JMU roundup: Dukes sweep pair from Tar Heels

Daily Staff Report – sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG — Sophomore pitcher Jailyn Ford struck out 16 batters over nine innings pitched to lead the James Madison softball team to a doubleheader sweep of North Carolina at Veterans Memorial Park on Wednesday.

JMU won game one 5-1 and took the nightcap, 7-2.

The Dukes improved to 4-0 against the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, sweeping both Virginia Tech and North Carolina. They’ve won four straight games to improve to 33-13 on the year. UNC dropped to 22-22 with the losses.

Ford came out of the bullpen in both outings for JMU and dominated the Tar Heel lineup. She limited her opponent to one hit and one hit-by-pitch in nine innings of shutout relief work. Between her two appearances, she retired the first 21 batters she faced and 27 of 29 overall.

In game two, Ford struck out 11 and earned the win to improve to 17-6. She held UNC to one hit in her six innings pitched. She relieved junior Heather Kiefer who gave up two runs on four hits in one inning. The right-hander struck out one and did not walk a batter.

Ashley Bone took the loss for North Carolina to fall to 1-1 on the year. She gave up seven runs, but just two earned runs, on six hits and three walks in six innings pitched.

Offensively, Madison was paced by freshman right fielder Taylor Newton who went 1-for-2 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. Senior first baseman Cassidy Clayton went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs while senior pinch hitter Catherine Clavin had a two-run home run in her only at-bat.

In game one, it was Kiefer that earned the win as she held North Carolina to one run on four hits in four innings of work. She improved to 16-7 on the season after striking out three and walking one. The two starts on the day for Kiefer gave her 66 in her career, tying her with Liz George (2002-05) for third on the all-time list. Ford picked up her third save of the season after striking out five over three innings of perfect relief.

Kendra Lynch was saddled with the loss for UNC, falling to 1-6. She gave up five runs, but just one earned run, on eight hits and two walks in six innings of work. The right-hander struck out three.

Freshman third baseman Madyson Moran went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run to drive the Dukes’ attack. Freshman outfielder Niki Prince homered and walked in four trips to the plate and Clayton went 1-for-2 with a double, two runs and a walk.