MYRTLE BEACH, SC – After a hustle play to first base by Luke Willis brought in the winning run in the top of the 13th inning, freshman Tyler Zombro closed out the game to give the George Mason baseball team (5-1) a 5-4 win over Wichita St. (4-2) as head coach Bill Brown collected his 900th career victory in the win on Saturday morning.
With two outs in the top of the 13th inning and shortstop Brandon Gum on third base, Willis grounded a 3-2 pitch to shortstop Wes Phillips of Wichita St. Phillips fielded the two-hopper and threw over to first in an attempt to end the inning, but the speed of Willis allowed him to reach base before the throw. Gum came home from third in what would be the deciding run in the 3 hour and 56 minute ballgame.
Zombro made his second appearance of the season in the bottom of the 13th and was able to get all three batters to fly out; one to center field, one pop-up to third base and the final out being a fly ball to left field. Zombro picked up his first save of the season, clinching Brown’s 900th career victory, all coming in a George Mason uniform.
Relief pitcher Riley Coverdale earned the victory after pitching the two innings prior to Zombro. RHP John Williams got the start for Mason, going six innings and allowing five hits, one earned run and striking out two in a no-decision. Evan Porcella pitched in relief of Williams, throwing four innings of five-hit ball.
The Patriots scored the first runs off the ballgame with three consecutive singles from Tucker Tobin, Blaise Fernandez and Anthony Montefusco to take an early 2-0 lead. The Shockers tied the ballgame in the bottom of the first with a Mason error, a single and a double.
Two more runs were put on the board by Mason in the second. Mick Foley led off the inning with a walk which was followed up by a single from Gum, A Josh Leemhuis single later in the inning loaded the bases, followed by Willis getting hit by a pitch to bring the third run of the game. A sacrifice fly from Tobin in the next at-bat made it 4-2. The four quick runs chased Freshman All-American Garrett Brummett off the mound after two innings.
The Shockers answered with a run in the third and were kept off the scoreboard until they tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with a single that dropped just fair of the left field line. The Patriots were held scoreless from the third inning until the 12th but came away with the winning run in the 13th.
Nine different Patriots recorded a hit in the ballgame, which scored runs on 11 hits. The Shockers recorded 12 hits and two fielding errors while Mason had four errors in the game. Wichita St. came into the season receiving votes in the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches polls.
Brown records his 900th program win on Saturday, coming a long way from win number one on March 14, 1982in a win at St. Augustine’s. Brown became the all-time leader in baseball coaching victories at Mason with win number 319 vs. Rider on March 31, 1993. Brown is 20th in career victories among active Division 1 coaches.
This evening's game with UConn (1-3) will start later than the scheduled time of 6 p,m. due to the length of Mason's game this morning. An update on a starting time will be announced when known.