FAIRFAX, Va. – The George Mason baseball team (8-3) concluded its first home series of the season with a 4-3 loss in 12 innings to the Hartford Hawks (1-5) at Spuhler Field on Sunday afternoon.
Hartford’s Brady Sheetz and Ryan Luckach used back-to-back doubles in the top of the 12th inning to give the Hawks the 4-3 lead. Ray Toto knocked a two-out single to centerfield in the bottom of the inning, however Derek Evans would fly out to right field to end the game, bringing Mason’s record to 8-3 this season. Harford picks up its first win of 2014, winning one of three against the Patriots this weekend.
Each side used multiple pitchers to complete the 12-inning contest; the Hawks using five in the victory to Mason’s four. Senior Jared Gaynor ended up taking the hard-fought loss, pitching in relief for the first time this season. The lefty threw the final six innings of the ballgame, allowing one run on four hits and striking out five batters to move his record to 2-2 this season. Hartford’s Sam McKay earned the first win of the season for his team, pitching the final two shutout innings.
Rich McMahon got the start for the Patriots, throwing three innings of shutout ball as he allowed only one hit and struck out one. Mason scored the first runs of the game while McMahon was one the mound, putting up two runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Blaise Fernandez hit a one out triple to the right field corner and was brought home by freshman Jayme Murray in the next at bat after Murray reached on an error by the shortstop, his fourth RBI of the season. A Patrick Esposito walk moved Murray to second and an Evans single brought home Murray for run number two of the game for Mason. Esposito went two for three this afternoon, collecting his first two hits of the season.
After not being able to score all weekend, Hartford finally puts three runs on the board in the fifth inning. After loading the bases, the Hawks’ Sheetz doubled to bring all three runners in for the 3-2 lead. The runs snapped a 27 and two-thirds innings scoreless streak by the Mason pitching staff, dating back to Wednesday’s game vs. Longwood. All three runs were charged to Neight Hoffa, who pitched 1.2 innings, allowing all three runs on three hits while walking two batters.
The lead wouldn’t last for long, as Luke Willis and Tucker Tobin teamed up for doubles to centerfield in the bottom of the inning to knot the score at three apiece. Both teams would stay off the board until Hartford grabbed the final lead of the game in the 12th inning.
Taylor Hunt relieved Hoffa after three runs scored in the fifth inning, throwing one and one thirds innings of scoreless baseball, allowing one hit and striking out one. Gaynor pitched the final six innings of the afternoon. Mason’s team ERA through 11 games this season is a low 1.50, holding opponents to 32 runs scored.
The scheduled game for the Patriots is on Wednesday when Towson comes to Spuhler Field for a 2:30 p.m. matchup. With inclement weather on the way, check back at GoMason.com for the latest schedule updates.