The George Mason baseball team once again got spectacular starting pitching and this time, they had enough runs to take home a win as the Patriots beat the Georgia State Panthers, 5-3 on Friday night. With the win, the Patriots denied the Panthers a spot in the CAA Tournament, at least for one more day.
Mason got five strong innings from A.J. Johnson who improved to 4-5 and Chris O'Grady pitched four scoreless innings to pick up his first career save as Mason kept the Panthers from picking up their 17th CAA win of the year. Now Georgia State needs to win tomorrow to clinch the final open spot in the CAA Tournament. The Panthers could still get in with a loss, but would need Towson and William & Mary to split the remaining two games in their series.
The Panthers took a 3-0 lead on Mason behind a run in the first and two in the third. In the first, Mark Micowski walked, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Ryan Lind single. In the third, Micowski walked, Shane Hammond singled to put runners on the corners and Mickowski made it 2-0 on a Lind fielder's choice. Lind scored an unearned run in the inning when Chris Cook made an error on Ryan Fleming's grounder to second.
Mason got on the board in the fourth when Shane Davis and Zack Helgeson hit back-to-back singles, went to second and third on a sacrifice bunt and Davis scored on a Nick Allen ground out. After Jake Leonardo was hit by a pitch, Jeremy Haas doubled to make it 3-2. Leonardo was waved home on the play but had to stop at third with a leg injury and the tying run was unable to score.
But Mason took the lead in the sixth as Mick Foley singled, Nick Allen doubled and Jeremy Haas walked to load the bases. Cook singled up the middle to plate two runs and after Brig Tison walked to once again load the bases, Blaise Fernandez walked to make it 5-3. The inning ended when Davis grounded into a double play.
Georgia State threatened in the ninth as Carter Sackett singles and Theo Asher was hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position, Bryan Condotta struck out and Micowski popped up to second as Cook made a falling-down catch to end the game.
The Patriots and Panthers conclude their three-game series on Saturday at 1 p.m. It will be the final game of the season for the Patriots. Brig Tison tied the school record single-season at-bats on Friday and will look to break Robby Jacobsen's seven-year-old school record on Saturday.