FAIRFAX, Va. – Using a big four run eighth inning, the George Mason baseball team capitalized on costly Towson errors and rallied from a 2-0 deficit to best the Tigers, 4-2, on Saturday afternoon at Spuhler Field.
The Patriots outhit the Tigers 11-6 on the day, backing strong pitching performances by Anthony Montefusco and Mark Maksimow to improve to 13-22 overall and 5-12 in the CAA. Maksimow (3-1) picked up the win in relief, while Towson starter Paul Beers (0-4) was saddled with the loss as the team dropped to 18-17 overall and 8-6 in the conference.
Towson dented the scoreboard first in the top of the sixth as Dominic Fratantuono led off with a single to right and scored after Kurt Wertz hit a home run that stayed just fair down the left field line to give the Tigers a 2-0 advantage.
Mason put runners on base in each inning but the second, finally capitalizing in the bottom of the eighth. Josh Leemhuis reached on a throwing error by Towson third baseman Zach Fisher to lead off the inning, Derek Evans singled to left and one out later Tucker Tobin reached on a fielding error by first baseman Brendan Butler to load the bases. Montefusco then stepped to the plate and singled to right field, bringing in one run to cut the Towson advantage in half, 2-1.
Montefusco was the final batter Towson starter Beers faced, as he was replaced by Nick Cioffi who got his first batter faced to pop out. However, the next at-bat saw Patrick Esposito deliver a two-RBI single to right field to give the Patriots their first lead of the series, 3-2. Jordan Hill then walked to load the bases and Brandon Gum worked the count full before earning the second consecutive walk by Cioffi to push in another run for the final 4-2 margin, snapping a 10 game skid by the Patriots.
Montefusco worked 6.0 innings, scattering four hits and allowing two runs with four walks and four strikeouts. Maksimow threw the final 3.0 innings, not allowing a run and giving up just two hits with four strikeouts for his third win of the season.
Evans finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate, while Montefusco went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Esposito went 1-for-4 with two RBI’s.
Beers threw 7.1 innings for the Tigers, giving up four runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts, and Cioffi worked 0.2 innings with a hit and two walks. Wertz registered the two RBI’s for the Tigers with a 1-for-4 showing at the plate, and Fisher finished as the only Towson player with a multi-hit performance after going 2-for-4.
The rubber match of the series is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon from Spuhler Field.