May 30, 2009

Courtesy of George Mason

Greenville, N.C. - The George Mason baseball team saw its season come to an end on Saturday afternoon as the Patriots were eliminated from the Greenville Regional of the NCAA Tournament, falling to Binghamton 11-6. The Patriots fell behind early and stranded 16 base runners. The Bearcats had no such problems as they scored all their runs with two outs.

Freshman Dan Schafferman had a career day going 4 for 5 with four RBI while Justin Bour had three hits and Chris Henderson had two hits and two RBI. For Henderson, those hits allowed the junior first-team All-American to first tie then break Jeff Palumbo's single-season school record for hits. The mark was 96 and Henderson pushed it to 97. Jeff Dennis (6-5) picked up the win for Binghamton (30-21), going five innings and allowing no earned runs. Mason (42-14) had nine hits and three walks off the lefty but scored just a pair of unearned runs. The Patriots tied the school record this year for wins and winning percentage, matching the 1976 team which went to the NAIA World Series and also finished 42-14.

Binghamton wasted no time taking a lead on Mason as Jim Calderone drew a leadoff walk and scored on a two-out homer by Corey Taylor. Mason, meanwhile, squandered two base runners in the first, two in the second and one in the third, letting the Bearcats off the hook despite putting runners in scoring position. Mason finally capitalized in the fourth, though. Mark Hill reached to leadoff the inning when Joe Charron dropped his fly ball to left. Schafferman singled and Ryan Uphouse drew a one-out walk. After Spencer Wiggins popped out, Henderson singled to left to make it 2-2.

The Bearcats got the runs right back in the bottom of the frame as Dave Ciocchi and Joe Charron led off with singles up the middle, moved into scoring position on a Ken Jacobi sacrifice bunt and they made it 3-2 on a Jeff Skelhorne-Gross sacrifice fly. Jeff Abrams' single to center made it 4-2. Mason had three singles in the top of the fifth but couldn't get a run across as they once again stranded runners, this time three more to bring the total to 10.

Mason's hopes were deflated in the sixth when, with two outs, Abrams singled off of Crum's leg, Calderone singled through the left side, and Henry Dunn hit his second home run of the season to make it 7-2. In the top of the seventh, Ryan Soares led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Schafferman double down the leftfield line. Later in the inning, pinch-hitter Shane Davis and Wiggins walked to load the bases, but Mason ran its runners stranded total to 14 when Henderson grounded out off the first pitch from reliever Morgan Smith.

In the seventh Binghamton got the run back when Peter Bregartner led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a throwing error by Henderson and scored on a Charron sacrifice fly. Mason, though, refused to go away. Scott Krieger and Justin Bour led off the eighth with back-to-back singles and with two outs, Schafferman homered to right-center field to make it an 8-6 affair with four Mason outs remaining.

Not surprisingly, Binghamton answered in the bottom of the inning as Abrams led off with a walk and with one out, Dunn and Kyle Klee singled to load the bases. With two outs, Ciocchi singled to make it 10-6. Walks to Charron and Jacobi made it 11-6, erasing all three of the runs the Patriots scored in the top of the frame.