No. 25 UNCW outhits Mason baseball in 8-3 victory

Over the past 20 games, Mason has a combined record of 2-18 (Photo by John Irwin).
Over the past 20 games, Mason has a combined record of 2-18 (Photo by John Irwin).

The Seahawks of UNC Wilmington showed on Saturday why they’re ranked No. 25 in the country. They out hit and out pitched the George Mason University Patriots in front of a raucous Spuhler Field crowd of 346, which at times seemed mostly in favor of the visitors.

Over the last 20 games Mason’s record is 2-18. During that span they have frequently beat themselves, either in the form of numerous or costly errors and missed opportunities.

The Patriots (13-27, 5-15) had few opportunities through four innings against UNCW (29-11, 11-2). Their offense was stymied and they were flat out beaten.

The Seahawks jumped on Mason redshirt junior starting pitcher Anthony Montefusco early, collecting seven hits in the first two innings — four in the first and three in the second. Through two innings, Montefusco had thrown 47 pitches.

“He carried a lot of pitches into the middle of the game,” said Bill Brown, Mason’s head coach. “They took some good at bats. They kept fouling balls off and ran [up] a lot of counts.”

Mason’s first opportunity came in the second inning. A screaming line drive by Mason junior Tucker Tobin hit Seahawks starting pitcher, sophomore Jordan Ramsey, near his right shoulder. Ramsey left the game after retiring the first four Patriots he faced.

Relief pitcher junior Ricky Holden entered the game and allowed three of the first four batters he faced to reach base. Mason freshman Brandon Gum struck out swinging to end the threat and the inning, UNCW led 3-0.

“[Getting a hit there] changes the complexion. It certainly changes the momentum,” Brown said of the missed opportunity. “If you score two or three runs there, sure the momentum changes and it carries you through the middle part of the game.”

In the fourth, Montefusco helped his own cause by blasting a solo home run to center field. Just four pitches later, junior catcher Patrick Esposito hit his first homer of the season to left field, cutting the UNCW lead to 3-2.

The Seahawks responded in the fifth. After junior Ryan LaGrange doubled home sophomore Corey Dick, junior Drew Farber hit his fifth home run of the season. The blast extended the lead to 6-2.

“You have to credit Wilmington,” Brown said. “After Monty [Montefusco] and Pat [Esposito] go back to back if we get a zero there we’re in good shape. But the ball got up in the wind and all of the sudden it’s out for a two-run homer.”

Montefusco took the loss and finished the afternoon with 4.2 innings pitched. He allowed 11 hits and six runs. Of the fifteen batters he retired, eight of them were via the strikeout. Montefusco left the game in the sixth after rolling his ankle while running to first.

After the fourth inning, only one Patriot was able to reach second base—redshirt junior Josh Leemhuis. He led off the seventh inning with a triple and later scored on a RBI ground out by Gum. Then he led off the ninth inning with a double and was left stranded.

Mason will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday. Sophomore John Williams (2-3) will get the start. The game begins at 1 p.m.

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