College Notebook: Halligan Overcomes Shaky 1st Inning, Earns Win in GMU Debut


February 28 - Patrick Halligan started and went five innings in his collegiate debut, earning the victory when Logan Driscoll’s RBI single in the top of the sixth gave George Mason the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win at Longwood on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander, a member of the 2018 NOVA Nine Team as a senior at Marshall, allowed three runs while striking out three and not walking a batter. All three runs and four of the Lancers’ five hits off Halligan came in the first inning, including a leadoff home run by Antwaun Tucker. He would settle down in the second, and retired 11 of 12 batters before Tucker’s one-out single in the fifth.

Three relievers - Austin Cabone, Jared Lyons (West Springfield) and James Beasley (Battlefield) - then combined for four scoreless innings as the Patriots (4-2) snapped a two-game skid. Lyons fanned five of the six batters he faced over two perfect frames, and Beasley earned his second save.

“Patrick gave us a quality start in his first appearance as a Patriot,” coach Bill Brown said. “It didn’t start the way we all envisioned, but he stayed composed, worked through the first inning and went on to give us five great innings that put us in position to win the game. His command of the strike zone was excellent and he competed like a veteran, [which is] exactly why we were confident in giving him the start.”

Leadoff man Brady Acker went 3-for-4 with a double to pace the George Mason bats, while third baseman Greg Popatak had his team-leading eighth RBI. The Patriots are scheduled to host Princeton in a three-game series this weekend, though inclement weather is in the forecast.

Dukes’ Harju Continues Torrid Start, Homers in Back-to-Back Games

Brady Harju (Battlefield) homered in his second consecutive game in Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Virginia Military Institute, and the junior transfer has been James Madison’s top offensive player as the Dukes have won seven of their first eight games.

The first baseman is hitting .355 with a .432 on-base percentage, five doubles, two homers and eight RBI in his first season with James Madison after transferring from Frederick (MD) Community College. He has hit safely in six of eight games and has recorded four multi-hit games.

Junior right-hander Kevin Kelly (Paul VI Catholic) also continued his hot start, fanning seven while allowing two unearned runs over seven innings in Friday’s 5-3 win over visiting Lafayette. Kelly enters the weekend 2-0 with 14 strikeouts and has yet to permit an earned run in 11 innings.

The Dukes will get a big test this weekend, when they travel for a three-game series at No. 14 Louisville.

Player of the Week: Jake Agnos, East Carolina (Battlefield)

Jake Agnos matched his career high with 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in Saturday’s 10-0 win over Monmouth and has been named the magazine’s Collegiate Player of the Week, sponsored by Northern Virginia Orthodontics.

The left-hander, who was named the American Athletic Conference’s Pitcher of the Week, scattered four hits, walked only one and struck out at least one batter in each of his seven frames in his second start of the season. Agnos is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11 innings, and will likely start on Saturday against Wright State as the Pirates host the LeClair Classic this weekend.

At Battlefield, Agnos went 18-0 over his final two seasons while totaling 265 strikeouts in 129.1 innings. He was named the NOVA Nine Player of the Year as a senior in 2016.

News & Notes: Zach Tsakounis (St. John’s), a native of Arlington, struck out seven while limiting Virginia to one run on four hits over 6.1 innings of relief in William & Mary’s 9-3 victory in Charlottesville on Tuesday. … Andrew Suppa (Robinson) allowed a run but was able to get the final three outs to record the save in No. 7 Christopher Newport’s 4-3 win over visiting No. 4 Randolph-Macon on Tuesday. Mike Nickles (Colonial Forge) homered for the Yellow Jackets. … Wade Strain (Lake Braddock) struck out six while allowing one run on one hit over five innings on Friday for William & Mary (5-1), but his bullpen was unable to hold the lead in a 7-3 loss to Sacred Heart. … Jonathan Mahoney (Woodbridge) had nine strikeouts and allowed two unearned runs over seven innings, earning a no-decision in Norfolk State’s 4-3 loss to visiting NJIT on Sunday. The 6-foot-8 right-hander has recorded a 3.46 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 innings this spring. … This weekend, Mary Washington (1-1) is scheduled to host New Rochelle (N.Y.) for a three-game series beginning tomorrow, while incoming forecasted weather has forced Marymount (1-4) to cancel Saturday’s home doubleheader with Western Connecticut State. The Eagles’ home game on Sunday against Gettysburg remains scheduled for 1 p.m.

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 Patrick Halligan by Jane Davis