|Baseball Shuts Down Maryland to Capture Season Sweep|
FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason bullpen combined to limit the University of Maryland to one hit over the final five-and-two-thirds innings, and the Patriots' early lead held up as Mason topped the Terrapins, 5-3, on Wednesday afternoon at Spuhler Field.
With the win, Mason swept the season series with the Terps and improved to 32-17 on the season, while Maryland dropped to 29-20.
Mason jumped on the Terps in the home half of the first inning, scoring three runs with two outs showing on the scoreboard to take an early lead. Putting runners on second and third with two outs, Mason stayed alive as sophomore designated hitter Blaise Fernandez hit a grounder to Maryland third baseman KJ Hockaday who mishandled the ball, allowing Fernandez to reach and a run to score from third. The next batter, sophomore outfielder Josh Leemhuis, hit an RBI single to drive in another run and junior second baseman Chris Cook followed with a single to load the bases. The final Mason run of the inning came on a wild pitch by Maryland starter Sander Beck, allowing Fernandez to score from third for a 3-0 Patriot lead.
Padding the lead in the second, senior outfielder Dan Schafferman hit a one-out sacrifice fly to deep left center to extend the lead to 4-0.
Maryland ended the shutout in the fourth, scoring three runs to cut the Mason lead to 4-3. Patriot starter Brandon Kuter walked his first two batters faced before giving up an RBI single to Maryland first baseman Tomo Delp. Kuter got his next batter faced to strikeout, but shortstop Ryan Holland singled to right to bring in another Terps run to end Kuter's day.
Senior Jake Kleine entered the game for Mason, only to see his first batter faced reach on an error that also allowed a run to score to pull the Terps to within one run, 4-3 before Kleine shut down his next two batters to preserve the lead.
Fernandez gave the Patriots an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth, hitting a sacrifice fly to right for the final 5-3 margin.
Kleine (1-0) earned his first career win at Mason after working 2.2 innings of relief, striking out two while only giving up one hit. Kuter threw 3.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on two hits with two strikeouts. Junior Kevin Lingerman and sophomore Sean Cabrera combined to hold the Terps hitless over the final three innings, with Cabrera taking home the first save of his career at Mason.
Beck fell to 5-2 on the season, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts. Holland was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
With their midweek schedule completed, the Patriots return to action this weekend at Spuhler Field, hosting Delaware in its final home CAA series. Friday will be the Mason Game of the Week, and all students in attendance will receive a mini bat with valid student ID, and on Sunday the team will take a moment to honors its seniors during a pre-game ceremony.