Mason baseball routs Iona, 12-3 in first home game

Patriots score 12 runs on 13 hits en route to a 12-3 win over Iona (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).
Patriots score 12 runs on 13 hits en route to a 12-3 win over Iona (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).

The George Mason baseball team opened their first home series against Iona University (1-3) on Friday afternoon at Spuhler Field in Fairfax. But the frigid, and at times, icy conditions didn’t cool down the hot bats of the Patriots (1-3), who collected 13 hits and scored a season-high 12 runs to defeat the Gaels, 12-3.

Mason junior pitcher Anthony Montefusco made the start, allowing one run on four hits through five innings while striking out seven.

“[The Gaels] got a couple hits and a little bleeder,” Montefusco said. “I just focused on damage control and tried to keep it at one run.”

Montefusco threw 84 pitches over his five innings of work, 26 of which came in the first inning alone.

“I think he struggled getting loose,” said Bill Brown, Mason’s coach for the past 33 seasons. “He finishes the fifth and throws his 84th pitch and that inning was his best inning. He finally loosened up.”

After Iona committed three errors in the first inning, junior third baseman Blaise Fernandez batted in the first run of the game, with a single to left field. Mason would add two more runs in the inning. All three runs were unearned for Iona starter Eddie Macaluso.

“You have to battle through the elements,” Fernandez said. “It’s a matter of seeing the fastball and working off that.”

With Mason leading 3-1 in the third, Fernandez stepped into the box for his second at-bat with Tucker Tobin, who was a perfect 4-4 at the plate and scored four times, on first. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Fernandez hit a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence increasing the Patriot lead to 5-1.

“You get your table setters on in front of you and you’re just looking for a pitch to drive,” said Fernandez, who hit his first homer of the season Friday. “Lucky enough I got that fastball up and was able to put a good swing on it.”

The Patriots would score five more runs in the fifth after loading the bases with one out. Freshman Brandon Gum singled in Tobin, before redshirt sophomore Andrew Sable hit a two-RBI single scoring junior Mick Foley and sophomore Ray Toto. Centerfield sophomore Tommy Vitaletti would single up the middle scoring Gum, while Sable advanced to third. After a Vitaletti stolen base, red-shirt junior Josh Leemhuis would hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring in Sable.

“You want production up and down the lineup,” Brown said. “When you’re getting RBIs out of your eight and nine hole, you’re probably in for a pretty good day.”

The Gaels would score two runs in the sixth after freshman Mark Maksimow replaced Montefusco. However, the Patriot bullpen would allow just one hit in the final three innings.

“I think this weekend we’ll be able to get into our bullpen and through our bullpen,” Brown said. “So those are good things, because we do want to get on track with our bullpen.”

Mason’s win was their first of the young season and evened Montefusco’s record at 1-1. The series continues on Sunday in a doubleheader with games at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday's game was postponed due to weather. 

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