JMU roundup: Dukes complete softball sweep over Towson

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG – Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy went 3-for-4 with a home run to lead the James Madison softball team to a Colonial Athletic Association series sweep over Towson with a 10-2, six-inning win at Veterans Memorial Park, Sunday.

JMU has won five straight games and 18 of its last 21 to improve to 28-11 overall. The Dukes sit in sole possession of first place in the conference with a 7-2 record. Towson dropped its fourth straight to fall to 17-15 and 0-3 in the league.

Madison outscored Towson 30-2 in the series, winning each game by the mercy rule. Sophomore pitcher Jailyn Ford earned the win in relief on Sunday for the Dukes to improve to 15-6 this season. She did not allow a run, holding TU to five hits and a walk in five innings pitched. The left-hander struck out eight. Junior right-hander Heather Kiefer drew the start. She left after an inning of work. Kiefer allowed two runs on a hit and two walks.

Missy McCormick took the loss for the Tigers, falling to 8-5 this season. She allowed nine runs, four earned, on eight eights in five innings pitched. The righty struck out four and walked five. Ambar Hickman gave up one run on one hit in 2/3 innings of work.

In addition to her three hits, Sandy finished with four RBIs and three runs scored to drive the Dukes’ offense. Senior first baseman Cassidy Clayton went 2-for-3 with two RBIs while freshman center fielder Niki Prince collected two hits, a walk, two RBIs and a run scored.

The Tigers were led by right fielder Maureen Hepner who went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. McCormick reached base all three times she came to bat with two hits and a hit-by-pitch while center fielder Olivia Yarbrough went 2-for-4 on the day.

Towson opened the scoring in the top of the first as Hepner lifted a two-run home run to right field. Shortstop Hailey Balk scored on the play after drawing a one-out walk.

JMU got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out single by Sandy that scored Prince from third.

The Dukes took the lead from Towson with five runs in the bottom of the third. Sandy opened the scoring with a two-run single that scored sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes and freshman pinch runner Carli Lemelin. Freshman right fielder Taylor Newton added a RBI single that scored Ford and Sandy came in to score on a throwing error before Clayton capped the frame with a single to left-center to score Newton.

Three more run crossed home in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by Clayton and Prince before Sandy wrapped up the game with a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.

JMU returns to Veterans Memorial Park on Wednesday as it hosts a non-conference doubleheader against Longwood. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.


HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Three batters recorded three-hit games led by freshman Josh Wyatt with four RBIs and James Madison took advantage of five hit batters and three Hofstra errors to post a 9-4 series-clinching win in a Colonial Athletic Association baseball game on Sunday afternoon at University Field.

JMU won its first series of the season to improve to 11-17 overall and 3-2 in the CAA, tied for third in the early standings. HU fell to 10-11 overall and 1-2 in the league.

Playing for the first time in a week, Wyatt went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, a hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly. He had never previously driven in more than one run in a game in his college career. Wyatt was joined with three hits by senior third baseman Ty McFarland and senior right fielder Tyler Gregory.

Sophomore catcher Bobby San Martin was hitless in two at bats but drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and scored twice with two hit by pitches. In 14 plate appearances in the three games, he was 5-for-8 with two doubles, a walk, four hit by pitches and a sacrifice fly for a .714 on-base percentage.

Sophomore right-hander Mark Gunst allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Senior right-hander Trent Cundiff worked 3 1/3 innings, one out shy of his career high, and allowed just one hit and one walk to pick up his second save.

Starter Graham Tebbit took the loss after allowing six runs, five earned, on five hits in 2 2/3 innings. The three subsequent relievers held JMU to three unearned runs in the final 6 2/3 innings.

Designated hitter Ryan Donovan drove in two Hofstra’s four runs with two hits while third baseman David Leiderman and right fielder TJ Ehrsam also posted multiple hits.

Both teams scored three runs in the second inning in identical fashion with JMU scoring twice on a triple to right field from redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston along with a sacrifice fly from Wyatt. The Pride also got a two-run triple by Donovan and added a Taurinsky sacrifice fly.

The Dukes followed with another big inning in the third, pushing four runs across to take a 7-3 lead. After a McFarland single Conner Brown hit by pitch, redshirt senior Matt Tenaglia singled through the right side to reclaim the lead. San Martin’s sacrifice fly scored Brown. Weston reached on an error to set up two more runners in scoring position, and Wyatt singled up the middle to score both unearned.

Hofstra got one in the bottom of the third on Matt Ford’s RBI groundout, but JMU pitchers shut down the Pride for the remainder of the game. The Dukes padded the lead by taking advantage of another error in the seven to score runs on a double by Gregory and a single by Wyatt.

