FAIRFAX, Virginia – Despite being held to a season low in hits, the Marist baseball team cashed in on the opportunities it was given to secure a hard fought 3-1 victory over the George Mason Patriots on Friday afternoon. With the win, the Red Foxes now stand at 5-3 on the season.
Sophomore Frankie Gregoire led Marist offensively with a 2-for-4 effort, a home run, a run scored and one RBI and junior Matt Iantosca chipped in a 1-for-4 effort with a run scored. Sophomore Anthony Lazar and Tyler Kapuscinski each picked up an RBI on the afternoon.
Junior Charlie Jerla got the start and threw three innings while giving up no runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Freshman Connor McNamara, in just his second appearance for the Red Foxes, pitched two and two thirds innings giving up one run on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts, junior Mike Coss threw one and one third innings, giving up no runs on one hit with one walk and one strikeout, senior Sean Keenan pitched one plus inning, giving up no runs on one hit with one walk and one strikeout and junior Tony Romanelli picked up his third save of the year, throwing one inning and giving up no runs on no hits with three strikeouts.
The Red Foxes got on the board in the top of the fourth when Gregoire smashed the first pitch of the inning over the left field wall for his third home run of the season and the 1-0 lead.
McNamara replaced Jerla on the mound in the bottom of the inning.
One inning later, Marist added to its lead. Iantosca led off reaching on a throwing error by the third baseman, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch during the next at bat. Following a strike out, Lazar hit an RBI groundout to the shortstop that scored Iantosca and it was 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
The Patriots got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Frank Sturek led off with a double off the top of the left field wall, just barely missing a home run by inches. A groundout by Mike Smith advanced Sturek to third and Tyler Nelin walked to set up men on first and third. Logan Driscoll followed with an RBI ground out to the first baseman that scored Sturek and Nelin advanced to second when the throw by the first baseman was not in time for the double play attempt and it was 2-1 Red Foxes.
After recording the first two outs of the sixth, McNamara gave up a two out single and was replaced by Coss.
After a pitching change by George Mason in the top of the seventh, Kirkpatrick led off with a walk, advanced to second on a sac bunt by Lazar and to third on a wild pitch. Kapuscinski then hit a sac fly to center field that scored Kirkpatrick and Marist was back up two at 3-1.
The Patriots threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Smith singled to right center. Following a fly out, Logan Driscoll walked to put the tying run on first base but Coss got out of the jam, getting the next batter to strike out looking on a nasty curve ball and the next to hit a grounder to second that retired Driscoll at the bag to end the inning.
Keenan replaced Coss to begin the eighth inning.
Down to its last at bat in the bottom of the ninth, George Mason looked to rally. Smith led off with a hit by pitch and Nelin walked to set up men on first and second with no outs. That was as close as the Patriots would get however, as Romanelli came in for the Red Foxes, replacing Keenan and promptly retired the next three batters on three straight strikeouts to secure the win.
Up next, Marist will take on George Mason in game two of the series tomorrow at 2 PM.