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HARRISONBURG -- Collegiate Baseball newspaper's annual ranking of the nation's best recruiting classes included James Madison for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. The Dukes ranked among the top 100 classes in the nation and were the only representatives of the Colonial Athletic Association in the listing.
The newspaper ranked the top 40 classes in the nation and then listed 62 additional top classes to place the Dukes within the best 102 programs in the nation. JMU's seven listings in the last eight years (2006-08 and 2010-13) are more than the rest of the CAA combined over that stretch. UNCW was honored twice (2011, 2012) while former league members Georgia State (2009, 2010), VCU (2009) and Old Dominion (2010) were also listed while still in the conference.
The batch of newcomers is highlighted by two players selected in June's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and two junior college transfers likely to see immediate contributions. Outfielder Ky Parrott (Herndon/Herndon) was a 26th-round selection of the Milwaukee Brewers while outfielder/first baseman Logan Quimuyog (Lynn Haven, Fla./A. Crawford Mosley) was a 39th-round pick of the New York Mets. Over the summer, the Dukes added transfers in two-way player Kevin Husum (Panama City, Fla./Bay) of Gulf Coast State and right-handed pitcher Taylor Krugh (Edwardsburg, Mich./Marian) of Parkside.
Other newcomers include left-hander/infielder/outfielder Logan Corrigan (Pittsburgh, Pa./Bethel Park), left-handed pitcher Michael Evans (Falls Church, Va./George C. Marshall), pitcher/outfielder Dylan Horne (Staunton/Robert E. Lee), catcher Brian Lawler (Medford, N.J./Shawnee), left-hander James Pearson (Potomac Falls/Potomac Falls) and shortstop Josh Wyatt (Eden, Md./James M. Bennett).
The infusion of fresh talent is further boosted by three players who sat out the 2013 season for the Diamond Dukes. Local native Kyle Weston (Penn Laird/Spotswood) missed a year after transferring from UNC Asheville. First baseman Brett Johnson (Charlottesville/St. Anne's-Belfield) and right-hander Trey Jones (Salisbury, Md./James M. Bennett) each redshirted their true freshman season last year.
JMU is wrapping up its last few weeks of "Fall Ball" preparation for the 2014 season. The new campaign officially begins Feb. 14-16 in Greenville, N.C. with a three-game set at East Carolina.
BLACKSBURG -- Sophomore Cara Wirth went undefeated in both singles and doubles play on day one while redshirt junior Sarah Khan went undefeated in singles to lead the James Madison women's tennis squad on day one of Virginia Tech's three-day Hokie Fall Invite.
Wirth notched her first win of the day in Flight 'B' doubles action alongside senior Ruxandra Andriescu as the duo defeated Radford's Sara Andrade and Gisela Garcia 8-1. The pair hits the court again at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning to take on Pittsburgh's Katherine Castro and Molly Wickman.
In Flight 'C' singles action, Wirth rolled Radford's Taylor Fay 6-1, 6-2 in the opening round before earning the three-set victory (6-0, 0-6, 6-0) over Liberty's Valerie Thong in the quarterfinals. Khan, competing in the same bracket, took down Garcia 6-0, 6-4 in the round-of-16 and posted the come-from-behind win (1-6, 7-5, 6-4) Pittsburgh's Lolade Ogungbesan in the quarterfinals. Wirth and Khan are scheduled to face off on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Khan partnered with freshman Rachel Nelson in the Flight 'A' doubles bracket, falling 8-5 to Liberty's Maria Khval and Belen Rivera. Senior Jacqueline Palmucci and freshman Emily Bradshaw also fell in Flight 'A' doubles action, dropping their match with VCU's Olga Barscheuskaya and Daria Yakauleva 8-3.
Freshman Alex Huie and junior Taylor Pinchoff found success in Flight 'A' doubles as they won 8-3 over Radford's Grace Sarver and Meg Napolitano. Later in the day, both Dukes tallied wins in their round-of-16 match-ups in Flight 'A' singles. Pinchoff battled for the three-set victory over Pittsburgh's Taylor Washington, and Huie picked up the three-set win (6-1, 3-6, 7-6(6)) over Barscheuskaya.
Both fell in the quarterfinal round as Pinchoff lost in two sets (6-2, 6-3) to Virginia Tech's Raluca Mita, and Huie dropped her match with Khval in straight sets (6-1, 6-2).
In Flight 'B' singles, Bradshaw and Nelson both went 1-1 on the first day of competition. Bradshaw won 6-0, 6-2 over Andrade in the round-of-16 before losing 6-1, 6-4 to Marshall's Karli Timko in the quarterfinal round. Nelson earned the 7-5, 6-2 victory over Virginia Tech's Tea Ivanovic before falling 7-6(2), 6-2 to Pittsburgh's Molly Wickman.
Andriescu competed in the Flight 'C' singles bracket where she fell in two sets (6-3, 6-0) to Marshall's Anne Gulsrund and moved on to the consolation side of the bracket. In the consolation quarterfinals, Andriescu retired from her match with Lauren Mabe (Liberty) due to injury after falling 6-2 in the first set.
Palmucci fell in the round-of-16 of Flight 'B' singles to Marshall's Rachael Morales in three sets (4-6, 6-1, 6-4). In the consolation quarterfinals, she was defeated in two sets (6-3, 6-2) by Liberty's Mariely Hassey.
JMU returns to the courts on Saturday for day two of the Hokie Fall Invite. Doubles play begins at 9 a.m. at the Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center in Blacksburg.
HARRISONBURG -- Junior middle blocker Lizzy Briones collected 12 kills, nine blocks and seven digs to help lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-2 win over William & Mary in a wild Colonial Athletic Association opener at Sinclair Gymnasium Friday evening.
JMU won by set scores of 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-14 to improve to 6-8 on the season and 1-0 in the CAA. William & Mary lost its fifth straight to drop to 4-12 and 0-1 in the league.
Briones hit .200 for the match, committing five errors in 35 attack attempts. Three of her nine blocks were solo rejections and the nine total blocks is one shy of her career best. Freshman right side Janey Goodman led the team with 15 kills on .213 hitting. She added three blocks and two digs while sophomore outside hitter MacKenzie Kleespies added 10 kills, 15 digs, seven assists and three blocks.
Redshirt junior Kristi Richardson started at setter and finished with 27 assists, nine digs, six kills and five blocks. Sophomore Sarah Patterson came off the bench to supply 17 assists, 10 digs, two kills and two blocks. Sophomore libero Sierra Hahn-Ventrell led five players in double figure digs with a team-high 16, adding two service aces. Joining Hahn-Ventrell, Kleespies and Patterson in double-figure digs were junior defensive specialist Martha Stewart with 11 and sophomore outside hitter Meghan Niski with 14.