FAIRFAX, Va. - George Mason senior pitcher A.J. Johnson
threw seven strong innings and paired with junior closer Chris O'Grady to
retire the final 12 Georgia State batters faced as the Patriots topped the
Panthers, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at Spuhler Field.
Johnson (3-4) scattered four hits and gave up just one run
over his seven innings, striking out two and retiring his final six batters. O'Grady
earned his sixth save of the season in two innings of relief, striking out
three, including two in the top half of the ninth inning.
With the win, Mason (18-11, 6-6 CAA) claimed its first
series over Georgia State (13-16, 5-4 CAA) since the 2008 season.
Striking first in the home half of the fourth inning, Mason
loaded the bases with no outs for redshirt sophomore outfielder Josh Leemhuis who ripped an RBI single up the middle, scoring one run. However, the Patriots
were unable to take advantage of the continued bases-loaded situation as senior
catcher Jake Leonardo struck out looking and junior outfielder Nick Allen
grounded into a double play to end the inning.
For the second-consecutive inning, the Patriots loaded the
bases with no outs in the fifth. GSU starter Max Schmitz loaded the bases to
start the inning and was quickly replaced by Tyler Claburn, who got his first
batter faced, senior designated hitter Zack Helgeson, to ground in to a double
play that scored a Mason runner from third. Sophomore first baseman Mick Foley
then earned a walk to leave runners at the corners, and the Patriots registered
their final run of the inning on a wild pitch by Claburn, extending the lead to
The Panthers chipped away at the Mason lead, registering a
single run in the top of the sixth inning, but it was all the offense they were
able to generate the rest of the way as they dropped the season series.
Helgeson extended his on-base streak to 22 games with a
2-for-4 performance at the plate, Leemhuis recorded the lone Mason RBI (1-for3) while extending his career-high
eight-game hitting streak, and Foley went 2-for-3.
Schmitz (2-3) took the loss in 4.0 innings of work, giving
up three runs on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Outfielder
Jonathan Kolowich brought home the lone Panther run (0-for-4), and first
baseman Brandon Williams finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate.
The Patriots return to action on Tuesday, traveling to face
Maryland at 6:00 pm.