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(Photo by George Mason Athletics)
Baseball Holds Off George Washington, 5-4
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 03/21/2012

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FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason baseball team took an early lead and thwarted a late George Washington rally as the Patriots beat the Colonials, 5-4, on Wednesday afternoon at Spuhler Field.

Mason (13-9) wasted no time taking the lead, as it assumed the lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, seniors Brig Tison and Dan Schafferman hit consecutive singles to leave runners on first and second. After a strikeout by senior designated hitter Zack Helgeson, redshirt sophomore outfielder Josh Leemhuis hit a line drive through the right side. The GW defense attempted to throw out Tison at home on the Leemhuis hit but the ball got away from catcher Jimmy Best, allowing both Tison and Schafferman to score for a 2-0 advantage.

The Colonials (6-14) registered a run in the top of the third inning, but Mason added two runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead, 4-1. Leemhuis led off the inning with a triple and crossed home plate on a hard-hit single up the middle by sophomore outfielder Blaise Fernandez. Sophomore first baseman Mick Foley was hit by a pitch, and both Fernandez and Foley advanced a base after a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Ray Toto. Sophomore Jordan Hill followed with a sacrifice fly to score Fernandez for the final Patriot run of the inning.

Helgeson hit his conference-leading ninth home run of the season deep to left field in the bottom of the seventh, pushing the Mason lead to 5-1 before GW registered three runs in the top of the eighth inning to pull to within a run, 5-4. With the bases loaded and two out GW outfielder Tyler McCarthy walked, bringing in a run. After a Mason pitching change, outfielder Ryan Hickey singled to left field, bringing in two runs and leaving runners on first and second. However, Patriot relief pitcher Neight Hoffa got GW shortstop Matthew Murakami to fly out to end the inning and the Colonial rally.

Freshman John Williams threw his longest start of the season, going 7.0 innings and scattering six hits with one run, two walks and seven strikeouts. Redshirt sophomore Sean Cabrera (0.2 IP, 2H, 3R, 2BB, 1K) and Hoffa (0.1 IP, 1H) each threw in relief, and sophomore Jake Kalish earned his third save after pitching the ninth inning and giving up one hit while striking out one.

Leemhuis finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate with one run scored and one RBI, while Helgeson extended his on-base streak to 15 games with a 2-for-4, one run, one RBI performance.

GW starter J.T. Wauford took the loss, working 6.0 innings with four hits, three runs (one earned), one walk and five strikeouts.

Hickey was the top performer at the plate for GW, hitting 2-for-4 with two RBI's.

The Patriots return to action on Friday, hosting the Tribe of William & Mary in a CAA weekend series.


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