FAIRFAX, Va. –
George Mason University's softball team gathered three wins in one calendar day for the first time in head coach Joe Verbanic
's time with the program to sweep the home series against St. Bonaventure Sunday.
Mason (19-26, 11-6 A-10) outclassed the Bonnies (10-33, 1-13 A-10) in all three games to earn the series sweep. The Patriots continued what they started before rain halted the series opener on Saturday
and outscored their opponent 16-2 on the day and 19-3 in the weekend.
Sophomore Marina Vitalich
(12-9) and freshman Bekah Ansbro
(3-8) led the defense in the 3-0 day. Vitalich seemed unaffected by the rain and picked up wins in the games on both sides of Saturday's halt while Ansbro pitched her first complete-game shutout, allowing for only two hits in the 8-0 win.
"It was great to get my first career shutout," Ansbro said. "I was surprised that I pitched as well as I did because I did not feel that great in the bullpen, but I think the support from my teammates definitely made me feel better."
The win in the finale was Mason's 11th
conference victory this season, the program's best achievement under Verbanic, who is in his 13th
season. The Patriots are now tied for third with Dayton in the Atlantic 10 standings and just a game behind second-placed Fordham.
"Everyone is pretty excited," Vitalich said. "We've won some pretty games and I think that has also played a big part into our continued success.
"It's getting late in the season but I sense that everyone is pretty pumped and ready to go."
The defense behind Ansbro and Vitalich remained flawless despite the unusually long work day, committing no errors against the Bonnies. St. Bonaventure committed one error in the opening game and one in game three, the latter of which led to an unearned by Mason.
On the front end, the Patriots did everything right to show that the midweek setback at George Washington is forgotten.
"It's never fun to lose, especially to a cross-town rival like GW, but we all knew we needed to come back and work hard to get some wins this weekend," sophomore second baseman Erin Calpin
Calpin and fellow sophomores Samantha Zaccari
, a first baseman, and Jess Curbeira
, the designated hitter, led the team with four RBI apiece in the series. Calpin had two of Mason's five extra-base hits while Curbeira crossed home plate a team-best five times in the series.
Due to Saturday's halt, the Patriots started the day at bat in the third inning. After going scoreless in the first two innings, an RBI single from Calpin scored freshman catcher Sydnee Wells
to make the score 4-1 and begin the 16-run day.
"This morning we started a little slow because of the rain yesterday but the power came back quickly," she said. "We did a good job keeping the energy up throughout a long day and at continuing to dominate on the field and at bat."
Wells had three hits herself – including two doubles – to join the club of six Patriots with multiple RBI in the series. Overall, of the 11 players who played against the Bonnies, seven batted at least one run it and nine scored at least one run.
"We had so, so many people who contributed today," Verbanic said. "That is when the game gets fun, when everyone rightfully knows that they have helped the team win or continue its progress to where it is headed."
NEXT ON THE DIAMOND
Mason will play its final non-conference game Wednesday, when the Patriots welcome Georgetown for a single game that will begin at 4 p.m.