By Brian T. Chan, Sports Editor

Senior starting pitcher Becky Anderson continued her mastery over Maryland schools. In her latest outing, Anderson had a no-hit bid with two outs in the fifth inning, but was unable to register her second no-hitter of the season.

Regardless, the George Mason University softball team went on to sweep the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks on Wednesday at the George Mason Softball Complex by a score of 8-0 in both games.

The Patriots snapped a six-game losing streak to improve to 11-16 on the season while the Hawks fell to 1-17. After losing her last two decisions, Anderson was back in the win column, improving to 4-3 on the season.

While Anderson was dominant throughout the first game of the doubleheader, the Mason offense was looking to respond after an abysmal showing in its last five games, having been shut out in four of those games.

The team entered the day with just one run in the past 33 innings and struggled in the early going as they were blanked in the first two innings on Wednesday.

The Patriots ended their misery as they put up four runs in the third inning and never looked back.

Freshman third baseman Megan Blank led off the inning with an infield single and later scored on a two-out single from freshman catcher Emily Lafferty. Mason added three unearned runs in the inning to push the lead to 4-0.

Blank got on with a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth inning and stole second base. Sophomore shortstop Rachael Davies drove Blank in with a single to center field.

Sophomore first baseman Katie Rynex singled, advancing Davies to third base. Mason had both runners in scoring position as Rynex swiped second base, achieving her third steal of the season.

Lafferty singled up the middle, scoring both runners and extending Mason’s lead to 7-0. Junior left fielder Stephanie Strother added Mason’s eighth run with an RBI groundout.

Anderson allowed a hit batsmen in the first four innings and was seeking her second career no-hitter. After inducing a groundball from senior catcher Ashley Johnson and recording her sixth strikeout of the game on junior center fielder Kyrus Whitehurst, the Hawks sent freshman pinch hitter Shanice Crowder to the plate to end Anderson’s no-hit bid.

On a 1-0 pitch, Crowder hit the ball to third base side and reached first base safely.

The Patriots sealed the deal as Hawks sophomore first baseman Britney McLeod, who re-entered the game after the Crowder single, was caught stealing.

Lafferty revved the Mason offense with two hits and three RBIs and scored two runs. Each of the first seven hitters in the lineup recorded a hit. Blank and Rynex each went 1-for-2 with two runs.

Sophomore starting pitcher Miranda Cranford took the hill in the second game and threw a solid two-hit shutout to earn her fourth win of the season.

Cranford struck out two batters without issuing a walk. While Cranford starred on the mound, the offense backed her with run support.

Mason jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double from Rynex. The Patriots added two runs in the third and fourth frames.

Rynex again was part of a run-scoring play as she singled up the middle to score sophomore second baseman Tori Dudley from second base.

Rynex easily scored on a triple from Blank. Sophomore center fielder Alyssa See registered an RBI on a fielder’s choice, and Rynex drove her third run of the game with a sacrifice fly.

The Patriots scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as See’s two-run single capped the sweep. Mason won back-to-back for the first time since March 21.

Freshman third baseman Jacqueline Harris had a tremendous second collegiate game as she recorded her first hit of her career in the second inning, a single to left field.

Harris later singled to center field in the fourth inning and scored the first run in Mason’s three-run fifth inning. Harris also recorded four assists on defense.

Rynex led the offense with a 2-for-2 and three-RBI day, and See added three RBIs to provide the offensive spark. Freshman right fielder Samantha Barney contributed two hits to the Patriots’ hit parade.

Mason scored eight runs and recorded eight hits in both games on Wednesday. The Patriots were helped by a plethora of miscues from the Hawks.

Sophomore pitcher Inde Whitehurst and junior pitcher Ebony Hahn had two wild pitches apiece, and Johnson was unable to prevent a total of five passed balls in the game.

The Patriots hosted the Towson Tigers over the weekend, splitting the doubleheader on Saturday.