Sophomore Nick Allen (2) hitting against James Madison University. Photo by Peter Flint

Baseball is a game of failure. It is a game in which one can be considered great while failing more than 65 percent of the time. And it is a game that teaches its players to learn from mistakes and get back on the proverbial horse after one has been kicked in the teeth.

At several points during this baseball season, the Patriots have found themselves trailing in games and have been forced to learn to play from behind. Until this weekend against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, George Mason has struggled to come away with victories after falling behind.

“To an extent it is a sign of youth,” Coach Bill Brown said. “But sometimes it’s maturity. We were solid yesterday on the mound but today we kind of hit the skids.”

Coming into the weekend, the Patriots had lost six of seven games decided by one run. And the weekend began in a similar tune for the green and gold.

Mason fell behind 2-0 early in the ballgame but were able to claw back and send the game into extra innings. Unfortunately for the Patriots, though, they were unable to use their momentum to take down VCU, who earned the victory 3-2 in 11 innings.

“You just can’t play from behind constantly,” Coach Bill Brown said. “It’s too taxing on your pitching staff because you’re using way too many guys. You really start rifling through your bullpen.”

In game two of their Saturday double-header, the Patriots fell behind 4-0 after one inning and seemed to be on track to follow a similar storyline as their previous match-up.

Behind a 3-hit performance from junior shortstop Brig Tison, however, Mason was able to fight back and pull off an exciting 5-4 win in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“When you’re a team that is struggling and searching for some answers, you’re always looking for something positive to feed off of,” Brown said. “And when you get a walk-off win, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

In Sunday’s series-deciding match-up, Mason allowed the Rams to strike first and fell behind 2-0 after the first inning. They responded with a three-run effort in the bottom of the second to pull ahead.
They were outscored 9-0 in the final three innings, eventually losing the ballgame by a final score of 15-10.

“This week, we had to play five games in five days and, eventually, it’s going to catch up with you,” Brown said. “And [on Sunday] it did.”

After a slow start to their 2011 campaign, the Patriots have improved with every game and continue to progress toward a quality baseball team in the Colonial Athletic Association.

“There were some really good things that happened [this weekend],” Brown said. “But, unfortunately, they get overshadowed by the final score.”