WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Senior righthander Josh Squatrito retired all seven hitters he faced as he pitched 2.1 innings of perfect relief to earn his fifth save of the season to lead the Tigers (17-17, 5-5) earned a 10-4 Colonial Athletic Association victory over William & Mary (14-20, 4-9) in the opening game of their three-game weekend series at Plumeri Park on Friday evening.
Squatrito entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs and senior Rob Nickle on first base with the Tigers protecting a 6-4 lead. He pitched out of the inning by retiring freshman catcher Chris Forsten on a ground ball to first base.
Then, he retired the Tribe in order in the eighth and ninth innings as he earned the 15th save of his college career.
Making his fifth start of the season, freshman righthander Tyler Austin pitched five shutout innings before allowing two runs in the sixth inning. Austin, who is now 2-1 on the year, allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Through five innings, he shut out the Tribe on only three hits.
“Pitching was the key to the game,” said Towson Coach Mike Gottlieb. “Tyler Austin really gave us a lift. He was throwing his curve ball for strikes. When he does that, it’s very tough to hit him. Once we gave the ball to ‘Squat’ in the seventh, we knew we were in good shape.”
The Tigers gave Austin a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Senior catcher Jason Stifler led off with a walk and senior leftfielder Aaron Gabrielian lined an RBI double down the rightfield. With one out, freshman rightfielder Ben Winter upped the lead to 2-0 with an RBI double to right. When senior shortstop Gary Helmick was hit by a pitch and junior centerfielder Kevin Collins singled, the Tigers had the bases loaded. Towson’s third run of the inning came across the plate when senior first baseman Matt Collins was hit by a pitch.
Towson upped its lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning as junior third baseman Steve Yarsinsky led off with a single and Matt Collins singled. Both runners moved up a base when sophomore Chris Wychock grounded out. Stifler’s sacrifice fly to right enabled Yarsinsky to score with the Tigers’ fourth run of the game.
After being shut out through five innings, the Tribe staged a rally in the sixth inning. Sophomore Derrick Osteen led off with a walk and scored from first base on an RBI double by senior Tyler Stampone. After allowing an RBI single by Forsten and a pinch hit single by junior Tyler Truxell, Austin was replaced on the mound by junior righthander Zach Umberger. Umberger pitched out of the inning by retiring Stephen Arcure on a pop up.
With their lead cut to 4-2, the Tigers scored two runs in the seventh. With two outs, Matt Collins started the rally with a single to right. After Wychock reached on an infield error, Stifler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Garbrielian delivered a two-run single to right for a 6-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Tribe cut its deficit when Nickle hit a two-run single with two outs. At that point, Squatrito came in to pitch and retired Forsten on a ground ball to first base.
The Tigers added four insurance runs in the ninth inning to make it a 10-4 lead. Wychock led off by reaching base on an infield error and went to second base on a wild pitch. He moved to third base when Stifler grounded out. After an intentional walk to Gabrielian, sophomore Austin Harclerode singled to right, scoring Wychock. Winter followed with a single to right that loaded the bases but Garbrielian came around to score on an error by the rightfielder. An RBI single by Helmick gave Towson a 9-4 lead before Kevin Collins added a run-scoring single to give Towson a 10-4 lead.
Matt Collins led the Tigers’ 13-hit attack by going 3-for-4 while Gabrielian added two hits and three RBI’s.
Towson and William & Mary will play the second game of their series on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.