Baseball Tripped Up by Longwood, 8-6
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Baseball Tripped Up by Longwood, 8-6

FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason baseball team battled through inclement weather to rally in the ninth inning, but the Longwood baseball team used a three-run fifth inning to take the lead and the Lancers held on, 8-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Spuhler Field. The game 's first pitch was delayed more than 45 minutes due to steady rain which lasted throughout the contest.

The Lancers improved to 19-17 overall, sweeping the season series between the two squads. With the loss the Patriots fell to 25-14 on the year.

Longwood took an early lead in the top of the third, scoring three runs on errant play by the Patriots. Freshman Conner Hall led off the inning with a double down the right field line and crossed home on the next play as designated hitter Zack Mihalko laid down a sacrifice bunt. Mihalko reached on a Mason error and Hall scored from second for a 1-0 lead. Mihalko then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and came home on a passed ball to give the Lancers a 2-0 advantage. The final LU run came as shortstop Matt Dickason walked and advanced to third on two consecutive wild pitches before he was driven in on an RBI single from outfielder Robby Newman.

Responding in its half of the third, Mason put up five runs to take a 5-3 advantage. The Patriots connected on three consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs for senior designated hitter Zack Helgeson, who brought in the first run with a hard-hit single to center. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Josh Leemhuis followed with an RBI groundout and Fernandez drilled a bases-clearing double through the left side to give Mason a 4-3 lead. Sophomore first baseman Mick Foley singled to right to put runners at the corners, advanced to second on a wild pitch and senior catcher Jake Leonardo loaded the bases with an infield single for Cook, who hit an RBI groundout to second for the final Mason run of the inning.

The lead exchanged hands for the final time in the top of the fifth inning. Longwood first baseman Justin Lacy hit an RBI double before an RBI single by outfielder Brandon Delk tied the game at 5-5. The Lancers took the lead for good on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Travis Biddix to go up, 6-5.

Two insurance runs were tacked to the scoreboard in the eighth inning for LU, as catcher Scott Burkett homered to deep left center, giving the Lancers an 8-5 advantage.

The Patriots rallied in the ninth, but fell just short of tying the game. With two outs and runners on first and second, Leonardo singled down the right field line to bring in a run and cut the Lancer lead to 8-6. Pinch hitter Anthony Montefusco stepped to the plate representing the go-ahead run but was retired after a called strike-three to end the game.

Fernandez finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate with two RBI's and one run scored. Leonardo went 3-for-5 with an RBI, as all but one of the Mason starting nine batters registered a hit.

Starter Brandon Kuter worked three innings and giving up three runs (one earned) on two hits with four strikeouts in a no decision. Michael Bowie took the loss in relief, throwing 1.2 innings with three runs on four hits.

Burkett led the Lancers, going 1-for-3 with two RBI's. Reliever Zach Jordan picked up the win in 1.2 innings of work, giving up just one hit. Closer Aaron Myers earned his second save of the season, throwing three innings with one run scored on three hits and five strikeouts.

The Patriots return to action this weekend, hosting Old Dominion in CAA action at Spuhler Field.

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