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Fifteen-hit performance powers 10-3 win

Werman, Gragnani each rack up three hits; O

The No. 2 Virginia baseball team used a three-run third inning to overcome a 2-1 deficit and defeat George Mason 10-3 yesterday night at Davenport Field.

The Cavaliers racked up 15 hits on the game, scoring in five different innings. Their accomplishment, however, is not one to be taken lately.

"George Mason's got a good ball club with 23 wins on the year," coach Brian O'Connor said. "I felt like we came out and really swung the bats aggressively and took the fight to them."

Virginia (31-9, 12-6 ACC) scored the contest's first run during the bottom of the opening inning when sophomore third baseman Steven Proscia slammed a triple off the left-center field wall at the 377-foot mark, scoring freshman shortstop Chris Taylor in the process.

George Mason (23-12, 7-5 CAA) tied the ball game in the third when sophomore center fielder Jeremy Haas bunted junior catcher Brett Hendricks home and reached first on a throwing error by Proscia. The Patriots surged ahead when sophomore Brig Tison hit into a double play but plated sophomore right fielder Dan Schafferman.

The Cavaliers regained the lead in their half of the third with a three-run inning. With the bases loaded, Proscia tied the game with an RBI-fielder's choice that scored sophomore second baseman Keith Werman. Junior center fielder Jarrett Parker, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs on the game, then launched a two-RBI triple to the warning track in center field, giving the Cavaliers a 4-2 lead.

"I'm just trying to be aggressive," Parker said, noting that he is continuing to adjust to batting in the middle of the lineup after having lead off last year. "I've been seeing a lot more pitches lately. It's definitely an adjustment but that's what the game's about, and I think I've done a pretty good job of it."

Virginia added two more runs during the fourth to go up 6-2 as freshman first baseman Reed Gragnani and Werman picked up RBIs. Werman, who recorded three hits and an RBI, competed against his brother, former Cavalier Kyle Werman, who is now an assistant on the George Mason staff.

"Kyle Werman was one of those key components to help us build this program," O'Connor said. "He was a great player and a good friend. He was on my coaching staff here for one year. It was cool to see him get to compete against his brother - that was neat."

Gragnani, meanwhile, saw his first significant action after having been out of commission for three weeks because of his injury.

"I was just happy to get back into the flow of things," Gragnani said. "I've been chomping at the bit to get back in there and help my team out."

The freshman belted a two-RBI single to left field in the fifth inning to make it an 8-2 ball game, giving the Cavalier bullpen plenty of breathing room to seal the win.

"I was excited to see Reed swing the bat well," O'Connor said. "Before he got injured, he was swinging the bat well for us. I just felt like tonight was a good opportunity to get him back on track so we can have some more options."

The Virginia bullpen did most of the work on the night, as five pitchers worked six innings. Sophomore righty Justin Thompson (2-0) earned the win with 2.2 innings of relief work starting in the fourth inning, striking out four and giving up only one hit.

"I thought Justin Thompson threw the ball really well tonight," O'Connor said. "He got the game under control - it was tight there. He went out and pitched very aggressively and made the pitches he needed and showed the depth of that bullpen that we have."

Freshman starter Whit Mayberry rebounded from his subpar performance at VMI last week with a solid outing, pitching three innings while striking out one and giving up two runs on four hits. Virginia took the lead in the third inning of the game after Mayberry's final inning of work, but he did not earn the win because he did not technically throw enough innings.

"I thought Whit went out there and threw the ball pretty well," O'Connor said. "My plan going into the game was to chop it up and get a lot of guys some work. I would've liked to have seen him - in that third inning - hit his spots and make some better pitches. He didn't but he did a nice job and got us off to a good start."

The victory against Mason follows up on Virginia's Tuesday defeat of Richmond 11-3, during which the Cavaliers used a five-run third inning to break open a 1-0 lead and go up 6-0. The Spiders issued 16 walks to the Cavaliers, who needed only seven hits to coast to victory.

Next up, the Cavaliers head back to league play with a three-game series at Maryland that starts Friday.