WILMINGTON, N.C. - The George Mason baseball team started its
weekend series against UNCW holding the hot bat, but it was the Seahawks who
came out swinging after a weather delay as they emerged with the 9-2 win on
Friday afternoon at Brooks Field.
After a week away from the diamond, Mason grabbed the early
momentum with four hits over the first three innings as part of an early lead.
The Seahawks countered with nine unanswered runs, including tallying seven runs
on seven hits in their final two offensive innings. UNCW improved to 34-19
overall and 23-5 in the conference, while with the loss, the Patriots dropped
to 32-21 overall and 15-13 in the CAA.
The Patriots wasted no time jumping out to an early 2-0 lead
in the first inning. With one out, Mason received back-to-back singles from
Tison and Dan
Schafferman to leave runners at first and second. Senior designated hitter Zack Helgeson stepped to the plate and hit a groundout to
third, allowing both runners to advance to scoring position for sophomore third
baseman Blaise Fernandez, who lined a shot down the left field line,
allowing both runs to score.
A one out, RBI double down the left field line by UNCW shortstop Jake Koenig in
the bottom of the second inning cut the Mason lead in half, 2-1, before the
Seahawks tied the game at 2-2 in the home half of the fifth inning, as third
baseman Matt Campbell led off with a double and came home on an RBI double to
left field by outfielder Tyler Molinaro.
Mason had runners on first and second with two outs in the
top half of the seventh inning before the game was suspended due to lightning
at 8:11 pm Thursday, resuming on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm.
After the nearly 19-hour stoppage, a pair of costly errors
in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Seahawks their first lead of the
game, 4-2. UNCW second baseman Michael Bass led off the inning with a single
through the left side, stole second and advanced to third on an error by
Patriots' Tison which also allowed Campbell to reach safely. Molinaro singled to
second, but his hit caromed off of Campbell on the basepath as he was called
out on interference and Bass was forced to return to third base, leaving
runners at the corners.
Another Mason error allowed the Seahawks to grab a 3-2 lead,
as outfielder Andrew Cain hit a grounder to Mason pitcher Jake Kalish who
picked up the ball and attempted to go to second to start a double play, but
his throw was offline, allowing the run to score. The final UNCW run in the inning crossed the
plate as first baseman Hunter Ridge hit a sacrifice fly to shallow left center
to put the Seahawks up, 4-2.
UNCW added five more runs in the home half of the eighth with
an RBI double by Bass, a pair of RBI singles by Campbell and Molinaro and a
two-run home run to left from outfielder Andrew Cain for a 9-2 lead.
Kalish (5-2) took the loss for Mason, working 1.1 innings
and giving up seven runs (five earned) on seven hits. Starter Anthony
Montefusco was earned a no- decision after throwing four innings with four
hits, one earned run, two walks and two strikeouts. Branden Bartlett relieved Montefusco,
throwing two innings and giving up one earned run on two hits before exiting
during the weather delay with the game tied at 2-2.
Tison was the lone Patriot to record more than one hit in
the game, going 3-for-4 with one run scored. Fernandez drove in both Mason runs
with a 1-for-3 performance at the plate.
UNCW reliever Kelly Secrest improved to 4-2 after working
three innings and holding the Patriots hitless. Starter Tyler McSwain threw the
opening six innings for the Seahawks, allowing two earned runs on six hits
while striking out two.
Molinaro paced the UNCW offense with a 3-for-4, two RBI
performance at the plate, while Campbell finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and Cain
went 1-for-5 with three RBI's.