Towson assembles seven-run sixth inning to hold off Mason, 10-6

The loss for the Patriots extends their losing streak to ten games (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).
The loss for the Patriots extends their losing streak to ten games (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).

The weather was warm, but the bats stayed cold at Spuhler Field on Friday for the first game of George Mason University’s three-game series against Towson University.

Towson (18-16, 8-5 CAA) executed their small-ball approach almost perfectly, taking advantage of a seemingly disorganized Mason defense, for a 10-6 victory.

The Patriots (12-22, 4-12 CAA) lost control of the game in the sixth, giving up an onslaught of seven runs. Despite a three hit, two double performance from junior right fielder Josh Leemhuis, Mason continued to struggle at the plate.

“I’m just trying to contribute as much as I can,” said Leemhuis, who after starting off slow has really stepped up his game in recent weeks. “Today was one of the couple days I actually felt good.”

The bottom half of the line-up was the only thing keeping Mason in the game. The trio of senior Duncan Satherlie, Leemhuis and freshman Brandon Gum went 7-12 from the plate, continuously producing base runners. The top half of the order just couldn’t keep up.

“In college baseball, doubles are equal production. Josh drove the ball up the alleys, and that’s outstanding,” said Mason coach Bill Brown. “If we can swing the bat that way, then we’re going to score enough runs to be in games.”

Unfortunately, the runners weren’t able to cross the plate. The Patriots left a disappointing nine runners on base, while getting caught stealing to end the inning in the second and third. Mason’s defense had never been a weak spot, until Friday.

Costly physical and mental errors led to Mason’s defeat, on top of not being able to defend the bunt-and-steal approach of Towson. The Tigers were able to move their base runners around with ease, especially in the sixth.  

“We coughed up seven runs in the sixth, and that finished us off,” Brown said. “As far as the small-ball game, I felt that they executed really well, so hats off to them.”

Mason’s starting pitcher Jared Gaynor (2-5) got off to a good start, and then lost control in the sixth. Thankfully, freshman reliever Tanner Love was able to come on and stop the bleeding, closing the final three innings giving up only two hits and no runs.

“They were just hitting the ball. Coach told me to go to the bullpen and start throwing strikes,” said Love, who has appeared in six games in his first season as a Patriot. “I felt really well today and had command on everything.”

The Patriots look to even up the series on Saturday at Spuhler Field, with the first pitching coming at 2 p.m. 

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