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Game of the Week 10/22
(Photo by George Mason Athletics)
Baseball Flies Past Temple, 19-4
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 03/07/2012

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FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason baseball team belted 18 hits and drew nine walks as it muscled past Temple, 20-4, on Wednesday afternoon at Spuhler Field.

Mason (8-4) took advantage of errant Temple pitching to rack up season-highs in runs (20) and walks (9), while tying its season-high with 18 hits and batting around in two innings (1st and 3rd).

Temple took a 1-0 lead after its half of the first inning, but the Patriots struck for eight runs of their own in the bottom half to assume control of the contest.

Owls starting pitcher Brant Norlander walked his first two batters faced, putting second baseman Chris Cook and shortstop Brig Tison on base. Outfielder Dan Schafferman stepped to the plate and drilled an RBI single to right center, scoring Cook. Designated hitter Zack Helgeson then walked to load the bases and the next run crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Norlander to give Mason a 2-1 advantage.

Outfielder Josh Leemhuis followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to bring in Schafferman before third baseman Blaise Fernandez added an RBI single of his own, bringing the score to 4-1. Norlander walked Foley to leave runners on first and second before he was relieved by Eric Peterson.

Peterson walked his first batter faced to load the bases for outfielder Nick Allen, who blasted a two-RBI hit up the middle. Back at the top of the order, Cook flied out to left field before Tison came up with a two-RBI single to left field, scoring the final Mason runs of the inning to give the Patriots an 8-1 edge.

Mason added two more runs in the bottom of the second as freshman catcher Ray Toto drilled a one out, bases loaded two-RBI single to left center, extending the lead to 10-3.

Temple added two runs in its half of the third inning, but not to be outdone the Patriots batted around once more while driving in eight runs to go ahead, 18-3 in their half of the inning. Similar to Mason's first inning explosion, the third inning saw the first to Mason batters reach on walks. Helgeson doubled down the left field line to score a run, with one more run crossing the plate on a throwing error by Temple second baseman Foster Dunigan. With two runners on base Fernandez hit his first triple of the season to deep right center, driving in two runs to put Mason up, 14-3. The final four runs came with one out on RBI doubles from first baseman Mick Foley and Allen and an RBI sacrifice fly to left field from Schafferman, stretching the Mason lead to 17-3.

The Patriots added a run each in the seventh and eighth innings as they cruised to the 20-4 non-conference win.

The Mason offense featured eight of the nine starters registering hits, while all nine accounted for a least one run scored. Fernandez finished the day 4-for-6 at the plate with three RBI's and three runs scored, Allen was 3-for-5 with three RBI's and two runs scored, and Schafferman went 1-for-2 with three RBI's and two runs scored.

Junior Brandon Kuter (1-0) earned the win, going 3.0 innings with five hits, three earned runs, one walk and two strikeouts. Redshirt senior Branden Bartlett threw 5.0 innings of relief, giving up six hits and one earned run while striking out two and redshirt sophomore Sean Cabrera closed out the contest, working 1.0 inning with a strikeout.

For Temple, third baseman Steve Nikorak and designated hitter Taylor Juran each went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while right fielder Connor Reilly finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. The other Owl RBI came from designated hitter Elijah Yarborough, who was 1-for-4 at the plate.

Starter Norlander lasted just 0.1 innings and was  straddled with the no decision, giving up six earned runs on two hits and four walks. Peterson took the loss after working 2.2 innings with 10 hits 12 runs (nine earned), four walks and two strikeouts.

Mason opens CAA competition on Friday, hosting Hofstra in a weekend series. Gametime on Friday is slated for 2:30 pm.