JMU roundup: Dukes rally past Drexel in softball

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., – Senior Catherine Clavin smacked a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the sixth inning to lead the James Madison softball team to a 5-4, Colonial Athletic Association win over Drexel in Philadelphia, Pa., Sunday.

JMU claimed the three-game series from DU, two games to one. The Dukes improved to 31-13 this season and sit in first place in the league with a 9-3 record. Drexel dropped to 15-17 and 3-6 in the conference.

Clavin’s heroics came with one out in the top of the sixth inning with Madison trailing 4-3. Sophomore pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch and was pinch run for by freshman Carli Lemelin. After a fly out, Clavin subbed in at the plate and drove a 1-1 offering from Dragon starter Shelby Taylor out to dead center for the two-run blast.

Junior pitcher Heather Kiefer earned her second win of the weekend to improve to 15-7 this year. She tossed 2 1/3 innings of no-hit, shutout relief. The right-hander struck out one and did not walk a batter. Ford drew the start, giving up four runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. She struck out three and walked one.

Taylor took the loss for the Dragons, dropping to 11-7 on the season. She ceded five runs on six hits and four walks in a complete-game effort.

Freshman center fielder Niki Prince joined Clavin in the home run column, going 1-for-4 with a solo blast. Sophomore catcher Erica Field chipped in a hit and two RBIs in four at-bats while freshman third baseman Madyson Moran went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Taylor guided the Dragon offense with two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored in four trips to the plate. Catcher Karli Boyer smacked a solo homer and was hit by a pitch while center fielder Comfort Ahonkhai was 1-for-3 with a single.

JMU wasted little time jumping in front of DU as Prince drove the first pitch of the game out over the left field fence for a solo home run. It was her fourth home run of the season and her second lead-off blast.

The Dragons responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Second baseman Vanessa Lightfoot started the offense with a single to right field and came in to score when Taylor’s long fly ball found the left field foul pole for a two-run shot.

The Dukes bounced right back to take the lead in the top of the second inning. They loaded the bases on singles by senior first baseman Cassidy Clayton and Moran and a hit by pitch by sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes. Field delivered a two-out, two-run single to left field to regain the advantage for Madison

Back-to-back solo home runs by Taylor and Boyer with two outs in the bottom of the fifth gave Drexel the lead back.

The Dukes are back in action on Wednesday, April 16 as it hosts North Carolina for a doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Park. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

HARRISONBURG – William and Mary struck for innings of six, seven and six runs on 23 hits en route to a 24-6 win over James Madison in the final game of a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

W&M improved to 22-13 overall and 6-2 in the CAA while JMU fell to 12-21, 4-4 CAA. The game featured 1,294 fans in attendance, the third-largest recorded in JMU program history.

Eight Tribe batters posted multiple hits in the game with left fielder Michael Katz and catcher Ryan Hissey each had four hits with four RBIs, including a home run for each, the 14th of the season for Katz. Center fielder Derek Lowe had three hits with four RBIs. Shortstop Tim Hoehn doubled three times with two RBIs while designated hitter Charlie Gould also homered.

Nick Brown picked up the win to improve to 3-1 while sophomore Mark Gunst (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI) took the loss to fall to 2-5. Gunst was the first of eight pitchers in the game for the Dukes.

Senior right fielder Tyler Gregory, sophomore catcher Bobby San Martin and redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston each homered for JMU. Gregory drove in three runs with two hits and Weston added his 11th double. Freshman left fielder Ky Parrott added a pair of doubles and junior center fielder Kevin Husum was 3-for-5 with two runs.

JMU will be on the road on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game at Liberty.

Women’s lacrosse
TOWSON, Md. – Just 1:31 into the golden-goal second overtime, Towson’s Ashleigh Rohrback fired in a shot off a pass from Gabby Cha to snap James Madison lacrosse’s four-game win-streak as the Dukes fell 12-11 to the Tigers in double overtime.

With their first loss in conference play, the Dukes fell to 2-1 against Colonial Athletic Association opponents and an 8-6 overall record. Towson capped their CAA record at 4-1 (9-6 overall) as the Tigers took control of first place in the league standings.

After a back-and-forth affair throughout the game, Towson’s Nadia Podo took control of the opening draw for the second overtime stanza. Cha fired in a shot, but the ensuing goal was disallowed by officials in favor of awarding a free position to the Tigers. On the restart, Cha passed the ball into a waiting Rohrback, who fired in the golden goal from the left side of the cage.

