The Tribe's 4-2 win over Ole Miss on Friday afternoon at North Carolina State's Doak Field was the program's first NCAA tournament victory in three tries and set a school record for most wins with an overall record of 38-22.
The Colonial Athletic Association member also did it at the expense of one of the big-boy conferences, the SEC. But William and Mary coach Jamie Pinzino was quick to push history to a later date.
"We're proud of our guys and what we've accomplished," Pinzano said. "We'll feel good about it in the offseason, but hopefully we get a chance to continue play. Our guys realize it's not time to talk about records. We have another big game to play. If we go into mode of thinking we're conquering heroes, we're not going to get very far."
The Tribe advanced to the second day of the double-elimination tournament. W&M plays 7 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Friday's nightcap between Binghamton and No. 9-ranked North Carolina State.
Ole Miss' strategy to save ace Bobby Wahl — a projected MLB first-round draft pick — for the second game blew up in the top of the fifth inning. Starting pitcher Mike Mayer (5-6) hurt himself with four walks, but third baseman Andrew Mistone, a second-team All-SEC choice as a .316 hitter, also let him down with two fielding errors. The Tribe scored four unearned runs without a hit in the fifth inning.
Senior right-fielder Derek Lowe reached first base with one out on Mistone's first error. Mayers followed by issuing a walk, coaxing a ground-ball out and then three straight walks. Lowe trotted home after a walk to Ryan Lindemuth with the first run and Ryan Brown touched home plate following a pass to Ryan Hissey. Then J.J. Sarty's grounder to third went under Mistone's glove into left field for his second error as Katz and Lindemuth scored.
In William and Mary's previous NCAA tournament trips, the Tribe lost both games in 1983 and their most recent NCAA appearance in 2001. But Pinzino added tournament experience didn't concern him. He pointed to the depth of the CAA with three teams earning bids — Towson as the conference tournament champion and William and Mary and UNC Wilmington with at-large bids. Ole Miss was playing in its making its 12th NCAA trip in the past 14 years.
"I don't think it matters that much when you get in this situation," Pinzino said. "When you get to the regionals, it's two really good teams and the game are decided by the smallest of margins."
Ole Miss veteran coach Mike Bianco took umbrage at a question wondering if his team overlooked William and Mary.
"We respected them," Bianco said. "We talked about them in length over the last couple days. We just didn't play very well."