Baseball Falls to UNCW, 9-2
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Baseball Falls to UNCW, 9-2

WILMINGTON, N.C. - The George Mason baseball team started its weekend series against UNCW holding the hot bat, but it was the Seahawks who came out swinging after a weather delay as they emerged with the 9-2 win on Friday afternoon at Brooks Field.

After a week away from the diamond, Mason grabbed the early momentum with four hits over the first three innings as part of an early lead. The Seahawks countered with nine unanswered runs, including tallying seven runs on seven hits in their final two offensive innings. UNCW improved to 34-19 overall and 23-5 in the conference, while with the loss, the Patriots dropped to 32-21 overall and 15-13 in the CAA.

The Patriots wasted no time jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, Mason received back-to-back singles from seniors Brig Tison and Dan Schafferman to leave runners at first and second. Senior designated hitter Zack Helgeson stepped to the plate and hit a groundout to third, allowing both runners to advance to scoring position for sophomore third baseman Blaise Fernandez, who lined a shot down the left field line, allowing both runs to score.

A one out, RBI double down the left field line by UNCW shortstop Jake Koenig in the bottom of the second inning cut the Mason lead in half, 2-1, before the Seahawks tied the game at 2-2 in the home half of the fifth inning, as third baseman Matt Campbell led off with a double and came home on an RBI double to left field by outfielder Tyler Molinaro.

Mason had runners on first and second with two outs in the top half of the seventh inning before the game was suspended due to lightning at 8:11 pm Thursday, resuming on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm.

After the nearly 19-hour stoppage, a pair of costly errors in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game, 4-2. UNCW second baseman Michael Bass led off the inning with a single through the left side, stole second and advanced to third on an error by Patriots' Tison which also allowed Campbell to reach safely. Molinaro singled to second, but his hit caromed off of Campbell on the basepath as he was called out on interference and Bass was forced to return to third base, leaving runners at the corners.

Another Mason error allowed the Seahawks to grab a 3-2 lead, as outfielder Andrew Cain hit a grounder to Mason pitcher Jake Kalish who picked up the ball and attempted to go to second to start a double play, but his throw was offline, allowing the run to score.  The final UNCW run in the inning crossed the plate as first baseman Hunter Ridge hit a sacrifice fly to shallow left center to put the Seahawks up, 4-2.

UNCW added five more runs in the home half of the eighth with an RBI double by Bass, a pair of RBI singles by Campbell and Molinaro and a two-run home run to left from outfielder Andrew Cain for a 9-2 lead.

Kalish (5-2) took the loss for Mason, working 1.1 innings and giving up seven runs (five earned) on seven hits. Starter Anthony Montefusco was earned a no- decision after throwing four innings with four hits, one earned run, two walks and two strikeouts. Branden Bartlett relieved Montefusco, throwing two innings and giving up one earned run on two hits before exiting during the weather delay with the game tied at 2-2.

Tison was the lone Patriot to record more than one hit in the game, going 3-for-4 with one run scored. Fernandez drove in both Mason runs with a 1-for-3 performance at the plate.

UNCW reliever Kelly Secrest improved to 4-2 after working three innings and holding the Patriots hitless. Starter Tyler McSwain threw the opening six innings for the Seahawks, allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out two.

Molinaro paced the UNCW offense with a 3-for-4, two RBI performance at the plate, while Campbell finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and Cain went 1-for-5 with three RBI's.

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