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(Photo by George Mason Athletics)
Baseball Extends Winning Streak to Six With 8-6 Win Over Navy
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 04/11/2012

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The George Mason baseball rallied for its sixth-consecutive win, scoring eight unanswered runs to erase an early deficit as the Patriots defeated Navy, 8-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Max Bishop Stadium.

With the game tied at 6-6, Mason grabbed the lead for good with two runs in the eighth inning. Sophomore third baseman Blaise Fernandez led off by earning a walk and after sophomore first baseman Mick Foley popped up, senior catcher Jake Leonardo singled to leave runners on first and second. Navy pitcher Matt Jackson walked junior outfielder Nick Allen on a wild pitch that bounced all the way to the backstop, allowing Fernandez to score and give Mason a 7-6 edge. Adding another run, senior third baseman Brig Tison brought in his third run of the game with a single to right field, extending the lead to 8-6.

Navy jumped out to a 6-0 lead early in the game. First baseman Greg Dupell hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, and drove in another run in the third with a RBI single before the Midshipmen received three more runs. However, it was the final runs of the game for Navy, as the Patriots held the Midshipmen without a hit the rest of the way.

Mason's rally started in the fourth inning, as the Patriots brought in two runs with two outs on the scoreboard. Senior designated hitter Zack Helgeson started the rally with a double down the right field line and advanced to third where he was brought home by an RBI single to right from redshirt sophomore outfielder Josh Leemhuis. Fernandez followed with a double to right center, scoring Leemhuis to leave the scoreboard at 6-2.

Continuing to chip away at the Navy lead, Tison added another run in Mason's half of the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly, bringing the Patriots to within three runs, 6-3.

Mason put together three consecutive hits in the top of the seventh inning to knot the score at 6-6. With one out and runners on second and third, junior second baseman Chris Cook hit a sacrifice fly to left field, Tison followed with an RBI double down the right field line and Helgeson drove in the final Mason run of the inning with an RBI single through the right side, setting up the eighth inning heroics.

Tison paced the Mason offense, adding to his league-best hit total with a 2-for-4, 3 RBI performance. Helgeson was the only other Patriot batter to register multiple hits, going 2-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and one run scored.

Brandon Kuter earned the win in relief after going one inning with a strikeout. Chris O'Grady collected his ninth save of the season, working the ninth inning and striking out two. The duo represented one-quarter of the eight pitchers used by the Patriots to capture the win, a season high.

Dupell led the Navy offense, hitting 2-for-4 with three RBI's and two runs scored. Reliever Jordan Heller took the loss, throwing one inning and giving up two runs on two hits.

The Patriots return to action this weekend, traveling to Boston for a CAA weekend series at Northeastern.