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Game of the Week 9-5-14
(Photo by George Mason Athletics)
Mason Sweeps Season Series Over Richmond with 7-4 Tuesday Win
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 05/01/2012

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FAIRFAX, Va. - Senior designated hitter Zack Helgeson blasted his 11th home run of the season in the fifth inning and the Patriots held off a late Richmond rally as they went on to defeat the Spiders, 7-4, on Tuesday afternoon at Spuhler Field.

With the win Mason swept the season series over Richmond while improving to 31-17 overall. The Spiders fell to 21-20.

Loading the bases with no outs in the home half of the first inning, Mason registered the first run of the game on an RBI groundout by sophomore third baseman Blaise Fernandez to take an early 1-0 lead.  

However, the Spiders responded by loading the bases with two outs in the fourth for  junior first baseman Bret Williams, who lined a two-RBI single up the middle to give Richmond its only lead of the contest, 2-1.

Helgeson's three run blast in the home half of the fifth inning put Mason up for good, as he lined a shot deep to left center to give the Patriots a 4-2 advantage. Mason went on to add three runs in the seventh, as junior outfielder Nick Allen hit a one out triple deep to center field before coming home an an RBI single to left by senior second baseman Brig Tison for a 5-2 advantage. Helgeson was then intentionally walked to leave runners on first and second and after a double steal both runs crossed home plate on a triple by Fernandez to extend the lead, 7-2.

Richmond mounted a rally in the ninth inning, as Williams led off with a home run to right field to pull the Spiders closer, 7-3. The next two Spiders reached on a walk and hit by pitch before Mason closer Chris O'Grady entered the game. O'Grady hit his first batter to load the bases then walked UR outfielder Phil Ruzbarsky, allowing a run to score, but he then settled down as he got his next batter to strike out and his final batter to ground out to secure the final 7-4 margin.   

Fernandez finished the day 1-for-4 at the plate with three RBI's, while Helgeson was 1-for-3 with three RBI's two runs scored and also recorded his first career stolen base.

Sophomore Neight Hoffa (1-2) earned his first win of the season in relief, working two innings and giving up just one hit with three strikeouts. Freshman starter John Williams threw four innings, surrendering two earned runs on three hits with a strikeout, while senior Branden Bartlett threw the seventh and eighth innings and faced four batters in the ninth before succumbing to O'Grady. Bartlett finished the day giving up three hits, two earned runs and struck out three. O'Grady struck out one for his 14th save of the season, tying the Mason single-season record for saves.

Williams led the Spiders with a 2-for-4, three RBI showing at the plate. Starter Ryan Cook (3-2) took the loss, throwing 4.2 innings and giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits with six strikeouts.

The Patriots return to action tomorrow, hosting Maryland at 3:00 pm. It's the Game of the Week, and all Mason students in attendance will receive free Washington Nationals tickets with a valid Mason student ID.


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