SPARTANBURG, SC – The George Mason baseball team (3-0) set a new team record with 10 doubles as the Patriots went on to defeat the Morehead St. Eagles (0-3) for the second time this weekend, 22-5, to close out their three-game road trip in Spartanburg, SC to start the 2014 season.
10 different Patriots recorded hits in the ballgame, seven players getting at least two for a total of 26. Senior Josh Leemhuis led the way with a perfect 5-5 day at the plate that included three singles, two doubles and a walk. Leemhuis was part of a group of players that set a new single-game doubles record, as Chris Cook (2), Blaise Fernandez (2), Luke Willis (2), Derek Evans (1), Tucker Tobin (1), Ray Toto (1) and Leemhuis (2) combined for 10 in the contest. Mason’s 26 hits falls two shy of tying the single-game program record of 28 set in 1997 vs. Holy Cross.
Willis joined the Patriot single-game record book for a second time in the ninth inning when he made his seventh at bat of the evening. His three-for-seven performance at the plate with three RBI ties him with Fernandez among many others as Patriots to have seven at bats in a ball game. The 22 runs scored as a team are the highest since the 2010 season opener where Mason put up 25 on Northwestern.
For the third straight game the Patriots scored the first runs of the game, scoring four in the first and four in the second to jump out to and 8-0 lead after two. Mason scored in six of the nine innings in the game, including a season-high nine runs in the seventh inning where the team batted around the order. The Patriots have scored a total of 43 runs in the first three contests of the season while allowing nine.
As a squad, the Patriots went 17-31 with runners in scoring position against Morehead St. on Sunday, bringing the season average up to .452, 28-62 in three games. Tobin connected on four different occasions with runners in scoring position, ending the day four for five at the plate and bringing home six runs before being pulled out of the game in the seventh inning.
Making his first career collegiate start on the mound, freshman Jayme Murray threw the first two innings of the ballgame as Mason used a team of four to solidify the victory. Fellow freshman Tyler Zombro replaced Murray in the third and was credited for the win after pitching three innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out one.
Evan Porcella relieved Zombro for another three innings of work, striking out four Eagles in the process. Redshirt senior Rich McMahon made his first appearance for Mason since the 2012 season to throw a perfect ninth inning and end the three hour and twenty six-minute ballgame. Willie Sligh, starting pitcher for the Eagles, was chased after one inning of work after being credited with six earned runs in taking the loss.
The Patriots spend the next two days in Fairfax before heading back to South Carolina for another weekend series. Mason starts with a 4:00 p.m. contest with Coastal Carolina and also plays Illinois, Wichita State and the University of Connecticut during the four-day stay in Myrtle Beach, SC.