Baseball's Tison continues hot streak

Brig Tison, a senior third baseman for the Patriots, is batting .448 through seven games in 2012, coming off a year in which he batted .368 and had a remarkable 27-game hitting streak (Photo courtesy George Mason baseball).
Brig Tison, a senior third baseman for the Patriots, is batting .448 through seven games in 2012, coming off a year in which he batted .368 and had a remarkable 27-game hitting streak (Photo courtesy George Mason baseball).

Baseball season has arrived and Brig Tison is back to work.

Tison batted his way onto the national scene in 2011 when he extended his hitting streak to 27 games, the second longest streak in the country at the time and the all-time George Mason record. At the time of his impressive streak, he also happened to be leading the nation in total hits.

He finished 2011 with 91 total hits, good for fifth all-time in Patriots history, and with a batting average of .368, ranking him in the top-20 in Patriots history for a single season.

His success in 2011 was no fluke, however, as he is off to an even better start statistically in 2012. Through seven games, Tison is batting an uncanny .448. To put this number in perspective, last year Derek Jeter batted .297, Alex Rodriguez batted .276, and Albert Pujols batted .299.

“Just knowing that I had success last year, I don’t really go into any game thinking I’ll be outmatched by a pitcher or another team,” Tison said.

Tison in action during a game for the Patriots last season (Alexander Rogge).

The senior third baseman earned the CAA Player of the Week honors earlier this season for his outstanding play during the Baseball at the Beach Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in which he went 9-for-18 (.500) at the plate over a four-game stretch. He also chipped in with five RBI's, four runs scored and three stolen bases.

“It’s nice to get an award like that, but more importantly, I felt like our team took the turn we needed,” he said.

Despite getting off to a shaky start as a team, going 1-2 in Elon’s tournament to kick off the season, the Patriots have jumpstarted their year as they are now 4-3 overall, going 3-1 in Myrtle Beach with monumental wins over Iowa, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. Under Tison’s leadership, the offense has been hot, as they took down Iowa 12-3 and dismantled the Hokies 7-1.

Tison has certainly propelled Mason’s offense in 2012 as he leads the team not only in batting average, but also in on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, walks and stolen bases.

“I feel like I am seeing the ball better, making better contact, and I just feel more comfortable at the plate,” he said.

Tison credits his teammates for pushing him to become a player in practice and even believes they have allowed him to open up his game to new limits.

“Hitting in front of some of my teammates right now makes me more comfortable,” he said. “Just knowing that if I don’t get the job done, I know someone like Dan Schafferman or Zack Helgeson or our whole lineup basically can pick me up.”

Schafferman is a senior outfielder who ranks second on the team behind Tison in batting average and Helgeson is another key contributor as the senior first baseman.

If Tison is able to maintain his .448 batting average, he will in fact set a new Mason single-season record. The current single-season plateau is .438, set by Ryan Soares in 2010.

He already ranks fifth in Mason history in career batting average (.368), and has a chance to move up the hierarchy if his bat remains hot. Through three seasons, he also already cracked the top-30 in career hits in Mason history, another statistic in which he will surely climb the ladder by the end of his tenure.

Once his collegiate career comes to a close in a few months, he hopes to continuing playing the game at the professional level. He has no definite plans at this point, but could see himself testing the minor leagues.

“I would like to play as long as I can,” he said.

Before turning pro, however, he still has some business to attend to on campus.

The Patriots are in the midst of a three-game weekend home series against Bryant, which will be their first home games of the season.

Coming off three consecutive wins against quality opponents, the future is looking optimistic for this year’s squad.

“Last year we were young, and some of our younger guys got a year of experience,” Tison said, “and honestly this offseason we worked harder than I had ever seen.”

According to Tison, the Patriots have two goals in mind for the remainder of 2012: to win the conference tournament and to make it to an NCAA Regional. Mason has not played in a Regional since Tison’s freshman year.

“We had a down year last year and we really wanted to change that perception, so we worked really hard and it’s showing.”

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