FAIRFAX, Va. – Big two-out run production in the sixth
inning capped a Mason baseball comeback, as the Patriots earned the weekend
series over Fairfield with a 7-4 win on Sunday afternoon at Spuhler Field.
Mason claimed the non-conference weekend series and improved to 6-4
overall, while Fairfield dropped to 3-3.
It was call-and-response offensive scoring in the second and
third innings, as the Patriots answered each time Fairfield put runs on the
scoreboard. For Fairfield, Ryan Plourde and Jack Giannini singled to start the third and
advanced to scoring position with a sacrifice bunt from Mike Bennett. Both
runners crossed home plate as designated hitter Billy Zolga tripled to deep
left center, putting the Stags up, 2-0.
Mason responded in the home half of the second to cut into
the lead. A leadoff single by junior Blaise Fernandez and an RBI double from
freshman Derek Evans that found the gap in right center brought Fernandez home
to leave the scoreboard at 2-1.
Fairfield added two more runs with no outs in the third to
go up 4-1 before Kalish got the final three Stags of the inning to pop out, but
again the Patriots countered with two runs of their own in the bottom half. Senior
Nick Allen led off with a single and scored all the way from first on a deep
double to right center by sophomore Tommy Vitaletti. Senior Duncan Satherlie
then singled to leave runners at the corners before junior Tucker Tobin
grounded out and Fernandez was intentionally walked to load the bases. The
final Mason run came in as junior Anthony Montefusco was hit by a pitch to earn
the painful RBI and pull the Patriots back to within a run, 4-3.
Both starting pitchers settled down in the middle innings, as
Jake Kalish set down 12 of his final 13 batters faced, including 10 in a row
beginning in the third, before he was replaced by freshman Mark Maksimow in the
Fairfield starter Jeremy Soule retired the side in the
fourth and fifth innings but ran into trouble in the sixth, when Mason grabbed
the lead for good. Big two-out run production fueled the Patriots in the sixth,
as Evans drilled a single up the middle and junior Mick Foley found a gap in
left center for a bases-clearing triple to tie the game at 4-4. Freshman
Brandon Gum then stepped to the plate and delivered an RBI single up the middle
to put Mason ahead for the first time in the game, 5-4.
Two insurance runs came home in the eighth on an RBI triple
from Fernandez and a sacrifice fly by Montefusco for the final 7-4 margin.
Kalish earned his first win of the season in his third
start, going 6.0 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with
six strikeouts. Maksimow threw 2.0 innings of relief with one hit and one
strikeout, and Taylor Hunt picked up his first save as a Patriot with one
strikeout in the ninth.
Fernandez finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs
scored, and Vitaletti and Evans both went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Soule took the loss after 5.2 innings of work, giving up
five runs on nine hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. LoPinto and
Giannini were the only multiple-hit players for the Stags with 2-for-4
The Patriots return to action on Tuesday, traveling to face
former CAA foe VCU on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.