Posted March 3, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

JMU roundup: Giggetts sparks Dukes to win

Daily Staff Reports - sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- Sophomore forward Toia Giggetts scored a season-high 15 points to pace the James Madison University women's basketball team to its 20th win, a 67-56 victory over visiting George Mason, in Colonial Athletic Association play Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.

The Dukes improved to 20-9 overall as JMU posted its eighth consecutive 20-win season, a school record. JMU is 14-3 in CAA play and is in second place in the CAA standings behind league-leading Delaware (17-0). JMU will play a third-place (13-4) Drexel team in both teams' regular-season finale at Drexel on March 6, and the winner of that game will earn the number two seed in the league tournament.

Mason's record is 9-19 overall and 4-13 in the CAA.

Giggetts, who did not miss a shot (6-6 FG, 3-3 FT), was one of four Dukes to score in double figures. Junior guard Kirby Burkholder turned in her eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Senior guard Tarik Hislop also scored 14, and redshirt freshman guard Jazmon Gwathmey added 12 points. Burkholder also had four assists and four steals.

Mason redshirt senior forward Joyous Tharrington scored a game-high and career-high 23 points. Senior guard/forward Amber Easter was the only other Patriot to score in double figures as she finished with 15 points. Senior guard Rahneeka Saunders led Mason with nine rebounds.

The opening half had 10 lead changes, including six in the final six minutes.

JMU led by as many as 10 (18-8 at 12:34) in the opening half, but Mason then outscored the Dukes 16-5 and took a 24-23 lead on a Tharrington jumper with 5:46 left.

JMU held a slim 31-30 lead at halftime, with the final points of the half scored after Burkholder made a steal and a layup with 1:53 left.

The Dukes were able to maintain the advantage over the Patriots the rest of the way.

In the second period the Dukes used a 13-3 run to go up by 11, 48-37, with 12:58 to play. That was JMU's biggest lead to that point.

Mason scored the next six points on a three-point play by Tharrington and a 3-pointer by junior guard Cierra Strickland to close the margin to five, 48-43, at 12:19.

JMU then outscored Mason 9-1 in a span of 2:09 to lead 57-44 with 8:35 to play. Burkholder led JMU with five of the nine points on a 3-pointer and a run-finishing steal and layup. After that Mason got no closer than eight, the last time 62-54 with 2:47 left.

The game drew a season-high 3,915 fans, the 18th-highest attendance in school history.

HARRISONBURG - Freshman catcher Bobby San Martin lifted a two-out, two-run blast to left field to cap a wild back-and-forth finish and make James Madison an 11-9 winner in 11 innings over Hartford, completing a four-game weekend baseball sweep on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

JMU improved to 6-6 overall with its longest winning streak since taking 10 in a row late in the 2011 season. It is also Madison's first four-game sweep since opening the 2011 campaign by taking four against Bucknell. Hartford fell to 0-8.

Senior second baseman Casey Goss started the 11th with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout for two outs, San Martin drilled a two-ball, one-strike offering from Alex Gouin over the fence in left for the instant win. The rookie now has two home runs among his three career hits after also homering Saturday against the Hawks for his first collegiate hit.

The scenario was set up thanks to a five-run rally by Hartford in the ninth. The Dukes led 8-3 heading into the final inning before the Hawks loaded the bases with one out on a walk, an error and an infield single. Consecutive walks and hit batters plated two to make it 8-5. A passed ball and an RBI groundout by catcher James Alfonso made it a one-run game. Down to their final out, JMU appeared to grab the win on a popup to the left side of the infield. However, the ball landed safely between the third baseman and shortstop for an error to allow the tying run to score.

Freshman right-hander Mark Gunst worked the 11th to pick up his first collegiate victory. Redshirt sophomore Michael Howerton allowed three runs in six innings as the starter and turned over a 6-3 lead to the bullpen. Sophomore left-hander Aaron Hoover retired six in order before running into the ninth-inning trouble with the aid of two errors.

Gouin (0-2) took the loss after entering in the 11th and allowing two runs on the one hit, San Martin's round tripper. Starter Ryan Lukach allowed six runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings and was chased in the midst of a six-run second for the Dukes. Brian Murphy and Jeremy Charles combined for 5 1/3 innings of two-hit relief to give the Hawks the chance to rally.

Six Dukes had multiple hits in JMU's 15-hit attack with San Martin going 2-for-2 as a late substitution. Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia had two hits and two RBIs. Sophomore right fielder Chad Carroll doubled and tripled. Goss had two hits, a walk and scored three times. Junior catcher Nick Merullo had a three-run double.

Second baseman Trey Stover was 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs to lead Hartford's 13-hit effort. First baseman Brady Sheetz was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs. Left fielder Adam Touhey, center fielder Chris DelDebbio and right fielder Brian Estevez also had multiple hits.

Both teams had chances to claim the win prior to San Martin's shot. JMU put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the ninth as Carroll doubled and Goss reached on an infield single. However, a fouled attempt at a bunt with two strikes and a groundout ended the inning to send the game to extra innings.

Hartford mounted a two-out rally in the 10th to take its first lead of the game. With a runner on first, Stover singled through the left side to move shortstop Aaron Wilson into scoring position. Sheetz followed by dropping a single into center field to score Wilson with the go-ahead run.

Facing the possibility of defeat, JMU staged its own two-out rally in the bottom of the frame. With nobody on base, junior third baseman Ty McFarland and junior designated hitter Conner Brown singled on consecutive pitches to put runners on the corners. Tenaglia then singled to right on a 2-1 pitch to score the tying run and keep the Dukes alive.

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