By Cody Norman, Staff Writer

The George Mason University baseball team scored 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and forced extra innings in the first of a three-game set against the rival James Madison Dukes, but the Patriots were unable to complete the comeback, losing 21-16 on Friday night at Spuhler Field.

The Patriots kicked off Colonial Athletic Association play on Friday afternoon, with a wild start and finish as the two teams combined for 37 runs and 42 hits.

“That was one for the books,” said Head Coach Bill Brown. “I’ve never seen that before.”

JMU took a comfortable 12-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning before a 10-run frame knotted the contest at 12 apiece. Junior right fielder Shane Davis led off the inning with a single before senior catcher Josh Steinberg brought him home with a double to right-center field.

Mason then loaded the bases for sophomore second baseman Brig Tison, who belted his first homerun of the season and closed the gap to 12-7. The Patriots scored another run and reloaded the bases on three walks and a hit by pitch when Steinberg stepped to the plate and crushed a fastball on full count to deep center field.

Neither team pushed across a run in the ninth inning, but the Dukes went on a hitting spree of their own in the top of the 10th inning.

Trevor Knight led off the inning with the go-ahead solo blast, and Matt Browning and David Herbeck followed with a single and a triple to make it a 14-12 ballgame.

After a walk put two runners on the bases, Billy Logan smashed a back-breaking homerun to open the flood gates in route to a nine-run frame.

Mason recorded four of their own in the bottom of the 10th inning, but fell to the Dukes 21-16 in what shaped up to be a wild finish.

The Patriots struggled on the mound in what turned out to be an extremely chilly afternoon.

Senior ace pitcher Kevin Crum lasted just three innings before he was hit in the right arm by a line drive. He allowed seven earned runs before turning the ball over to sophomore Ryan Pfaeffle.

Pfaeffle surrendered five earned runs in five innings of work and both junior Jack Zeltner and senior Darren McLean allowed four earned. Zeltner picked up his first loss of the season for the Patriots.

Senior shortstop Ryan Soares continued his hot hitting this season as he raised his average to .451 with a 3-for-6 effort at the dish.

Tison was 2-for-6 on the afternoon with four RBIs, and Steinberg, who entered the game as a pinch hitter, got the two big hits in the rally. Senior third baseman Mark Hill extended his hitting streak to 14 games when he singled home a run in the bottom of the 10th inning.

The Dukes got an incredible performance at the plate from Knight, Browning and Herbeck. Madison’s two-three-four hitters were a combined 15-for-20 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

Mason will return to action on Wednesday afternoon as they head to Lynchburg to take on the Liberty Flames at 3 p.m.