Huskies' late-inning runs down the Patriots, 12-5; losing skid at five straight games

Mason baseball continues their homestand today at 2 p.m. against Northeastern (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).
Mason baseball continues their homestand today at 2 p.m. against Northeastern (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).

Hands in his jacket pockets and an agitated look on his face, George Mason baseball coach Bill Brown was visibly frustrated by his team’s effort following a 12-5 home loss to Northeastern University Friday afternoon. The loss was the team’s fifth straight and in each of those games the Patriots have stranded at least 10 base runners.

Mason junior starting pitcher Jared Gaynor finished the ballgame with seven innings pitched, scattering 10 hits, striking out four, while allowing six runs, five earned. A four-run fourth inning was Gaynor’s largest blemish in his second loss of the season.

“Jared [Gaynor] was good,” Brown said. “He threw a ton of pitches and had one tough inning where they jumped on some stuff early in the counts, but he settled.”

The Patriots (7-10, 1-3) rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, narrowing the Huskies (10-6, 2-2) lead to 6-4. Back-to-back one-out hits by sophomore Tommy Vitaletti and senior Duncan Satherlie started things for the Patriots.

After junior Tucker Tobin loaded the bases following his second hit by pitch of the day, junior Blaise Fernandez lined a ball between the shortstop and third baseman to score Vitaletti. Following a sacrifice fly by redshirt junior Josh Leemhuis, freshman Derek Evans singled in another run capping the three-run seventh inning.

“We were going to have opportunities,” Brown said. “We were going to get the tying run and winning run to the plate in the back third of the game. It was going to happen.”

However, following the departure of Gaynor, the game unraveled for the Patriots.

The Huskies collected a combined six runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Junior Michael Bowie lasted 2/3 of an inning allowing four runs, but only one earned after a costly error by left fielder Vitaletti in the eighth. Freshman Tyler Mocabee finished the game pitching 1 1/3 innings but not before he surrendered two runs in the ninth inning.

“You can’t give up seven runs in the back third of a baseball game,” Brown said. “Obviously, you can’t win the way we’re playing right now.”

Mason collected 11 hits on the afternoon and Satherlie lived up to the role as the team’s designated hitter, going a perfect 4-4 at the plate, all singles, with a walk, one run and one RBI.

“Opportunities we’re getting, that’s a good thing,” Brown said. “But we’re certainly, at this point, incredibly inefficient across the board.”

Friday’s game was the second of an eight-game home stand for Mason. With the loss, the Patriots are now 5-3 at Spuhler Field.

“It’s tough,” Satherlie said. “Every loss adds on a few pounds on your back. But that’s baseball. That’s why we play 56 [games] plus.”

Northeastern’s visit to Fairfax is the first by a Colonial Athletic Association foe this season. The series continues with a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday.

“Come tomorrow, I think we’ll come out with a new attitude,” Satherlie said. “I think we’ll come out with a little fire.”