KINGSTON, RI – The George Mason baseball team (21-12, 8-3) scored two runs in the top of the first inning, more than enough support for senior RHP Anthony Montefusco who pitched an eight-inning, two-hit shutout in the 5-0 victory over Rhode Island (6-26, 2-9) on Friday afternoon.
Montefusco retired 19 of the final 20 Rhode Island batters that he faced, only an error reaching base in that time frame. No Rams’ batter reached any farther than second base in the redshirt senior’s third outing of eight innings this season. Montefusco allowed two hits and struck out seven as he improved to 6-2 this season while lowering his Atlantic 10 leading ERA to 1.04.
Early run support came in the top of the first inning when Brandon Gum, Blaise Fernandez and Tucker Tobin each singled with one out in the inning to put the Patriots in front 1-0. Ray Toto extended the lead to two runs with a bases loaded chopper towards first base.
Rhode Island managed both of its hits in the first three innings of the ballgame, a single in the second and a single in the third that would both reach second base but go no further. Montefusco retired the side in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Tyler Zombro entered the game in the ninth and retired all three batters.
The Patriots moved the lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth when Gum dropped a soft liner into right field with the bases loaded, scoring Chris Cook. Mick Foley reached base on an infield hit and Luke Willis flied a pitch to deep center field for a double in the sixth inning, bringing home Foley for his team-leading 24th RBI of the season. The fifth run was tacked on in the top of the ninth when Toto singled up the middle for his second RBI of the afternoon, scoring Gum from third.
Gum went 3-4 in the game, reaching base safely for the 19th consecutive game in the process. Fernandez went 2-5 at the plate while Montefusco also contributed to his cause with a single of his own. Rhode Island was shut out for the sixth time this season.
Game two of the series is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 19. Jared Gaynor (5-2, 1.22) makes his ninth start on the mound. Live audio and stats will be available by clicking here.