AMHERST, Mass. – The George Mason baseball team (25-16, 12-5) tied a season-high with nine drawn walks and capitalized on five Minutemen errors to defeat UMass (10-27, 7-12) 12-4 on Friday afternoon.
Mason improves its conference record to 12-5 while UMass falls to 7-12 in the A-10, 10-27 overall. The Patriots scored 12 runs on 11 hits, only five of them earned.
Anthony Montefusco pitched the first six innings, improving his record to 7-2 this season despite allowing a season-high four earned runs to score, all coming in the bottom of the fourth inning. The redshirt senior struck out eight batters in his six innings of work, allowing only one walk and nine hits on 96 pitches. Jake Kalish pitched in relief for the first time this season for the final three frames, allowing three runs on six hits as he picked up his first save of the year.
Both teams stayed off the scoreboard for the first two innings before Mason cashed in on the first of five errors in the third. Chris Cook led off with his 25th hit-by-pitch of the season, moving to third base after Mick Foley struck out swinging and the ball rolled to the backstop where Brandon Walsh made a throw off Foley’s back that allowed Cook to advance. Luke Willis then hit a grounder to short to score Cook for the first of his three RBI on Friday, giving him 28 on the season for the team lead.
One third of Mason’s runs came in the top of the fourth on one hit and three more UMass errors. Ray Toto led off with the first Patriot walk of the afternoon, advancing to second after Josh Leemhuis reached base on an error by the shortstop. Tucker Tobin followed with the first of his three walks on the day to load the bases. Montefusco drew his team-high 22nd walk of the season for a 2-0 lead and Cook used a sacrifice fly and a wide throw to the plate to bring home the second run of the inning. Foley finalized the four inning scoring with a two-out single up the middle that scored Tobin and Montefusco.
The Minutemen responded with four runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 5-4 score after four innings, however the Patriots answered back with five runs on four hits in the top of the sixth inning as they batted around the order. Leemhuis led off with the first of his two doubles before Tobin walked and Montefusco used a bunt single to load the bases. Cook walked home the first run in the sixth, followed by Willis’ chopper up the middle to bring home two and extend the lead to 8-4. Fernandez launched one of his four singles through the right side in the next at bat and with help from an error in right field, scored two more unearned runs. Fernandez led the Patriots with a 4-6 day at the plate.
The senior would add his only RBI of the afternoon on a single in the bottom of the ninth after Ray Toto hustled around from first on a two-out double by Leemhuis in the eighth. Five Patriots scored two runs in the ballgame while every player in the starting lineup had at least one hit or scored at least one run. UMass added three runs in the bottom of the ninth before Kalish struck out the final batter for his first save of the season.
The series between Mason and UMass continues on Saturday, May 3 with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch. Jared Gaynor (6-3, 1.42) takes the mound for the Green and Gold.