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JMU roundup: Dukes' Mooney named CAA's Player of the Year


Daily Staff Report - sports@nvdaily.com

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Sophomore utility player Sarah Mooney became the third player in school history to be named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year and freshman pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford was tabbed as the conference's Rookie of the Year to headline seven Dukes earning All-CAA honors as announced Tuesday evening at the league's annual awards banquet on the eve of the 2013 CAA Softball Championship.

JMU has had the CAA Player of the Year in three of the past four seasons as Mooney joined former shortstop Ashley Burnham (2010 & 2012) and former first baseman Jenn Chavez (2007) as winners of the league's top honor. Mooney was also one of three Dukes named to the All-CAA First Team on Tuesday. She was joined by Ford who made the First Team at both first base and pitcher and senior center fielder Jasmine Butler.

Junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy, sophomore outfielder Morgan Heath and sophomore pitcher Heather Kiefer were all named All-CAA Second Team while Ford and freshman catcher Erica Field garnered All-Rookie team selections.

Mooney, who was Second Team All-CAA in 2012 as a freshman, orchestrated one of the best offensive seasons in school history by hitting .414 with a .758 slugging percentage and a .453 on-base percentage. She added school records with 15 home runs and 63 RBIs to go with 40 runs, nine doubles, 13 walks and 15 stolen bases. The Huntersville, N.C., native became the second player since 2006 to win the CAA Triple Crown while starting at five positions in the field for the Dukes. In CAA play, Mooney raised her game by hitting .456 with seven home runs, 20 runs scored and 27 RBIs.

Ford joins Kiefer and Lauren Curtis (2003) as the only players in school history to be named the CAA Rookie of the Year. She contributed both offensively and in the circle for Madison, hitting .392 with 25 extra-base hits, 34 runs scored and 43 RBIs. The rookie added 11 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 15 walks and nine stolen bases. As a pitcher she went 21-4 with a save and a 1.65 ERA in 26 starts. Ford added 18 complete games, eight shutouts, 189 strikeouts in 157 innings pitched. The left-hander set 16 school records in her first year with Madison, including single-season wins and strikeouts, as well as single-game strikeouts (16, twice) and 12 different rookie records. In CAA play, Ford went 11-2 with a 1.41 ERA to go with a .450 batting average, eight home runs and 22 RBIs.

Butler was named First Team All-CAA for the second time in her career, finishing the year hitting .358 with a team-best 47 runs and a school record 40 steals. The Winter Garden, Fla., native added two doubles, two triples, a home run, seven RBIs, 13 walks and six sacrifice bunts during her senior season. This season she set a school record for career hits with 230 and career multi-hit games with 66.

Sandy was named All-CAA for third time on Tuesday, adding it to her First Team accolade in 2011 and Second Team honor from 2012. The junior moved from third base to shortstop and hit .347 with 23 RBIs and 18 runs scored in 50 games started. She added five doubles, two triples and three home runs to go with 13 steals, four walks, three sacrifice hits and a sacrifice fly. She also had 66 putouts and 93 assists against just 12 errors for a .930 fielding percentage. Sandy hit .393 with 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored in CAA play this season.

Kiefer collects Second Team accolades after being named First Team All-CAA and CAA Rookie of the Year in 2012. She went 14-6 with a save and a 1.16 ERA in 25 appearances this year. The right-hander limited her opponents to a .207 batting average, adding 14 complete games, four shutouts, 57 strikeouts and just 22 walks in 126 2/3 innings pitched. She raised her game in CAA play by going 7-1 with a 0.88 ERA and a .174 opponent's batting average in eight starts and 12 appearances against league foes.

Heath hit .308 with 10 doubles and five home runs on her way to being named to the Second Team after being named to the First Team as a freshman in 2012. She contributed 37 runs, 20 RBIs, 15 walks and 21 steals in 52 games played.

Field garnered All-Rookie recognitions after hitting .339 with a .439 slugging percentage and a .350 on-base percentage during her inaugural season. She also collected a team-best 14 doubles, one home run, 32 RBIs and 29 runs scored to go with 10 steals, four sacrifice flies and five walks. In CAA play, the Manassas, Va., native hit .338 with eight doubles 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

The four first teamers and seven overall selections is the second most in school history for Madison, trailing only the 2007 team that had five first-teamers and eight overall honorees. Only one other time (2012) has JMU had more than two All-CAA First Team choices.

Baseball

North Carolina 9, JMU 5

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Designated hitter Landon Lassiter went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two walks to pace North Carolina to a 9-5 win over James Madison in a non-conference baseball game on Tuesday evening at Boshamer Stadium.

JMU fell to 20-24 overall while UNC improved the nation's best record to 43-4.

The Tar Heels grabbed the early lead with four in the first and built the advantage to 7-0 before JMU struck for five runs in the seventh inning. UNC recovered to plate two of its own in the bottom of the frame and held off the Dukes for the 9-5 win.

Both teams had ample base runners in the game as JMU drew 10 walks to go with six hits and a hit batter, while UNC drew 12 walks to accompany eight hits and a hit batter. The teams combined to strand 23 runners on the bases, including 12 for JMU.

Starter Hobbs Johnson limited JMU to one hit in five innings to improve to 4-0. Trent Thornton tossed the final 1 2/3 innings to pick up his fourth save. Sophomore right-hander Patrick Toohers took the loss for JMU after allowing five runs on five hits and five walks in 2 2/3 innings.

Lassiter finished the day 3-for-3 in the two hole with two doubles, two runs, two walks, three RBIs and a stolen base. Cody Stubbs doubled in a pair of runs and lifted a sacrifice fly to drive in three as well. Second baseman Mike Zolk was 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.

Senior Bradley Shaban entered the game as a pinch hitter and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a double. Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia hit his 15th double in his return from a brief injury hiatus.

UNC took command early as third baseman Colin Moran delivered an RBI single three batters into the game. Stubbs drove in two with a double Parks Jordan padded the lead with an RBI single to make it 4-0.

The Tar Heels built the lead further to 7-0 with runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Zolk poked an RBI double in the third, Stubbs picked up a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Lassiter singled in a run in the fifth.

After multiple missed opportunities to capitalize on walks, JMU's offense finally broke through in the seventh. Two walks and a single loaded the bases. Senior outfielder Colby Roberts pushed across the first Dukes' run with one of his three walks in the game. Sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll made it 7-2 with a sacrifice fly. A walk reloaded the bases and a wild pitch scored a third run. Shaban then delivered a two-run single to close it to 7-5.

After JMU's scoring eruption, UNC set the table with two walks and made it 9-5 on Lassiter's two-run double into the corner in right.

JMU and UNC will close the two-game set Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at Boshamer.



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