Baseball Opens Season With 25-2 Rout of Northwestern
Feb. 19, 2010
Offense was supposed to be a concern for the 2010 George Mason baseball team. The Patriots lost more than two-thirds of the 2009 offense to graduation or the Major League Baseball Draft. But if Friday's 25-2 rout of Northwestern was any indication, the bats won't be a concern. It was the most runs ever for the Patriots in a season opener as they downed the Wildcats as part of the 2010 Bojangles Baseball Classic hosted by Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C.
Senior Kevin Crum allowed four hits and no walks while striking out six in six innings. He surrendered just one run in picking up the season-opening win. Branden Bartlett allowed four hits and no walks in three innings to pick up his first career save. Ryan Soares had three hits and five RBI, Shane Davis had two hits and four RBI, Dan Schafferman and Brett Hendricks each had three hits and three RBI and Dan Palumbo was 5 for 7 with three runs and two RBI. Palumbo tied the school record for hits in a game.
The season got started right as the Patriots scored multiple times in five different innings and put runs on the board in all but two innings. With one out in the first, Dan Schafferman singled and Ryan Soares tripled to make it a 1-0 contest. Northwestern first baseman Chris Lashmet couldn't handle Mark Hill's grounder that should have been the third out and Soares came home to score and make it 2-0. After a 1-2-3 bottom of the first, the Patriots put five more runs on the board in the second.
Brett Hendricks singled in his first at-bat for Mason, then Dan Palumbo singled and Nick Allen sacrificed the runners into scoring position. Jeremy Haas' ground out made it 3-0 and Soares' grounder to short was misplayed by Zach Morton to make it a four-run lead. Shane Davis followed with a homer to right to make it 7-0.
With two outs and no one on in the third, the Patriots rallied as Palumbo singled and Allen and Haas walked to load the bases. With a 3-2 count, Schafferman walked to make it 8-0 and Soares singled down the rightfield line on the first pitch he saw to make it 10-0. Davis added an RBI single to make it an 11-run lead.
Meanwhile, Crum was cruising. He retired the Wildcats in order in the first two innings and he weather an error and hit batter in the third before striking out Trevor Stevens looking with two runners on. In the top of the fourth, Hendricks singled with one out, Allen singled with two outs and Haas' grounder to Morton resulted in an error and a 12-0 lead. The Wildcats finally got on the board in the fourth when Chad Noble led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Lashmet double.
Mason made up for the run in the sixth when Josh Steinberg led off with a homer. Later in the frame, Palumbo singled and Allen and Haas walked to load the bases and once again Schafferman had an RBI by drawing a bases-loaded walk. Soares' grounded out to make it 15-1. A Mark Hill homer to lead off the seventh made it a 15-run lead but Northwestern got a run back in the seventh on an Colby Everett single, an Andy Fields ground out and a Trevor Stevens single to make it 16-2. But Mason continued the hot hitting in the eight when Allen reached on an error, Haas singled, Allen took third on a fly out then scored on a Soares double. Haas came home on Anthony Montefusco's pinch-hit single for an 18-2 lead.
But the inning was far from over. Chris Cook pinch hit and he was hit by a pitch and with two outs, Hendricks cleared the bases with a double to plate three. Palumbo followed with a single and a 22-2 lead. Four more runs came across for the Patriots in the ninth as Haas singled, Schafferman tripled and Montefusco hit a sacrifice fly. With the bases empty and two outs, Cook singled, Steinberg walked, Danny Lyons singled to bring home Cook and Palumbo doubled to finish the scoring. The Patriots will return to action on Saturday when they play a pair of games. At 11 a.m., Mason will play Marist and at 2 p.m., the Patriots will play Winthrop.