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
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
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.