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Fernandez' Two-Out Bases-Loaded Ninth-Inning Double Gives Baseball a 10-9 Win
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 04/30/2011

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Freshman third baseman Blaise Fernandez didn't just tie a school record with his third double of the game on Saturday afternoon, he also gave the Patriots a dramatic 10-9 win over Towson as Fernandez' hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth rallied George Mason baseball team from a one-run deficit to beat the Tigers to even their three-game series at 1-1.

Fernandez, who popped up earlier in the game with the bases loaded and two outs, drove a 2-1 fastball to left-center and over the outstretched arm of a diving Brian Wyman to bring home Jordan Hill with the tying run and Brig Tison with the game-winning run. For the Patriots (18-27-1, 5-18 CAA) it was the first time this year in 21 games that the Patriots have won when trailing after eight innings. Also in the game, Tison had a pair of hits to push his hitting streak to 25 straight, tying Eddie Jordan's school record set in 2000.

Towson (19-21-1, 10-10) took a second-inning lead when Andrew Parker doubled, went to third on a Steve Rice sacrifice bunt and scored on a Chris Wychock sacrifice fly. Mason answered in the bottom of the inning when Shane Davis doubled and Zack Helgeson followed with his 13th homer to put the Patriots ahead, 2-1.

In the third, Brandon Gonnella singled, took second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Nick Natoli single to make it 2-2. But the Patriots came back to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning. Dan Schafferman drew a one-out walk, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Fernandez double. Fernandez came home to score on a Shane Davis single to make it 4-2. Davis went to second on an error in left by Dominic Fratantuono and scored on a Nick Allen single to give the Patriots a three-run lead.

In the fifth, Natoli reached on a fielder's choice and with two outs, Pat Fitzgerald walked and Austin Harclerode singled to make it 5-3. A double by Parker tied the game and Rice followed with a home run to give Towson the 7-5 advantage. They added a run in the sixth when Gonnella walked with one out, stole second, and scored on a Natoli single.

The Patriots had stranded the bases loaded in the fifth after reliever Spencer Patton walked the bases loaded but Mason didn't waste its chance in the sixth. Chris Cook doubled, and after Schafferman walked with two outs, Blaise Fernandez doubled to make it 8-6. In the seventh, Helgeson led off with a single, pinch hitter Mick Foley drew a one-out walk and Hill singled to load the bases. Cook was hit by a pitch to make it a one-run game and Tison's sacrifice fly tied the score at 8-8.

In the eighth, Wychock led off with a single to center, and with Ben Winter preparing to sacrifice bunt, Wychock found himself picked off. But Chris O'Grady 's throw behind the runner was wild and Wychock went first-to-third on the play and scored on a Winter infield single to give Towson a 9-8 lead. Mason got a leadoff single in the ninth but Jordan Hill 's sacrifice bunt attempt erased the lead runner. After Cook flew out to center, Tison doubled and Schafferman was intentionally walked to load the bases for Fernandez.

The Patriots and Tigers conclude their series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Prior to the game the Patriots will celebrate Alumni Day by honoring the 1976 NAIA World Series Team.