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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The James Madison softball team carried a lead into the seventh inning of game two, but Kristen Brown hit walk-off, three-run home run to lift No. 25 North Carolina to a doubleheader sweep over JMU at Anderson Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Wednesday.
North Carolina won game one 6-0 and took the nightcap, 5-3.
The losses were the first on the road for James Madison this season and snapped its eight-game winning streak. The Dukes dropped to 24-9 overall while the Tar Heels won their fourth straight to improve to 28-13.
Lori Spingola earned the win in relief in game two for UNC, limiting the Dukes to one hit in one inning pitched to improve to 18-10. She relieved Ashley Bone, who tossed the first six innings. Bone allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
Sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer took the loss to drop to 8-4. She allowed five runs, but only two of them were earned, on nine hits. Kiefer struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Brown paced the Tar Heel offense, going 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Right fielder Elisha Elliott added two hits in three at-bats, while catcher Amber Parrish went 2-for-4 with a couple of singles.
Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath tied a school record with four hits, going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Sophomore right fielder Sarah Mooney added two hits, including a double, and two RBIs while senior designated player Megan Shinaberry homered in three plate appearances.
Brown decided the game in the seventh with her second home run of the day and her fifth of the year. Kiefer got the first batter of the inning to line out to third, but gave up a single to Parrish in the ensuing at-bat. Pinch hitter Lauren Fuller followed with a chopper to first and the Dukes elected to try to cut down the runner at second. The throw was wild allowing pinch runner Amy Nece to move up the third. It took Brown one pitch to take advantage of the opportunity, driving Kiefer's first offering out to center for the walk-off blast.
JMU opened the scoring in the top of the first, scoring twice. Heath lined the first pitch she saw into the right-center field gap for a double and moved to third on an infield single by senior center fielder Jasmine Butler. Butler moved up to second on a ground-out and both runners came in to score on a single into shallow center by Mooney.
UNC took advantage of three infield singles and a JMU fielding error to tie the score in the bottom of the second. Second baseman Erin Satterfield started the rally with a one-out single to short. After a fielder's choice retired Satterfield at second, left fielder Tisha Mahon beat out an infield single to put two runners on with two out. Pinch hitter Kati Causey hit a chopper to first base that was mishandled for an error and first baseman Jenna Kelly hustled around third to score. Center fielder Aquilla Mateen capped the inning by beating out a bunt single that brought home the tying run.
James Madison regained the lead in the top of the fourth on a solo home run by Shinaberry. It was the senior's second home run of the year and the sixth of her career.
In the first game, UNC became the first team this season to hold JMU without a run, winning 6-0. JMU was done in by six two-out runs, including a pair of home runs.
Spingola earned the win for the Tar Heels to improve to 17-10 this season. She limited Madison to three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Freshman pitcher Jailyn Ford picked up just her second loss of the season to drop to 12-2. She allowed four runs on five hits. The rookie walked two and struck out six in 4 2/3 innings of work. Sophomore Reba DePriest gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Brown again paced the UNC attack, going 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored. Designated player Haleigh Dickey added a home run in three at-bats and Nece went 1-for-2 with a RBI.
Three difference players recorded hits for the Dukes led by freshman second baseman Hannah Hayes who went 1-for-2 with a single. Butler and freshman catcher Erica Field each had a single in three trips to the plate while Ford worked the Dukes' walk.
North Carolina took advantage of a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth to jump ahead of JMU, 2-0. Parrish drew the walk and pinch runner Tisha Mahon moved up to second on a ground-out. Brown brought in the speedy Mahon with a double into the gap in right-center before Nece capped off the frame with a RBI single into shallow right.
The Tar Heels added four more two-out runs in the bottom of the fifth as Dickey launched a solo homer to right-center field. It was the senior's eighth home run of the season and set a new UNC record for career home runs with 39. Parrish followed with a double down the left-field line, chasing Ford from the circle in favor of DePriest.
DePriest gave up an infield single to the first batter she faced before Brown drove a three-run home run out to center field for her fourth four-bagger of the season.
James Madison put a runner on in the top of the seventh with an infield single by Butler, but UNC turned a double play to snuff out any hopes of a comeback.
JMU returns to the Tar Heel State this weekend as it travels to UNCW for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series. The Dukes and Seahawks play a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at noon before concluding play with a noon game on Sunday.
HARRISONBURG -- Following James Madison's first Colonial Athletic Association championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years, head coach Matt Brady was selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as District 10 Co-Coach of the Year.
The NABC honors were selected by member coaches in District 10, which includes the 11 members of the Colonial Athletic Association for the 2012-13 season. Brady shared the honor with Bill Coen, who led Northeastern to the regular season title in the CAA.
JMU's CAA title and NCAA appearance were each the first for the school since 1994. The Dukes had not reached the semifinals of the CAA Tournament since 2001 before advancing past William and Mary 72-67 this year and then defeating Delaware 58-57 on March 10 to reach the championship. James Madison had not advanced to the title game since 1997 but went on to defeat Northeastern 70-57 in one of its best performances of the season. The title earned a spot for the Dukes receiving votes on CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Coaches Poll. JMU finished the season winning 12 of its final 17 games.
In addition to the first NCAA appearance in 19 years, JMU went on to defeat LIU Brooklyn in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio to clinch the program's first NCAA postseason win since 1983. The win gave JMU 21 wins before ultimately finishing at 21-15, tied for the second-most wins in program history. It was Brady's third 21-win season in five years at Madison, giving him three of the top seven win totals in program history. That followed eight consecutive losing seasons for the Dukes.
A noticeable improvement in defense factored into JMU's championship run. The 64.6 points allowed per game ranked as the program's best defensive scoring average since 1984-85, predating the invention of the three-point arc. The Dukes ranked second in the CAA for defensive scoring overall and first during the 18-game league schedule (60.8 points/game). JMU had not ranked higher than eighth in the league in either category in over eight years.
The 36 games played matched a program record set by Brady's first team in 2008-09 that reached the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The team's 11.1 turnovers per game set a program record for fewest by a margin of 1.3 per game. The also set records with 272 steals and 166 blocks with 107 of the swats coming from guards, 47 by Andre Nation, who set a JMU freshman record in both blocks and steals (52) and was a CAA All-Rookie honoree.
JMU was led to the CAA title by a trio of seniors, highlighted by Tournament MVP A.J. Davis, who averaged 20 points per game over the final 12 games of the season. Forward Rayshawn Goins and point guard Devon Moore were each All-CAA selections. Under the tutelage of Brady, a former point guard at Siena, Moore shattered the school record for assists with 502 in his career.