JMU will be home on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. night game hosting No. 1 Virginia at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

Women’s tennis
WILMINGTON, N.C. – James Madison women’s tennis closed out the regular season conference schedule with a 6-1 loss at UNCW on Sunday morning.

In both teams’ Colonial Athletic Association finales for 2014, the Dukes fell to 10-5 on the year and 2-3 in league action while the Seahawks improved to 14-3 overall while remaining undefeated (4-0) in league play.

Freshman Alex Huie got the Dukes on the board with a two-set win (6-3, 6-3) over Blank at No. 2 singles after UNCW tallied the first three points of the day. The Seahawks then notched the final three points of the day for a 6-1 victory.

The Seahawks took the first point after a 2-1 advantage in doubles matches. Seniors Jacqueline Palmucci and Ruxandra Andriescu dropped an 8-3 decision at No. 2 doubles to Angie Sekely and Alyssa Ritchie while freshman Rachel Nelson and sophomore Cara Wirth fell 8-6 at No. 3 doubles to Kelly Cameron and Miller Hales.

Huie and junior Taylor Pinchoff battled for the lone JMU victory in doubles action at the No. 1 position. The pair defeated Olga Blank and Christine Kharkevitch 8-7 (7-2).

Singles action opened with a two-set loss (6-0, 6-0) by freshman Emily Bradshaw to Alyssa Ritchie at the No. 4 position. Nelson followed at No. 2 singles as she dropped a three-set decision (6-2, 1-6, 6-1) to Annika Sillanp“”“”.

After Huie’s victory at No. 2 singles, Andriescu fell in two sets (6-0, 6-5) to Kharkevitch at the No. 5 position. Palmucci saw her 10-match win streak snapped by Cameron 6-5, 6-3 at No. 6 singles.

At No. 1 singles, Pinchoff battled back from a 6-3 loss in set one to Sekely with a 6-3 win in set two before falling in a decisive set three tiebreaker 1-0.

JMU closes out its road schedule this week with a midweek trip to Richmond. The Dukes face off with the Spiders on Wednesday, April 9 at 2 p.m.


Women’s lacrosse
HARRISONBURG – James Madison lacrosse opened its 2014 Colonial Athletic Association slate with an 18-11 victory over William & Mary on Saturday afternoon, its third consecutive win of the season. The win also marked the fifth consecutive season the Dukes opened league action with a victory.

JMU is 7-5 overall and 1-0 in CAA play while William & Mary is 2-9 overall and 0-1 in CAA play. This was JMU’s fourth game of a four-game homestand as the Dukes head on the road for their next two CAA match-ups.

Junior goalkeeper Schylar Healy tallied the victory with 11 saves and eight goals allowed while Meredith Crizer took the loss after three saves and 11 goals allowed.

Eight Dukes scored to compile the 18 total goals. Junior attacker Stephanie Finley led the Dukes with five goals, tying her career high, and three assists for a game-high and season-high eight points on the day. Senior attacker Emily Rhoads posted a second-best five points on the afternoon with four goals and an assist.

William & Mary was led by Alexi Farmakis, who posted three points on the afternoon on two goals and an assist. Jenna Dougherty, Ellen Shaffrey and Kaleigh Noon also scored two goals.

After the Tribe scored the first two goals of the game over the first 3:13 played, the Dukes forged ahead on a 4-0 run to take their first and final lead of the day. While William & Mary cut the lead to one at 4-3, another 4-0 run by Madison pushed the advantage to five (8-3).

The Tribe closed the gap to as few as three goals (10-7, 26:40 2nd half) before the Dukes used an 8-0 run to jump out to an 11-goal lead (18-7), their largest of the afternoon, before a 4-0 run by William & Mary closed out the game for the 18-11 final score.

Six Dukes were responsible for 11 assists, led by junior midfielder Ali Curwin’s game-high four assists. Junior defender Lexi Cross and redshirt-senior attacker Megan Piotrowicz each tallied their first assists of the season in the game.

Madison won 13 of the draws while William & Mary controlled 18 draws, including two face-offs. The Dukes outshot the Tribe 25-23 overall with a 14-11 shot advantage in the first stanza. JMU also tallied four of five free-position shots attempted while William & Mary was successful on three of six free-position attempts.

The Dukes hit the road for two conference match-ups next weekend, beginning with a trip to Delaware on Friday, April 11 at 5 p.m. The game marks the Blue Hens’ “One Love” game in honor of Yeardley Reynolds Love and domestic violence awareness. For more information, please click here.