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JMU roundup: Burkholder signs pro contract with Italian hoops team


Daily Staff Reports -- sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- James Madison women's basketball standout Kirby Burkholder signed a contract to play professionally in the Italian women's league on Tuesday. She signed with Azzurra Orvieto of the Italian A1 League based in Orvieto, Italy.

"I'm very excited for the experience of playing overseas, especially in Italy," Burkholder said. "Being able to keep playing basketball has been a goal of mine, whether it was in Europe or the WNBA. I'm glad I get to spend the summer working out in Harrisonburg, before heading to Italy this fall."

Burkholder, the 2014 CAA Player of the Year, heads to Italy in early September to begin practicing with her new club. No schedule is available for the 2014-15 season yet, but last year, Orvieto went 5-15 and placed eighth in the Italian A1 League.

"It's an exciting experience to be able to see Europe while also making a living playing basketball," Burkholder added. "I'm really excited for the experience and can't wait to get over there."

"I'm extremely excited for Kirby as well as for our program," JMU women's basketball head coach Kenny Brooks said. "It's so rewarding to see the time and effort that's gone into her development pay off. I'm so happy and proud of Kirby because she's worked as hard as anyone I've ever had and is deserving of this opportunity."

Burkholder joins Tamera Young (2004-08), Dawn Evans (2007-11) and Tarik Hislop (2009-13) as former Brooks' players to play professionally. Young is a member of the Chicago Sky in the WNBA while Evans and Hislop are signed with teams in France and Spain, respectively.

BASEBALL

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Nick Berger struck out 10 in a complete-game four hitter to lead Northeastern to a 3-1 victory over James Madison in a Colonial Athletic Association tournament elimination game on Wednesday night at Brooks Field.

No. 5 seeded NU improved to 26-28 and advanced to Thursday's 7 p.m. game against the lower-seeded losing team in Thursday's first two games. No. 6 JMU was eliminated by the Huskies for the second consecutive season and finished its 2014 campaign at 17-36.

Berger had his shutout broken up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia's RBI single. He recovered to record his second complete game of the season, each coming in his last two starts. His 10 strikeouts were the most this season by a JMU opponent and included seven strikeouts looking. In addition to limiting the Dukes to four hits, Berger retired 13 consecutive batters stretching the middle innings of the contest.

Redshirt sophomore Aaron Hoover also had a complete game, which was also his second of the season. All three runs against him were unearned with eight hits allowed and two strikeouts.

The combined complete games led to a game decided in one hour and 48 minutes after the Dukes had played a three-hour, 26-minute game earlier in the afternoon with an 11-10 loss to UNC-Wilmington in 10 innings.

The pitchers dominated into the fifth inning when Northeastern rallied for three runs. Left fielder Gabe Levanti led off with a single and advanced on a bunt attempt with right fielder Sean Lyons reaching on a throwing error. A flyout advanced the lead runner to third and a steal put two in scoring position for Connor Lyons' two-out single. Second baseman Michael Foster then made it three unearned runs in the frame with a RBI single to left. Foster, Levanti and first baseman Brad Burcroff each had two of the eight NU hits.

Freshman left fielder Josh Wyatt was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth and advanced on a groundout. He scored on Tenaglia's single to right for the lone run of the game for the Dukes.



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