9-9 tie, as second-seeded William & Mary defeated #1 UNCW, 14-9, to capture its first CAA Baseball Championship since 2001 on Sunday night at the Ballpark at Patriots Point.
It was the second win of the night for the Tribe (29-29), who reeled off four consecutive victories after losing their opening game of the tournament. It's just the second CAA championship ever for William & Mary, which earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Baseball Championship. UNCW, which dropped to 39-17 with the loss, is hopeful of joining W&M in the field of 64 when it's announced on Monday afternoon.
Josh Smith, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, finished 3-for-5 with a double, homer and two runs scored to go along with his career-best seven RBI's. Teammate Hunter Smith was 3-for-3 with three RBI's and the Tribe also got two hits apiece from Cullen Large and Charles Ameer.
For UNCW, first baseman Zack Canada went 2-for-5, catcher Nick Feight knocked in three runs and Brian Mims had a pair of RBI's.
With the score tied at 9-9 in the bottom of the eighth, three walks allowed William & Mary to load the bases with two outs. That set the stage for Josh Smith, who hit a towering shot over the left-field wall for his ninth homer of the season. Zach Pearson added an RBI single later in the frame to extend the Tribe lead to 14-9.
UNCW got off to a fast start as Feight blasted his league-leading 21st homer of the year to left and Casey Golden followed with a solo shot to put the Seahawks on top 3-0 in the top of the first. W&M responded with a pair in the bottom of the frame on back-to-back RBI singles from Hunter Smith and Josh Smith.
The Seahawks tacked on a run in the top of the third when Gavin Stupienski doubled off the wall in left and eventually scored on a passed ball. However, W&M broke loose for five in the bottom of third to grab the lead. Ryder Miconi and Cullen Large singled to open the frame and came around to score on Josh Smith's double to right-center to tie the game at 4-4. Charles Ameer's RBI single put the Tribe on top and they added a couple of more runs on a fielder's choice and a wild pitch.
Both teams scored twice in the fourth. Mims delivered a two-run single for UNCW, but the Tribe pushed its lead to 9-6 as Hunter Smith drove in a pair with a double.
The Seahawks picked up a run in the fifth on Zack Canada's RBI single and another in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Andy Austin. UNCW tied the game at 9-9 in the eighth on Feight's 90th RBI of the season, a sacrifice fly that plated Steven Linkous.
Reliever Charlie Fletcher (3-2) earned the win for W&M and closer Joseph Gaouette retired the final three batters in the ninth.
W&M's Josh Smith, Hunter Smith, Ameer and pitcher Dan Powers were named to the all-tournament team along with UNCW's Stupienski, Linkous, Canada and pitcher Ryan Foster. Rounding out the all-tournament squad were David Hopkins and Aaron Civale of Northeastern and Bailey Ober and Tommy Richter of the College of Charleston.
CAA ALL-TOURANMENT TEAM
Charles Ameer, William & Mary
Zack Canada, UNCW
Aaron Civale, Northeastern
Ryan Foster, UNCW
David Hopkins, Northeastern
Steven Linkous, UNCW
Bailey Ober, College of Charleston
Dan Powers, William & Mary
Tommy Richter, College of Charleston
Hunter Smith, William & Mary
Josh Smith, William & Mary
Gavin Stupienski, UNCW