PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Mason baseball team came out swinging and built an early 7-0 lead over the first three innings as it cruised past Temple, 9-5, on Wednesday afternoon from Skip Wilson Field.
The win improved the Patriots to 14-29 overall, while Tanner Love evened his season record at 1-1 with a strong six-plus inning performance. Temple dropped to 15-21 on the season, and starter Preston Hill slid to 0-2 after allowing four runs on six hits in just two innings of work.
Mason started strong out of the gates as Josh Leemhuis continued his hot hitting, sending the first pitch of the game over the wall in left field to put the Patriots up, 1-0.
In a busy second inning, Mason added to its lead with three runs to go up, 4-0. Tommy Vitaletti and Patrick Esposito led off the inning with back-to-back singles to leave runners on the corners. One out later, Brandon Gum laid down a suicide squeeze to bring in Vitaletti for the first run. Leemhuis was then hit by a pitch to load the bases before Derek Evans reached on a fielder’s choice that caught Esposito out at home, but Blaise Fernandez followed with a double to left that brought in the final two Mason runs of the inning.
The Patriots capitalized on an error-filled top of the third from Temple. Facing new pitcher Matt Hockenberry, Tucker Tobin started the inning with a double to left, advanced to third on an infield single by Vitaletti and scored on a single by Esposito to put the Mason lead at 5-0. Two outs later Leemhuis singled to left and was able to advance all the way to third on an error by the Owls’ pitcher that also allowed Vitaletti and Esposito to score and build on the lead, 7-0.
Mason tacked on another run in the top of the seventh off of a sacrifice fly from Esposito for an 8-0 advantage before Temple finally got on the board with a two-run home run by Elijah Yarborough to leave the scoreboard at 8-2.
Each team added a run in the eighth, and the Owls attempted a rally in the ninth putting two runs on the board, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the early lead Mason built as the Patriots snapped their losing streak with the 9-5 win.
Mason put 13 hits on the board, led by a 3-for-4, three RBI performance from Leemhuis, a 3-for-5, three RBI showing by Fernandez and a 2-for-4, two RBI day from Esposito. Love worked 6.1 innings, scattering six hits and allowing just one run with one walk and eight strikeouts. Mark Maksimow closed out the game, throwing the final 2.2 innings and giving up four runs on seven hits.
Yarborough led the Temple offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBI’s.
The Patriots return to CAA action this weekend, traveling to face William and Mary in Williamsburg.