The game featured eight tie scores. JMU held its only lead of the day 58 seconds into the game, a 1-0 advantage after an unassisted goal by junior attacker Stephanie Finley. Towson led by as many as two goals three times on the afternoon (5-3, 8-6, 10-8). Junior midfielder Ali Curwin scored her two goals in the final 1:39 of regulation, tying the match at 10-all and sending the game into overtime.

Junior goalkeeper Schylar Healy tallied the loss for JMU after allowing 12 goals and committing nine saves during her 67:31 in the net. Kelsea Donnelly earned the win for Towson after allowing 11 goals and committing 10 saves.

On offense, JMU was led by Finley and redshirt-freshman attacker Betsy Angel who each posted three goals on the afternoon. Curwin and sophomore midfielder Taylor Gress each scored twice, including the goals to send the game into a first overtime and second overtime, respectively.

Towson’s Breanna Hamm scored a game-high four goals while Rohrback followed with three goals two assists for a game-high five points.

JMU outshot Towson 36-29, including a 3-1 advantage in the first overtime period. Gress took the first two overtime shots for Madison, scoring on her second attempt to tie the game at 11-all. After her first shot bounced away from the net after hitting the post and Curwin picked up the ground ball, Curwin passed the ball to Finley, who found Gress for the score in the upper left corner of the net.

Senior attacker Amy Roguski took the Dukes final shot of the overtime period, a saved free-position attempt. Curwin was also awarded a free position in the waning moments of the first overtime, but the ball came out of her stick before she could take the shot.

The Dukes edged the Tigers 19-14 in ground balls. Curwin had a team-high five ground balls, including one at the 2:21 mark of the second half that regained possession for JMU and set up the two-goal comeback that sent the game into extra time.

Curwin was responsible for both goals over the final two minutes of play. Her first tally of the day came at the 1:39 mark of the second half, a solo shot into the upper right corner to cut the Towson lead to one goal (10-9). A minute later, Curwin’s flip shot into the goal off a pass from sophomore midfielder Jaci Gordon tied the game at 10-10, the seventh knotted score of the day.

JMU returns home for its final two games of the 2014 regular season, both against CAA foes. First up is Drexel on Friday, April 18 at 5 p.m. at University Park in Harrisonburg.


Women’s tennis

HARRISONBURG – James Madison women’s tennis capped the 2014 regular season with a 6-1 victory over Howard on Senior Day and head coach Maria Malerba’s final home match.

The Dukes closed the regular season with a 13-5 overall record with a 2-3 record in conference action. They snapped Howard’s nine-match win-streak and the Bison fell to 10-4 overall.

JMU opened the match with a sweep of doubles play, beginning with an 8-5 victory by sophomore Cara Wirth and redshirt junior Sarah Khan at the No. 3 position over Umarah Mughnee and Stacey Roheman.

Junior Taylor Pinchoff and freshman Alex Huie secured the point for Madison with an 8-5 win over Katelyn Stokes and Brooke Hawthorne at No. 1 doubles.

Seniors Ruxandra Andriescu and Jacqueline Palmucci finished the sweep with their own 8-5 victory over Maame Osei and Jessica Josiah at No. 2 doubles.

Huie started singles play with an early victory on Mughnee at No. 2 singles. Huie won the first set 6-0 and was leading set two 3-0 when Mughnee retired due to illness. Palmucci gave the Dukes a 3-0 lead over Howard with a two-set win (6-1, 6-0) over Osei at No. 5 singles.

Freshman Rachel Nelson clinched the win for JMU with a hard-fought, two-set victory (6-4, 7-6 (7-2) over Roheman at No. 3 singles.

In her final home match, Andriescu battled for the three-set victory (6-3, 3-6, 6-3) over Hawthorne at No. 4 singles. Freshman Emily Bradshaw rounded out the scoring for JMU with a three-set success (6-1, 1-6, 6-4) over Josiah at No. 6 singles.

The Bison received their lone point of the afternoon at No. 1 singles. After Pinchoff won set one 6-1, Stokes picked up the second and third sets 6-1, 6-4 for the victory.

With the regular season complete, the Dukes next travel to Williamsburg, for the Colonial Athletic Association championships. Seeding will be finalized on Monday, April 14, and match play begins during the afternoon of Friday, April 18 at the Millie West Tennis Facility at William & Mary.