"We have done a real good job in close games this year," stated Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos. "It's always good to be in close games and even better to be 9-2 in one-run contests. I hope we can keep on doing it."
Kostacopoulos added, "Today was a back-and-forth game. The best part of today was the fact that our offense woke up. We had struggled in our last six games, but we got 18 hits today. Our bats really hit the ball hard and a lot of guys got into the act. We really had great balance in our lineup from the top to the bottom. Everyone contributed to today's victory."
With the score tied at nine after nine innings, sophomore Mitch Harris (Mt. Holly, N.C.) delivered a one-out single through the left side. Senior Jared Munde (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.) followed with a single to right that moved Harris to third. Munde stole second on a strikeout to set the stage for McGinn, who sent the 1-0 offering into the gap in left-center to plate both runners.
George Mason rallied from a three-run deficit in the eighth to force extra innings. Chris Romanow led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a Scott Krieger walk. Romanow moved to third on a foul flyout to right, then scored on a fielding error, allowing Krieger to advance to third and eventually would score on a wild pitch. With the score at 9-8 and Brett Pomykala standing on second with two outs, Brent Weiss sent a single through the right side. Pomykala rounded third and tried to score on the play, but McGinn fired a throw home on the fly to nail the runner at the plate and preserve the one-run lead.
After the Mids went down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, the Patriots tied the game in the bottom half of the inning on a Robby Jacobsen solo home run to right center.
Navy never trailed on the afternoon, scoring the first run over the day on a RBI-groundout from sophomore Thomas Hamilton (Houston, Texas) in the first. The Mids tacked on another run in the third, courtesy of a McGinn run-scoring single to make the score 2-0.
After the host Patriots knotted the ballgame at two in the bottom of the third, Navy crossed the plate twice in the fourth. Harris ripped a two-out, two-run double to score senior Jonathan Johnston (Hamilton Township, N.J.) and Hamilton to re-take the lead at 4-2.
George Mason tied the game for the second time in the game, plating two runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the contest at four. Once again, Navy responded to take the lead, this time scoring four unanswered runs over the next two innings. Freshman Joshua Martinez (Denver, Colo.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Senior team captain D.J. Faldowski (Washington, Pa.) singled through the left side to push Martinez to second with one out. Junior Dominic Lopez (Quincy, Mich.) followed with a single down the right-field line to score Martinez, while Faldowski reached third and Lopez advanced to second on the throw to the plate. Sophomore Renaldo Hollins (Virginia Beach, Va.) knocked home both runners as he legged out a double to right-center to give Navy a 7-4 cushion.
Navy tacked on a run in the sixth as Faldowski singled in Martinez from third with two outs to push the advantage to 8-4. The Patriots answered with two runs on back-to-back-to-back hits to cut the deficit in half at 8-6.
After a scoreless seventh for both teams, Martinez belted his first-career home run, a solo shot to left-center, with two outs in the eighth to extend Navy's lead to 9-6.
Six Midshipmen recorded multi-hit performances on Tuesday to out-hit their hosts, 18-13. McGinn tallied four hits for the second time in 2006 and tied his career high with three RBIs. Faldowski went 3-for-5 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to five games, during which he has hit at a .600 (9-for-15) clip. Martinez produced three hits and scored three times, including his home run in the eighth.
"Ryan (McGinn) has made some great adjustments," said Kostacopoulos. "He has really come around since the Service Academy Classic. Heâ€™s been a big key offensively, stringing the middle of the lineup together."
Johnston registered a 2-for-6 effort at the plate and stole his 23rd base of the year to move into sole possession of third place on the program's single-season stolen base list. Harris and Munde also chipped in with two hits apiece.
Senior southpaw reliever Ryan Hefner (Creve Coeur, Ill.) picked up his fourth win of the year despite giving up three hits and three runs, including the game-tying home run in the ninth, in 2.1 innings out of the bullpen. Hefner came in the seventh and stranded two runners with the go-ahead run at the plate on a groundout to get out of the inning.
Making only his third-career appearance out of the bullpen, sophomore Mark McCoy (Parkland, Fla.) picked up his first-career save with a scoreless inning of work in the 10th. McCoy struck out two without yielding a hit or walk after his 8.2-inning, 91-pitch showing on Friday against Princeton.
Freshman right-handed starter Matt White (Yorba Linda, Calif.) did not factor into the decision on Tuesday, working on a limited pitch count. White gave up two runs and struck out two in 2.2 innings on the hill, throwing 62 pitches on the afternoon.
Navy returns to action with a doubleheader against Holy Cross at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium in Annapolis to begin Patriot League play. First pitch is scheduled for 12 noon.