FAIRFAX, Va. – Led by a complete game performance from Jared Gaynor and nine combined runs over the third and fourth innings, including a grand slam by Tommy Vitaletti, the George Mason baseball team slugged its way past JMU on Friday afternoon at Spuhler Field, 11-2.
In the first game of the CAA weekend series, the Patriots registered its 11 runs on 12 hits and improved to 11-10 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Gaynor recorded his first complete game at Mason, scattering seven hits, allowing two runs (one earned) with a walk and five strikeouts to even his record at 2-2. JMU dropped to 11-9 and 4-2 in the CAA.
The Dukes struck first, as Bobby San Martin was hit by a pitch before coming home on a double to deep left by Johnny Bladel to put JMU up 1-0 in the top of the third.
Mason answered in the home half of the inning to take the lead for good, 5-1. Two consecutive one out walks put runners on for the Patriots before Vitaletti and Duncan Sathelrie connected on back-to-back RBI singles, putting the Patriots ahead, 2-1. Tucker Tobin was then hit by a pitch and Blaise Fernandez delivered a hard-hit single to the shortstop that took an odd hop in front of JMU’s Tyler Duke before it bounced into right field, allowing two more runs to score and extending the Mason lead, 4-1. The final run of the inning came as Anthony Montefusco reached on a fielder’s choice that brought Tobin home for the 5-1 advantage.
Leadoff hits by Mick Foley and Brandon Gum brought JMU starter Patrick Toohers day to an end the top of the fourth. Mark Gunst came on in relief and walked Andrew Sable to load the bases for Vitaletti who drilled the ball over the left field wall for his first collegiate grand slam and second home run of the season, padding the Mason lead, 9-1.
JMU added a run in the top of the sixth as a runner scored on a passed ball, but the Patriots tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning off an RBI single from Tobin and a fielding error on JMU shortstop Tyler Duke for the final 11-2 margin.
Vitaletti finished the day 3-for-5 with five RBI’s and three runs scored, while Fernandez also went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s.
Toohers took the loss for JMU, dropping to 2-3 overall after working 3.0 innings and giving up seven runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Gunst closed out the game for the Dukes, throwing 5.0 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Just one JMU player recorded a multi-hit performance, with Bladel going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Patriots and Dukes square off again tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. from Spuhler Field. John Williams will get the start for Mason, and JMU will counter with Luke Drayer.