Photo Courtesy of Thom Kendall/Atlantic 10
AMHERST, Mass. – The George Mason softball team defeated the top overall seed, Dayton, 8-5 to advance in the A-10 Championship. In their first ever A-10 Championship, the Patriots also beat La Salle yesterday in the opening game of the tournament.
Mason had a terrific start to the game against the regular-season champions. After McKenzie Jones walked in the second inning, Katie Kitts smashed a two-run homerun to left center to take a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, Kitts picked up two more RBI on a single through the right side with the bases loaded to give the Patriots a 4-0 lead.
Dayton was able to get a run back in the bottom half of the inning on a Tiffany Ricks single to right field. The Flyers were able to score three more runs in the next two innings to eventually tie the game in the fifth inning.
The Patriots had the bases loaded again in the top of the sixth inning before Casey Price walked to give the lead back to Mason. Breanna Boyd then hit an RBI fielders choice to give Mason a 6-4 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Dayton's Gabrielle Snyder hit an RBI double to right center to bring the lead down to just one again.
Sarah Solano led the Green and Gold off with a double to left center to open the seventh inning. After Mary O'Connor and Liz Seymour both reached base on infield singles, Casey Price hit a single to right center to give Mason an 8-5 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
After Dayton led off with a single, the next batter hit a line drive that was caught by Brooke Blankenship, who then threw out the runner at first to complete the double play. Sarah Kleinfelter got a ground out for the third and final out to give Mason the win over the top seeded Flyers.
Kleinfelter pitched 3.1 innings in relief and picked up the win for the Patriots. Christina Gabriele got the start in the circle for Mason and pitched 3.2 innings. Both pitchers gave up just four hits each in the crucial win for the Green and Gold.
The Patriots advance to take on the winner between #2 Saint Louis and #3 Fordham tomorrow at noon.