FAIRFAX, Va. – Trevor Kelly singled through a drawn-in infield in the bottom of the ninth to give George Mason a 5-4 win over the Saint Joseph’s baseball team at Spuhler Field on Friday afternoon.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, Kelly hit a 1-2 pitch from Steve Powles up the middle and into center field, scoring Tyler Nelin with the winning run.
After both teams stranded runners in the early innings, Saint Joseph’s (18-25 overall, 4-13 Atlantic 10) broke through and took the lead in the top half of the third. Matt Cuppari and Brendan Hueth kicked off the frame with consecutive singles before Matt Maul moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Charlie Concannon followed with a single to plate both runners and give the Hawks a 2-0 edge.
George Mason (22-24 overall, 12-7 Atlantic 10) got on the board in the fourth as Logan Driscoll doubled and came in to score on a single by Michael Smith.
The Hawks extended the lead in the fifth, however, as Cuppari and Maul singled to give the Hawks two on with one out. Concannon then notched his third run batted in of the day with another single; two batters later, James McConnon brought home Maul with a fielder’s choice to make it a 4-1 game.
The Patriots began to chip away in the sixth. Brady Acker led off the frame with a solo home run before Kelly singled, advanced on an error, and came in to score on another RBI single by Smith. The home side then drew level in the eighth when Greg Popatak singled and went to second on an error before Smith doubled him home with the tying run.
In the ninth, Nelin was hit by a pitch before a single by Acker and an intentional walk to Driscoll loaded the bases for Kelly, whose base hit ended the game.
Ryan Ricci tossed two shutout innings of relief to earn the win, while Powles took the loss. Matt Kennedy got the start and allowed three runs on six hits in six innings, while GMU’s Zach Mort allowed four runs and eight hits in seven as neither starter figured in the decision.
The teams will return to the diamond on Saturday for the middle game of the weekend set. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.