FAIRFAX, Va. – Trailing by one run, the George Mason baseball team loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning but were unable to score the tying run as Saint Joseph's (9-11, 3-1) defeated the Patriots (9-14, 1-4) 4-3 on Saturday.
Mason trailed the game 4-1 in the seventh inning but made it a one-run contest when Kent Blackstone doubled over John Brue's head in deep center field, scoring Brandon Gum and Michael Smith to make the score 4-3. Blackstone also tripled in the bottom of the sixth and scored Mason's first run of the game on a wild pitch.
Brady Acker led off the bottom of the eighth with a single into center field and advanced to second on Tyler Nelin's sacrifice bunt towards third. Lansing Veeder entered the game on the mound from right field for Saint Joseph's and allowed a single from Derek Evans, moving Acker to third. Luke Willis was hit by a pitch with two outs to load the bases however Michael Smith struck out swinging to end the threat. Mason went down 1-2-3 in the ninth as Veeder collected his third save.
The game began with three scoreless innings however SJU broke the tie with a run in the top of the fourth. Cal Jadacki scored from third on a single to the left side from Deon Stafford. Jake Kalish pitched the first five innings for Mason in a no decision with seven strikeouts and four hits allowed.
The Patriots tied the game up in the bottom of the sixth but the even score did not last long. With two men on base Brue lined his second homerun of the weekend over the right field wall in the top of the seventh, a three-run shot that gave the Hawks a 4-1 lead that they would keep for the remainder of the game.
Pat Vanderslice picked up his third win of the season by pitching the first six innings for SJU. Smith recorded his fifth consecutive multi-hit game for Mason, going 2-5 along with Blackstone. The Patriots recorded 10 hits in the loss while leaving 11 men on base while SJU left 14 on and recorded eight hits.
The series finalizes on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Spuhler Field.