TOWSON, Md. – Sophomore leftfielder Peter Bowles highlighted a six-run fifth inning with a three-run home run as Towson University (15-16, 7-5) rallied from an early 3-1 deficit and handed William & Mary (21-12, 6-3) a 13-8 Colonial Athletic Association loss in the third and deciding game of their three-game weekend series at John B. Schuerholz Park on Sunday afternoon.
Bowles had two hits and scored a pair of runs in the Tigers’ comeback win. He also had three runs batted in as the Tigers handed the Tribe its first weekend series loss since William & Mary lost two of three to Clemson in mid-February.
For the second game in a row, William & Mary took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. With two outs, junior righthander Brandon Gonnella issued back-to-back walks to junior second baseman Ryan Lindemuth and sophomore first baseman Michael Katz. An infield single by freshman Charley Gould loaded the bases. On a 3-2 pitch, junior third baseman William Shaw lined a single to left centerfield, driving in two runs for a 2-0 lead. Gonnella retired freshman catcher Ryan Hissey on a ground ball to escape the inning.
Third baseman Zach Fisher led off the bottom of the first inning with a double down the right field line. He reached third base on a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Pat Fitzgerald and scored the Tigers’ first run on a sacrifice fly by senior catcher Andrew Parker.
In the second inning, senior shortstop Ryan Williams led off with a single but was stranded at third base. The Tribe missed out on a great chance to extend its lead in the third inning. Lindemuth led off with a single and Katz drew another walk. However, Gonnella came back to strike out Gould before retiring the next two hitters to escape the jam.
William & Mary extended its lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning when Williams led off with a single, went to second base on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an RBI single by freshman leftfielder Jonathan Sarty.
However, the Tigers took advantage of an error by Lindemuth to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of fourth inning. With one out, Parker reached base on an error. After junior Dominic Fratantuono was retired on a fly ball to centerfield, Bowles singled to right, putting runners on first and second base. Sophomore Brendan Butler followed with a single to left, driving in Parker to make it a 3-2 game. Junior designated hitter Kurt Wertz came through with an RBI single to left, driving in Bowles with the tying run. With Butler on third and Wertz on first and junior shortstop Hunter Bennett at the plate, the Tigers tried a double steal. Wertz took off for second base and stopped while Butler came speeding home to score and give Towson a 4-3 advantage as Wertz got back to first base.
Leading by 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs, the Tigers exploded for six runs. Fitzgerald started the uprising with a single to centerfield. When Parker was hit by a pitch, the Tigers had two runners on base. An RBI single by Fratantuono upped the Tigers’ lead to 5-3. Then, Bowles launched a three-run homer over the left field fence, giving Towson an 8-3 lead. It was his third home run of the season and his second home run of the weekend series.
After Butler singled and Wertz drew a walk, J.T. Castner relieved Inghram. Bennett greeted him with a double to right center, giving Towson a 9-3 advantage. When sophomore centerfielder Richie Blosser reached on an error, Butler scored to give Towson a 10-3 lead. The 11th man to bat in the inning, Fisher was retired on a fly ball to end the inning.
Trailing by 10-3 in the top of the sixth, the Tribe went to work reducing its deficit. Hissey led off with a walk before Derek Lowe reached on an infield single. With two outs, senior centerfielder Ryan Brown belted his first home run of the season to make it a 10-6 game. After Lindemuth reached on an error, Katz blasted a two-run double to right center to cut the deficit to 10-7. Finally, sophomore righthander Nick Cioffi ended the threat by retiring Gould on a ground ball to second.
In the seventh inning, the Tribe pulled to within 10-8. With one out, Hissey doubled to right center. When Williams reached on an error, Hissey scored. But, Cioffi retired the side when he retired pinch hitter Jackson Shaver on an infield ground ball and he struck out freshman leftfielder Jonathan Sarty.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers extended their 10-8 lead. Butler led off with a walk. With one out, Bennett hit a long drive to the deepest part of Schuerholz Park. He was able to turn it into an inside-the-park home run, giving Towson a 12-8 lead. It was Towson’s first inside-the-park homer since 1992 when Steve Farling hit one against UMBC.
Blosser followed the home run with a single to left. After he went to second base on a wild pitch, he scored on an double by Fisher, giving Towson a 13-8 lead.
With the help of a defense that turned two double plays, Cioffi retired the Tribe in the final two innings as he earned his second save of the season.
Fisher led the Tigers’ 14-hit attack with three hits while Fitzgerald, Bowles, Butler and Bennett had two hits each. Williams had three hits for the Tribe.
Gonnella earned his third win of the season by pitching 5.2 innings. He allowed eight hits, along with six earned runs. He walked four and had one strikeout. Cioffi pitched the final 3.1 innings and gave up two unearned runs on five hits with one walk and one strikeout.
The Tigers return to action on Tuesday when they host Maryland Eastern Shore at 3:30 p.m.