William and Mary finished the season 29-29 overall and 14-9, good for second in the Colonial Athletic Conference. This is their fourth appearance in an NCAA Regional, and first since 2013 when they went 2-2 as the third seed in the Raleigh Regional. The Tribe is no stranger to Charlottesville having played at Davenport every year since 2007, though this will be the first time the two teams will meet in the NCAA Tournament. The two teams will get things started on Friday at 1 p.m. Here is what the Hoos can expect in their 1 v 4 matchup.
How they got here
After losing their opener in the Colonial Conference Tournament, the Tribe caught fire rattling off four straight elimination game wins, averaging just under ten runs per game in the process. The Colonial title was their only path to the NCAA Tournament.
On the mound
Nick Brown is Willam and Mary's Friday starter. On the season he is just 4-7 with a 5.76 ERA. It was a down year for the junior right hander after being named to the CAA second team his sophomore year. He leads the Tribe in strikeouts, but is allowing batters to hit .274. Following him on Saturdays is Bodie Sheehan. Sheehan went 5-4 with a 4.75 ERA on his way to a CAA all-rookie selection. Finally, Dan Powers rounds out the rotation. The junior right hander led the team with an 8-5 record and 3.96 ERA and earned a CAA third team selection. He pitches to contact allowing a mere 2.2 walks per nine innings, but does allow hitters to bat .301.
The bullpen is anchored by Joseph Gaouette who leads the team with 9 saves, the senior rightie won't overwhelm hitters, but is effective boasting a 2.97 ERA. To get to Gaouette, William and Mary will lean on Robert White. White features the lowest batting average against at .221, a 3.41 ERA while striking out 1.3 batters per inning. Charlie Fletcher also figures to be in the mix. The right hander throws sidearm and led the Tribe in appearances this season with 31.
At the plate
As a team, William and Mary is batting .280 and are led by senior first baseman Charley Gould. Gould led the Tribe in batting average at .335, runs scored, doubles, and was tied for the team lead in RBI. The senior earned all conference honors for the third year in a row making the second team in 2016. Joining Gould on the second team were left fielder Ryan Hall and third baseman/designated hitter Ryder Miconi. Hall batted .320 on the season and gets things started from the leadoff spot while Miconi hit .309 and was one of the Tribes' top men in getting on base. Cullen Large earned third team honors which was the second time in his career to earn all conference recognition. The junior batted .328 and was tied for the team lead in RBI with 43. Finally the power comes from senior Josh Smith who hit 9 home runs on the season and was tied with Gould and Large with 43 RBI. His grand slam in the bottom of the eighth in the Colonial final is what propelled his team to a 14-9 win and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
William and Mary and Virginia square off at 1 P.M. on Friday in the Charlottesville Regional's first game. At this point the pitching matchups aren't known. It's expected that William and Mary will stay with their rotation, and pitch Nick Brown. The Cavaliers could stay with Connor Jones, but generally number one seeds don't start their top guy. Adam Haseley picked up the win when these two teams met in Virginia's 16-8 win in March while Sheehan picked up the loss for William and Mary after giving up nine runs in the first inning. However, that game occurred before Haseley moved from mid-week to the weekend rotation. Stay tuned to Streaking the Lawn for updates throughout the coming days.