Mason drops series rubber match against JMU, 5-2

Josh Leemhuis stands in the box against Northeastern (Photo by John Irwin).
Josh Leemhuis stands in the box against Northeastern (Photo by John Irwin).

You’d expect the rubber match of a series between two rivals to be an exciting, edge-of-your-seat slugfest, right? Sunday’s series finale between George Mason University and James Madison University, not so much.

The Patriots’ (11-12, 4-5 CAA) struggles on offense continued for the second straight game, dropping the series to JMU in a 5-2 bore-fest.

The Dukes (13-9, 6-2 CAA) continued to produce on offense, thanks for a multi-hit game from four different players.

“In a tight ball game, you have to cash in,” said Mason coach Bill Brown. “We weren’t able to move the ball. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t. Today, it didn’t.”

The Patriots faced a bit of a scare when starting pitcher Jake Kalish left the game after just one inning. Coach Brown said Kalish (1-1) had some tenderness and soreness in his arm.

“Anytime that happens with one of our guys, they’re coming out no matter what,” Brown said. “We’re going to error on the side of being overly cautious with all of them.”

The Patriots have struggled from the plate recently, despite clutch performances from the bullpen. Anthony Montefusco started off as the designated hitter, but came on to pitch in the fourth inning, eventually closing the game out for Mason.

“Sometimes you get over anxious, and that’s our issue right now,” Brown said. “But the bullpen was fabulous.”

Montefusco racked up six strike outs in his 4.1 innings, only giving up two runs on four hits.

“Anthony’s one of our better guys, he has been his entire career,” Brown said.

Mason returns to the diamond on Tuesday, traveling to face Maryland at 4:00 p.m. in College Park.