FAIRFAX, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University scored nine unanswered runs in the final three innings to erase a pair of four-run deficits en route to a 15-10 victory against George Mason Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Raymond H. Spuhler Field.
Trailing 10-6 after six innings, VCU scored one in the seventh, two in the eighth and six in the ninth to pick up its second CAA series win of the season.
Freshman Landon Prentiss reached on an error with one out in the top of the ninth and advanced from first to third on a wild pitch to put the tying run 90 feet away. Junior Paul Nice them came through with a base hit into left and knotted the score at 10-10. George Mason intentionally walked senior John Lenherr to setup the double play but classmate Michael Cheatham lined a base hit into right a batter later and put the Rams on top 12-10. Junior Kyle Sutherland then drove in one and freshman Chris Ayers collected a pair of RBI to put VCU on top by five.
The Rams improve to 13-17 overall, 6-6 in league play, while George Mason, which has not won a conference series all season, slips to 14-19-1, 3-12.
Eight different VCU players recorded a hit with Ayers going 3-for-6 with two RBI. Sutherland finished with a team-best four RBI while Lenherr, Cheatham and Perkins each drove in two runs apiece. Freshman Ryan Morrison tossed the final two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts to earn his first collegiate win.
VCU scored a pair of runs in the top of the first and jumped out to an early lead for the fourth game in a row. Back-to-back George Mason fielding errors and a two-RBI single by Lenherr gave the Rams a 2-0 advantage after their first trip to the plate.
The lead wouldn't hold for long, however, as the Patriots rallied with a five-hit attack in the bottom of the second to go on top 3-2. Zack Helgeson, Nick Allen and Chris Cook each drove in runs to give George Mason its first lead of the series (VCU never trailed in game one and a walkoff single in game two Saturday gave the Patriots a win in their final at-bat).
George Mason then added a pair of unearned runs in the third and plated another in the fourth to stake a 6-2 lead.
VCU wouldn't go away as the Rams loaded the bases and eventually pulled within a run in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back singles from junior Taylor Perkins and Sutherland cut the Black & Gold deficit to 6-5 but George Mason again had an answer as the Patriots added to their lead in the bottom of the frame. Helgeson scored on a wild pitch and Jeremy Haas came home on a sacrifice fly to give the Patriots a three-run advantage.
Haas, who made a long run from center field on a fly ball by Nice in the sixth, couldn't come up with the catch and Prentiss scored from first with two outs to make it an 8-6 game.
Shane Davis lined a single into left and Helgeson delivered his 10th home run of the season to give George Mason a 10-6 advantage in the bottom of the sixth. However, Perkins countered with his second homer of the series in the top of the seventh, drilling a 0-1 offering from Chris O'Grady over the left field fence, to pull the Rams back within three.
A pair of walks and a single by Cheatham loaded the bases for VCU in the top of the eighth. A run scored on a double play ball by Perkins and Sutherland pulled the Rams within 10-9 on a base hit up the middle.
VCU travels to cross-town rival University of Richmond on Tuesday at 3 p.m., before returning to The Diamond for a CAA series against Northeastern April 15-17.