February 15 - Last year, it took nine games for George Mason to earn its first victory. The Patriots made sure there was no such wait this season, beating Iowa, 7-2, to open their 2019 campaign earlier today at Heritage Park in Kissimmee, FL.
Junior starter Jared DiCesare (Chantilly) allowed two runs on six hits over six innings to earn the decision, junior catcher Logan Driscoll (Lake Braddock) hit a two-run home run and senior third baseman Greg Popatak had a three-run double to provide the game’s final margin in the first of three games this weekend.
James Beasley (Battlefield), a junior transfer from Frederick Community College, struck out three and scattered two hits over three scoreless innings to earn the save in his debut with the Patriots. The trio of DiCesare, Driscoll and Beasley were three of six Northern Virginia natives to take the field for coach Bill Brown’s club: sophomore second baseman Daniel Brooks (Spotsylvania), sophomore right fielder Scott Morgan (Woodbridge) and freshman left fielder Jared Lyons (West Springfield) were in the starting lineup.
George Mason will play Marshall tomorrow at 2 p.m. and Villanova on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Heritage Park, which served as the spring training home of the Houston Astros from 1985-2016.
Local Hurlers Kelly, Stewart, Williams Projected Starters for JMU’s Opening Weekend
James Madison’s game notes for its weekend home series against Norfolk State had three area natives - junior Kevin Kelly (Paul VI Catholic), sophomore Nick Stewart (Rock Ridge) and senior left-hander Joe Williams (Battlefield) - listed as its probable starting pitchers for this weekend’s season-opening series against Norfolk State.
Kelly and Stewart are coming off impressive 2018 campaigns, posting ERAs of 3.74 and 2.86, respectively, over a combined 23 starts. Williams will be making his debut with the Dukes, having sat out last spring after transferring from George Mason.
Four natives of Northern Virginia were in James Madison’s lineup this afternoon, junior left fielder Fox Semones (C.D. Hylton), freshman second baseman Kyle Novak (Madison), junior catcher Michael Morgan (Paul VI Catholic) and junior first baseman Brady Harju (Battlefield).
Schroeder Draws Bases-Loaded Walk in Debut as No. 6 UNC Tops Grammes, Xavier
Will Schroeder (Freedom-South Riding) drew a pinch-hit bases-loaded walk as No. 6 North Carolina beat Xavier, 12-3, in the season opener for both teams earlier today.
The freshman infielder was making his debut with the Tar Heels, who are hosting a three-game series with the Musketeers this weekend.
Xavier’s two-way standout, junior Conor Grammes (McLean), had mixed results as his team’s opening day starter and No. 3 hitter. Grammes went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base, but was touched up for six runs (five earned) in 3.2 innings to take the loss.
Eagles Open Season With Sunday Twinbill vs. Widener at Nationals Youth Academy
Marymount will open its sixth season under coach Frank Leoni when the Eagles host Widener (PA) in a Sunday doubleheader beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Nationals Youth Academy in Washington, D.C.
Entering its first year in the new Atlantic East Conference, Marymount is seeking its first winning season since 2016. The Eagles, who were picked to finish fifth in the conference, went 13-23 last year and 20-21 in 2017 after setting a program record with 23 wins in 2016.
Leoni, the former skipper at Division I programs Rhode Island and William & Mary, is entering his 26th season as a collegiate head coach.
Sponsor: The magazine’s College Notebook is sponsored by the R&D Baseball Academy. For more information on the academy, visit its website at www.rdbaseballacademy.com.
Photo of Jared DiCesare courtesy of George Mason Athletics