MYRTLE BEACH, SC – A three-run homerun from senior Chris Cook in the fifth inning and strong pitching from Anthony Montefusco and Mark Maksimow gave the George Mason baseball team (4-1) a 3-0 shutout victory over Illinois (1-3) in Myrtle Beach, SC on Friday.
With the score tied at zero entering the bottom of the fifth, Mick Foley lined a double to left field with two outs in the inning to reach base. Brandon Gum followed up with a grounder to Illinois’ shortstop and was able to beat out the throw for an infield single. Cook came up in the next at bat and blasted a three-shot over the left field bleachers on the first pitch to put Mason on the board and in the lead, 3-0. The homerun was Cook’s third of the season gives him a team-leading eight RBI.
Montefusco earned his second victory of the season in as many starts, throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out three batters in the process to improve to 2-0 this season with an ERA of zero. Mark Maksimow once again teamed up with Montefusco to close out the contest, throwing the final two innings for his second save of the season. Maksimow allowed one hit, struck out one and walked one batter in his time on the mound.
Illinois was kept off the scoreboard for Mason’s second shutout of the season. The Illini record one hit in each of the first five innings of the ballgame however only managed one hit over the final four to end with six total. Illinois was also caught on the base paths as the Illini was caught stealing second base twice, both times gunned down by catcher Patrick Esposito.
Illinois recorded its sixth hit of the ballgame in the ninth inning in an attempt to come back, however with the man on first Maksimow was able to get Reid Roper to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play that was well executed to seal the victory.
The Patriots complete their schedule at the 15th annual Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach tournament on Saturday, February 22. Mason plays its first game against Wichita St. at 11 a.m. and finishes the weekend in a matchup with UConn at 6 p.m.
Live stats and audio will be available for both games. Head Coach William Brown also has a chance to capture his 900th career victory on Saturday, currently one short of the mark after Friday’s win over Illinois.