Late Runs Lift Patriots Past Chicago State
April 20, 2007
The George Mason baseball team spent most of the day baffled by Chicago State starter Chris Freshour but Mason starter Ryan Brecko matched him in putting zeros on the board. Brecko picked up his third win on the year and Mason won for the fifth time in the past seven games as the Patriots downed the Cougars, 4-2 in non-conference college baseball action at Spuhler Field.
Mason struggled mightily to generate any kind of offense as the Patriots managed just four hits through the first six innings. The game starting promising with a leadoff single by Chris Henderson, but he was picked off first base. The Patriots got back-to-back one-out hits in the second from Justin Bour and Jason Bour, but they were stranded on the corners. Ten Patriots were retired in order before Dan Palumbo's two-out double in the fifth. Chris Fournier also had a two-out walk in the sixth, but like Palumbo, he was left on the bases when the inning ended.
Brecko kept the Patriots in the game, meanwhile, with his best outing of the season despite having to pitch out of trouble in every inning. He allowed five hits and three walks in seven innings with four strikeouts and one hit batter. He carried an 8.13 ERA into the game and he lowered that to 6.63 by the end of his day.
In the first, Brecko allowed a one-out single to Alex Hall. In the second he allowed a leadoff single to Simeon Morgan before picking him off first. In the third, Freshour singled to lead off the inning but never made it past second. In the fourth, Morgan reached on a throwing error and went to third on a Bryan Packard single before being thrown out trying to take home on the back end of a double steal. In the fifth, a leadoff walk and a hit batter gave Chicago State a great scoring chance but the Cougars hit into a double play. Brecko gave up a leadoff walk in the sixth but a double play erased the runner. Then came a two-out walk that was stranded. Finally, in the seventh, he allowed a two-out single after striking out the first two batters. A flyout got him out of the inning.
The day's first run finally scored in the bottom of the seventh. Justin Bour had a leadoff double and went to third on a Jason Bour fly out to right. After Chris Romanow was intentionally walked to set up the double play, Palumbo doubled deep off the left fielder's glove to make it 1-0. With runners on second and third, Brent Weiss hit a slow roller to short and Romanow beat the throw home for a two-run lead. The rally ended when Henderson grounded into a double play.
In the eighth, Spencer Wiggins led off the inning with a bunt single and he took third on a Fournier double to right. A throwing error on the play allowed Wiggins to come home and Fournier to take third. Fournier scored on Scott Krieger's sacrifice fly to right for a 4-0 Mason lead. Jordan Flasher, who entered the game in the eighth, used the insurance runs as the leadoff hitter in the ninth reached on a strikeout and Flasher hit the second batter before giving up a run-scoring single to Freshour. A two-out RBI single by Hall accounted for the other run. Flasher was still able to pick up his eighth save of the year. He is all alone in second on the school's all-time list in career saves with 12 and he trails only Steve Kann's 10 from 1984 for first on the single-season list.
The Patriots and Cougars will continue the three-game series on Saturday, when the teams play at 2 p.m.