FAIRFAX, Va. - Matching strong starting pitching from A.J. Johnson and a
six-run outburst in the fifth inning, the George Mason baseball team captured
an 8-2 victory over William and Mary in the two teams' Colonial Athletic
Association series finale on Sunday afternoon at Spuhler Field.
In a game that was delayed from
Saturday due to weather, the Patriots (15-10, 4-5 CAA) captured the series over
the Tribe (16-10, 5-4) after the teams split their Friday doubleheader.
Johnson (2-4) tossed a season-high seven innings, allowing
two runs while scattering nine hits while striking out six to earn his second
victory of the season. The first of six Tribe pitchers on the day, Matt Wainman
(2-3) allowed the first six runs in 4.1 innings of work to take the loss. Jake
Kalish pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Patriots, allowing three
hits and one walk while striking out two.
Mason opened the scoreboard in the first, as Chris Cook led
off the Patriot offense with a double to left. He advanced 90 feet on a Wainman
wild pitch and on Dan Schafferman's sacrifice fly to center field, Cook crossed
the plate to put Mason up, 1-0. Two
batters later, Anthony Montefusco lined a double to right-center, allowing Brig
Tison, the Patriots' second batter, to score after being issued a walk.
The Tribe response came in the top of the third inning, as
W&M posted four consecutive hits after Jackson Shaver led off with a
lineout to center. Kevin Nutter blasted a double over the third base bag in
fair territory, and came home to score after Ryan Lindemuth's base hit got past
the shortstop Tison. With the bases loaded after a Chris Forsten single, a wild
pitch advanced each runner one base and allowed Ryan Brown to score, tying the
game at two-all. A strikeout and a groundout ended the Tribe threat in the
third to limit the damage.
Wainman held the Patriot bats at bay for nine consecutive
batters, as Jake Leonardo's one-out single in the second was the only Mason hit,
spanning three-plus innings. Cook started the barrage of Patriot baserunners in
the bottom of the fifth with a double down the left field line, and Tison
brought his teammate in from second with a single up the middle. The bases were
loaded after Schafferman walked and Zack Helgeson was struck by a pitch, which
brought about the end of Wainman's outing.
Reliever Jay McCarthy retired Montefusco on strikes but then
issued a bases-loaded free pass to Blaise Fernandez and hit Josh Leemhuis. With
three runs already home and the bases still loaded, Jake Leonardo delivered
with a double to right center field, emptying the bases and making the score
8-2. McCarthy was lifted and reliever
John Sheehan again loaded the bases, but a lineout by Tison on his second trip
to the plate in the fifth ended the inning.
Both teams managed just two hits apiece over the next two
innings, but in the eighth, the Tribe found their best chance to cut into the
deficit. With no outs and runners at every base, Kalish got a pair of swinging
strikeouts and retired the side on a forceout at second, though, to end the
Brown led off the top of the ninth with a bunt single, but a
5-4-3 double play turned by the Patriots eliminated the runner, and Forsten
flied out to right to seal Mason's victory.
Cook, Montefusco and Leonardo each recorded two-hit games
for Mason, while Brown's 4-for-5 day paced the Tribe offense, which recorded 12
hits compared to eight for the Patriots.
Mason will step out of home conference play on Wednesday,
traveling to Rider for a 3 p.m. tilt before returning back to Fairfax next
weekend, hosting Georgia State in a three-game CAA set beginning Friday at 3