JMU roundup: Dukes fall in baseball to St. John’s

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

QUEENS, N.Y. – Starter Ryan McCormick worked seven innings and St. John’s held on for the 4-2 win after striking for three runs in the third to complete the three-game sweep of James Madison on Sunday afternoon at Kaiser Stadium.

SJU won its 10th game in a row, all at home, to improve to 13-10 and won for the 21st straight time at home. JMU fell to 8-14.

JMU sophomore starter Mark Gunst suffered the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits while working a career-best 6 2/3 innings.

In a game featuring eight total hits between the teams, McCormick limited JMU to two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings to improve to 3-1. Joe Kuzia earned his second save in as many days with two perfect innings of relief and three strikeouts.

Senior third baseman Ty McFarland tripled and supplied the only RBI of the game for the Dukes. Right fielder Zach Lauricella had two of the four Red Storm hits. Catcher Tyler Sanchez had an RBI, walk, hit and two runs scored.

The Dukes grabbed the lead in the second as junior center fielder Kevin Husum singled and scored on McFarland’s triple to right center. McFarland then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

A single, walk and sacrifice bunt put two in scoring position for St. John’s in the bottom of the third with one out.

The Dukes were unable to mount much further damage. After a leadoff double in the fourth, McCormick retired 10 in a row until a single and a walk in the seventh. Bret Dennis then lifted a sacrifice fly to center that was dropped for an error. Both runners scored on the play with Dennis advancing all the way to third. He scored one batter later on a wild pitch to put the Red Storm ahead 3-2.

St. John’s added an insurance run in the seventh as Sanchez went down in the zone to drive a solo shot to left field and make it 4-2.

JMU returns home Tuesday to host Radford at 4 p.m.

HARRISONBURG – Freshman Taylor Newton broke a 1-1 tie with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning as James Madison completed a sweep of Hofstra with a 2-1 win Sunday in Colonial Athletic Association softball action.

The Dukes improved to 22-9 overall and 3-0 in the conference with the first-ever sweep of Hofstra by any team in the CAA. The Pride dropped to 13-6 overall and 0-3 in the CAA, losing a conference series for the first time since 2006.

Sophomore left-hander Jailyn Ford went the distance in the circle to pick up the win for Dukes. She gave up one run on four hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out six. She improved to 12-5 on the season. Morgan Lashley took the loss for the Pride, giving up two runs on four hits and one walk, while striking out three. She fell to 9-2 overall.

After three hitless innings by both teams, James Madison struck first with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore catcher Erica Field got things going with a leadoff single. Freshman Caitlin Viafora, a pinch-runner for Field, then advanced to third on back-to-back singles by senior Caitlin Sandy and Ford that loaded the bases with no outs. Lashley gave up a sacrifice fly by Newton to make the score 1-0, but was able to work her way out of any further trouble.

The Pride responded with a game-tying run in the top of the fifth inning. Maggie Hawkins led off with a single and would later score on a double to the right-center field gap by Ashley Ainbinder.

With two outs and the score still tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Newton sent an 0-1 pitch well over the left-center field fence for her fifth home run of the season. It was also her third home run in two games.

Following a strikeout and flyout in the top of the seventh inning, Ainbinder came through again for Hofstra with her second double of the game. But Ford stranded her at second with a strikeout to end the game.

Since starting the season at 8-8, JMU has won 14 of its past 15 games. The Dukes will look to keep things going when they travel to Virginia Tech for a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Men’s golf
WILLIAMSBURG – The James Madison men’s golf team is currently tied for eighth after the first round of the 2014 Middleburg Bank Intercollegiate, March 23. The three-day, 54-hole tournament, hosted by William & Mary, is being played at the Kingsmill Resort – River Course (Par 70 – 6,765 yards) in Williamburg.

The Dukes posted a 15-over 295 in the first round and are currently tied with Appalachian State at eighth. Eastern Michigan and Texas Tech are tied for the lead at 8-over 288 after the first round, with Dayton, UNCG and host William & Mary five shots back in a tie for third. In a very tightly-bunched field, the top 10 teams are separated by just eight shots after the first 18.

Junior Trey Smith is the top Duke in a tie for 15th after an opening round 2-over 72, which included three birdies on the day. Freshman Ryan Cole is one shot back at 3-over 73, tied for 21st. Junior Jon Weiss, senior Tucker Koch and freshman Poom Pattaropong are all tied for 47th at 5-over 75. UNCG’s Carter Jenkins is the opening round individual leader after a 2-under 68, with Jacob Groninger of IPFW, Appalachian State’s John Michael Cole and Radford’s Ryan Rettberg one shot back at 1-under 69.

The second round has been altered to a shotgun start, with Madison going off at 1:45 p.m. from No. 5-8, playing with Appalachian State and Eastern Kentucky.