Tribe completes improbable rally to clinch CAA baseball tourney title; at UVa. next

William and Mary is back in the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time since 2013 after winning the CAA tourney title Sunday, taking two games against top-seeded UNC Wilmington.

The Tribe drew the fourth seed in reigning College of World Series-champion University of Virginia's regional. Bryant University (47-10) is the No. 2 seed and East Carolina (34-21-1) the No. 3 seed. William and Mary will meet the top-seeded Cavaliers (37-20) 1 p.m. Friday (ESPN3).

Senior outfielder Josh Smith’s grand slam in the bottom of the eighth to left field broke a deadlock at 9 and put the Tribe (29-29) ahead for good Sunday before it added another run and closed out the top of the ninth to secure a 14-9 victory, William and Mary’s first CAA championship since 2001, and an automatic NCAA regional berth.

The second-seeded Tribe, having lost its tourney opener Thursday, needed to two consecutive wins Sunday over the CAA regular season-champion Seahawks (39-17).
Sophomore infielder Cullen Large produced the winning hit for William and Mary in the resumption of the first game, smacking a solo home run deep over the right-center field fence. The Tribe (28-29) trailed 8-1 entering the top of the ninth early Saturday afternoon before rallying to tie it before rain caused a prolonged delay, until 5 p.m. Sunday evening when the 10th inning finally started.

“I went from tears in my eyes in the eighth inning yesterday, thinking my career was about to end,” Smith told CAA TV, “to this feeling right here, which is pure elation. It’s been the biggest roller coaster of emotion, but I couldn’t ask for anything else.”

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