JMU roundup: Longwood tops Dukes in baseball
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FARMVILLE — Travis Burnette drove in five runs and Longwood jumped out to an 8-0 lead through three innings to defeat James Madison 13-7 in non-conference baseball on Tuesday night at Buddy Bolding Stadium.
Longwood improved to 21-31 while JMU fell to 16-32 heading into its final Colonial Athletic Association series at Delaware on Thursday at 4 p.m. The Dukes need one win in three games to earn a CAA tournament spot and can still finish as high as third in the league race.
Allen Ellis earned the win for the Lancers with three runs allowed on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Redshirt junior Michael Howerton took the loss for the Dukes after allowing all eight of the early runs in one inning of work.
JMU accumulated 12 hits in the game with senior second baseman Conner Brown going 3-for-5 with his fourth home run of the season and a double. Right fielder Tyler Gregory was 3-for-4 with a walk. Redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia and freshman designated hitter Brett Johnson each had two hits while senior third baseman Ty McFarland drove in three runs.
Longwood totaled 14 hits, all singles, with Burnette going 2-for-3 with five RBIs and a walk. First baseman Alex Owens was 3-for-3 with four runs, two walks and two RBIs. Designated hitter Scott Burkett also had three hits while second baseman Matt Dickason was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
The Lancers got to Howerton for three runs in the second and added five more against the right-hander in the third to take the early commanding lead. JMU got McFarland’s three-run double in the fifth to cut it to 8-3 at the halfway point.
Longwood added singles runs in the fifth on a fielder’s choice groundout and in the sixth on Burnette’s sacrifice fly to make it 10-3. JMU scored twice in the eighth on a bases loaded hit by pitch by senior catcher Nick Merullo and a pinch hit single by sophomore Bobby San Martin.
Longwood made it 13-5 in the eighth with a RBI single by Burnette and Dickason’s two-run single. Brown added his two-run homer to left field following a leadoff walk by McFarland to make it 13-7.
HARRISONBURG — After winning the program’s second Colonial Athletic Association championship and winning a program record 44 games, the James Madison softball team received its first-ever national ranking on Tuesday.
JMU is ranked 25th in this week’s USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll with 42 points. The Dukes have previously been the top team in the others receiving votes prior to this week, but had never climbed into the top 25 until Tuesday. They are only the second CAA team to receive a top 25 ranking, joining Hofstra in that category.
Madison also checks in at No. 28 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 this week. It received five votes this week to fall into the others receiving votes category and trail 25th-ranked Wisconsin by 21 votes. DePaul (23 votes) and Texas A&M (10 votes) are the two teams ahead of the JMU in the others receiving votes section.
The NCAA tournament’s top seed, Oregon, checks in at No. 1 in both polls. The Dukes handed Oregon one of its seven losses this season and are the only team to shut out the Ducks all year.
In the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released on Monday, JMU checked in at No. 23. This season, the team has climbed as high as 22 in the RPI and been no lower than 31.
The Dukes are off to the Lexington Regional at the University of Kentucky for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend. They’ll meet DePaul in the first game at 5 p.m. on Friday.
HARRISONBURG — Former James Madison guard A.J. Davis was one of four members of the Sioux Falls Skyforce invited to the NBA Developmental League’s fifth-annual Elite Mini Camp held Monday and Tuesday in Chicago.
The camp features top 2013-14 NBA D-League prospects and gives players an opportunity to display their skills and be evaluated by NBA team personnel in advance of NBA Summer Leagues and 2014 training camps.
In his first professional season, Davis averaged 10.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in 47 games (22 starts). The 6-6, 210-pound guard was selected by the Skyforce in the third round (39th overall) of the 2013 NBA D-League Draft.
At JMU, in the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Championship, Davis poured in 20 points in the first round against William and Mary, added 16 points in a semifinal win over Delaware and capped the weekend with 26 points in the title bout vs. Northeastern to claim CAA Most Outstanding Player honors. He played an integral role in JMU picking up its first league title since 1994 in its first title-game appearance since 1997.
Following the CAA tournament performance, Davis went on to post 20 points in a NCAA First Four win over LIU Brooklyn, JMU’s first NCAA win in 30 years dating back to 1983. In addition to his CAA MVP honor, he was named Honorable Mention All-State by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Sixth Man of the Year in the CAA by CollegeHoopsDaily.com.
Davis led JMU and finished 17th in the CAA for scoring (12.1 per game) along with seventh in field goal percentage (.481), 11th in steals (1.3 per game), fourth in 3-point percentage (.372) and fifth in made 3-pointers per game (2.0). He finished with 937 points in two seasons at JMU after leading the Dukes as a junior with 510 points and adding 427 this year.