FAIRFAX, Va. –
Another strong performance from Anthony Montefusco
coupled with six runs in the first three innings led the George Mason baseball team to a series-opening 6-1 victory over the VCU Rams on Friday afternoon.
An hour and forty eight minute eight rain delay did not affect the Patriots, as they improve to 14-8 this season and 3-1 in the Atlantic 10. VCU snaps an eight-game winning streak and suffers only its fourth loss of the season, moving to 20-4 and 3-1 in conference.
Montefusco tossed the first eight innings of the game in another quality start for the Mason pitching staff, allowing 10 hits and one earned run but walked none and added five strikeouts. The one run bumps his season ERA to 0.98, still second in the Atlantic 10 behind Mason’s own Jared Gaynor
. Mark Maksimow
issued a 1-2-3 ninth inning in a non-save situation to close out the ballgame.
The Rams used their league-leading offense to open the scoring in the first inning but were kept off the board for the remainder of the contest. VCU singled three times in the inning, one of them plating James Bunn for the Rams’ lone run.
Mason scored four runs in the second inning and two more in the third for all of its runs, which would prove to be enough for Montefusco and the Patriot defense. A string of six consecutive Patriots reached base to begin the second inning that included three straight RBI singles from Chris Cook
, Mick Foley
and Luke Willis
along with a walk by Tucker Tobin
and hits from Josh Leemhuis
and Ray Toto
. Leemhuis moved his active hit streak to 11 games with a 2-4 day at the plate along with Brandon Gum
who singled to centerfield in the sixth.
Cook drove home his second run of the day in the next inning and Toto advanced to the plate on a balk to move the score to 6-1 before Montefusco settled in and held VCU scoreless for the remainder of his time on the mound. Taking the loss and allowing all six runs for VCU was Daniel Concepcion, who also allowed nine hits, walked four and struck out three. The Patriots had 12 hits in the ballgame, VCU 10 while neither side committed an error.
Heads-up defense ended by Blaise Fernandez
ended VCU’s final real scoring threat in the sixth inning. After Bill Cullen tripled right centerfield, Logan Farrar hit a grounder to Fernandez who was able to make the throw home and catch Cullen before he got to the plate. Fernandez also ended the inning with a barehanded scoop and toss across the diamond to Foley at first base, fielding a grounder from Trevor Marino.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 29. With rain in the forecast, check back at GoMason.com and follow Mason baseball on Twitter @Masonbaseball.