James Madison's five-run ninth inning downs the Patriots, 11-4
The old adage says “when it rains, it pours,” and that seemed to be the theme for the game between George Mason University and James Madison University on Saturday afternoon.
The Patriots (11-11, 4-4 CAA) fell to the Dukes of JMU, 11-4 in what was a bipolar-type game for both sides.
JMU (12-9, 5-2 CAA) earned their 11 runs thanks to a six-run third inning and a devastating five-run ninth inning. The Patriots scored on a Tommy Vitaletti three-run homerun in the third inning, followed by a Ray Toto solo shot in the fourth.
“Quite honestly, I like the way we approached today’s game,” said Mason coach Bill Brown. “They ended up with two pretty good sized numbers, you have to give them credit for that. We didn’t get the swings we needed.”
The Patriots left a dismal eight runners on base, while being retired in order in three separate innings. However, Mason’s bullpen returned the favor, thanks to an outstanding performance from freshman reliever Tyler Mocabee.
“I really didn’t try and do much today. I just wanted to throw strikes and let my defense do the work,” said Mocabee, who threw five hitless innings in relief of the struggling starting pitcher John Williams.
Mocabee was then able to get in a comfortable rhythm, retiring 15 Dukes in a row. Vitaletti then closed the six-run gap with his blast to left field that still hasn’t landed yet.
“I’ve been off to a slow start, these past couple days I’ve cleared my head and just tried to have more fun,” said Vitaletti, who hit a grand slam that propelled the Patriots to a victory in Friday’s game. “There’s obviously been a change at the plate for me.”
Mason senior Duncan Satherlie was the only Patriot to have a multi-hit game (2-for-5), as the Patriots struggled to keep up with the barrage of runs scored by the Dukes.
Even though the offense struggled, the Patriots are still confident in their ability to win the third game of the series on Sunday.
“From a standpoint of how we’re playing the game and how we’re approaching it, we’re not going to change a thing,” Brown said.
The rubber match for the series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m. at Spuhler field. Mason will send Jake Kalish (1-0) to take on JMU’s Michael Howerton (2-0).