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JMU roundup: Dukes sweep past Georgia State in softball

Daily Staff Reports - sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG - Senior outfielder Jasmine Butler set the school career hits record and sophomore infielder Sarah Mooney broke the single-season home run record as the James Madison softball team completed a doubleheader sweep over Georgia State at Veterans Memorial Park on Friday. The Dukes won by scores of 7-3 in game one and 5-4 in the nightcap.

JMU tied the school record for wins in a season and in Colonial Athletic Association play as it improved to 38-13 overall and 17-3 in the league. GSU had its 10-game winning streak snapped as it fell to 36-18 and 13-7 in the CAA.

The Dukes remain a half game back of Hofstra in the race for the CAA regular season championship. They need to defeat the Panthers on Saturday and have Hofstra lose to Towson to earn the No. 1 seed and the right to host next week's CAA Championship.

Butler recorded two hits on the day, giving her 228 for her career and breaking the school record for career hits she came into the day sharing with former shortstop Katie George (2004-07). Mooney hit two home runs on the day to pass former shortstop Ashley Burnham's (2009-12) single-season record. Burnham hit 13 in 2011 while Mooney has smacked 14 this season.

Sophomore pitcher Heather Kiefer earned the win in the second game to improve to 14-6 on the season. She allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in a complete-game effort.

Kaitlyn Medlam took the loss for GSU, dropping to 18-7 overall. She gave up five runs, two earned, on seven hits in six innings pitched. The junior struck out four and walked three.

Offensively Madison was paced by freshman catcher Erica Field who went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a run scored. Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath added a hit, a walk, two runs scored and a RBI in three at bats while Mooney went 1-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored.

First baseman Lauren Coleman walked twice, adding a double and a run scored in four plate appearances to lead the Panthers. Shortstop Taylor Anderson contributed a double and a run scored and designated player Brenna Morrissey went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run.

Madison grabbed the lead early in game two as Mooney smashed a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. Heath led off the inning with a single to right field. She stole second and scored as Mooney smoked a line drive over the fence in left-center field. It was the 23rd career home run for the sophomore.

It was also the 43rd home run of the season for the Dukes as a team, setting a new season record for the team. The previous mark of 42 was set in 2007.

GSU came back to tie the score in the top of the second inning. Coleman led off with a double into the gap in left center. She moved to third on a single by Morrissey and scored on a JMU fielding error. A single up the middle by right fielder Audrey Mason scored Morrissey from second to cap the frame.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Dukes capitalized on three Panther fielding errors to score three unearned runs. Field led off the inning with a double and scored on a throwing error by the GSU third baseman. Right fielder Anna Klumpp took advantage of the throwing error to advance all the way to third. She scored on a fielder's choice ground-out by Heath who stole second and scored on GSU's third error of the inning.

The unearned runs proved beneficial as the Panthers scored twice in the seventh and brought the winning run to the plate, before Kiefer got Coleman to pop-out to the shortstop to end the game.

Freshman pitcher Jailyn Ford earned the win in game one becoming the first Madison player in school history to reach 20 wins in a season. She improved to 20-4 after limiting GSU to three runs, two earned, on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. The rookie struck out three and walked four. Kiefer walked two, but recorded the final out of the game in relief.

Katie Worley took the loss for the Panthers to drop to 15-10 on the year. She allowed seven runs, four earned, on seven hits in four innings of work. The right-hander struck out two and did not walk a batter. Eron Milton tossed the two shutout innings of relief, allowing four hits.

The Dukes were paced offensively by Mooney who went 3-for-4 with a home run, three runs and two RBIs. Ford added two hits, including a home run while Heath contributed a home run in four at-bats.

Mason led GSU with two hits and a run scored in three trips to the plate. Coleman went 1-for-1 with a RBI and three walks and second baseman Whitney Phillips went 1-for-2 with a run scored.

JMU jumped out to an early lead on Georgia State, scoring three times in the bottom of the first inning. Heath led off the game with her second career lead-off home run. It was the sophomore's fifth homer of the season and the seventh of her career. The Dukes scored two more unearned runs in the inning as junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy picked up an RBI single and Field drove in one on a sacrifice fly.

Madison added to its lead in the bottom of the third inning on a sacrifice fly from Sandy. Mooney led off the inning with a single that hit off Worley and bounded through the hole on the left side. She stole second and moved to third on a ground-out before scoring on a deep fly ball to right field by Sandy.

Mooney and Ford hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 7-0. Butler started the inning by reaching on a throwing error. Mooney worked a full count before blasting the eighth pitch of the at-bat the other way for a two-run home run. It was the sophomore's 13th homer of the season and the 22nd of her career. Ford followed two pitches later with a solo blast to left field. It was her 13th home run, temporally tying her with Mooney and Burnham for the single-season school record.

Georgia State scored three times in the top of the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate, but Kiefer came in to get the final batter to fly out to center field to complete the win.

JMU and Georgia State wrap up the regular season on Sunday. The teams play a single game starting at 1 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.

Women's lacrosse
TOWSON, Md. -- Hofstra outscored James Madison University 4-1 in the second half en route to a 6-4 win in the Colonial Athletic Association Women's Lacrosse Tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon.

The second-seeded Dukes (11-6) never trailed in the opening half and held a slim 3-2 advantage at halftime. The third-seeded Pride (11-7), however, scored four unanswered goals to build what proved to be an insurmountable 6-3 lead with 5:24 left to play.

Hofstra's Taylor Albright led all players with three goals, and she scored two of them in the Pride's go-ahead surge in the second period. Brittain Altomare finished with a game-high three assists, two of them leading to Albright goals.

Sophomore Steph Finley paced JMU's offense with two goals and an assist. She also had a team-high three ground balls.

The Dukes were bounced from the CAA Tournament in the semifinal round for the first time in four seasons. JMU played in the title game the previous three years, winning the CAA crown in 2010 and 2011.

Hofstra out-shot JMU 20-14 and had 20 ground balls to 12 for the Dukes. JMU controlled eight draws to four for Hofstra, but each team had three draw controls in the second period.

JMU All-CAA sophomore goalkeeper Schylar Healy made eight saves, while Hofstra goalie Kelsey Gregerson finished with four saves, all coming in the second half. Gregerson also had a game-high five ground balls and caused a key turnover with an interception of a JMU pass with 3:56 to play.

Healy also had three ground balls, and JMU's draw control leaders were senior Kelsey MacDonald, redshirt sophomore Kaci Starkloff and sophomore Hannah Verschoore with two each. MacDonald led JMU with two caused turnovers.

Now JMU awaits a possible NCAA at-large bid. The Dukes are among the teams under consideration for the 13 at-large berths in the 26-team NCAA Tournament. The tournament pairings will be revealed in a televised announcement on NCAA.com at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 5.

Hofstra advances to the CAA title match on Sunday, when the Pride will face top-seeded and defending CAA champion Towson in a 1 p.m. game. Towson scored twice in the final three minutes to pull out an 8-7 win over fourth-seeded Drexel in the earlier CAA semifinal game on Friday.


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