JMU roundup: Blue Hens sweep Dukes in baseball doubleheader

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

NEWARK, Del. — Delaware compiled 31 hits and posted a five-run inning in each game to claim a pair of wins, 11-5 and 13-9, over James Madison to open the final Colonial Athletic Association baseball series of the season on Thursday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.

Delaware improved to 24-24 overall and 10-9 in the CAA while JMU fell to 16-34 overall and 7-12 in the league. The series was pushed ahead to a doubleheader due to forecasted rain Thursday evening into Friday. The final game is still scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The Dukes dropped into seventh place in the league standings with the losses. They will need to win Saturday’s game in order to climb back into the final spot for the six-team CAA tournament, which begins on May 21 at North Carolina-Wilmington.

Delaware methodically built a 6-1 lead through the first six innings then put up five runs in the seventh to grab a commanding lead at 11-1. The Dukes added two runs apiece in the eighth and ninth innings before falling 11-5.

Starter Dan Gatto improved to 4-6 for Delaware after limiting the Dukes to one run on eight hits with six strikeouts in seven innings. Starter Aaron Hoover took the loss with six runs allowed on 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia led a 12-hit effort for JMU by going 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. Senior third baseman Ty McFarland, junior center fielder Kevin Husum, redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston and freshman left fielder Josh Wyatt each had a pair of hits for the Dukes. Weston drove in two runs while Wyatt hit his second home run in four games.

Third baseman Ryan Hartley and left fielder Cameron Travalini each drove in three runs with home runs for Delaware. Shortstop E.J. Stoltzfus was 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Center fielder Joe Giacchino and right fielder Norm Donkin also had two-hit games.

After the Blue Hens claimed an 11-1 lead through seven innings in the first game, Delaware grabbed a 13-1 lead through four innings of the second contest. The Dukes roared back with a six-run sixth and added two runs in the ninth but could not complete the comeback, falling 13-9.

Connor Hibbs allowed five of the nine JMU runs but earned the win with two innings of work in the fourth and fifth. Starter Chad Martin limited the Dukes to one run in three innings on two hits.

Junior right-hander Chris Huffman took the loss. He allowed 11 runs, 10 earned, on 11 hits in two innings of work, which included being struck on the throwing arm by a hit. Freshman Ford Bradshaw had the best appearance of his young career with five shutout innings allowing just three hits. He had not previously gone more than two innings in 11 appearances.

Tenaglia added two more hits to his effort for the day with two runs scored. Wyatt tripled and drove in a pair of runs. Seven different players accounted for JMU’s eight RBIs.

Delaware did most of its damage from the top of the order with its first five batters accounting for 10 hits and 11 RBIs. Giacchino, second baseman Zach Lopes and designated hitter Alex Mottle each had three RBIs.Giacchino had three hits while Stoltzfus, Donkin, Lopes, first baseman Jake Clark and Travalini each had two.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — — The James Madison softball team continued to rack up postseason hardware as five Dukes were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Northeast Region teams as announced by the NFCA on Thursday.

Junior pitcher Heather Kiefer was joined on the first team by sophomore pitcher/utility Jailyn Ford and sophomore catcher Erica Field. Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy garnered Second Team honors while freshman outfielder Niki Prince made the third team.

The five Dukes were part of 392 players recognized from 158 programs around the country. The Colonial Athletic Association put 18 players on All-Region teams, including 13 on the Northeast Region teams. JMU set program-highs with five total honorees and three on the first team. The award honors softball student-athletes from the Association’s 10 regions with first, second and third teams selected from each region in a vote of the region’s head coaches.

Ford earned her second straight First Team All-Region honor, making her the second player in school history to earn First Team All-Region twice. She made the team in the Pitcher/Utility position and adds the accolade to her CAA Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-CAA honors. She is 23-6 on the year with 1.24 ERA in 38 appearances. The left-hander has school records of 219 strikeouts and 215 1/3 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .197 batting average against. At the plate, Ford is hitting .276 with nine doubles and nine home runs to go with 28 RBIs and 34 runs scored. She’s tied the school record with 32 walks to help with a team-high .409 on-base percentage.

Kiefer earned First Team All-Region after making the second team a year ago. She helps lead the Dukes into the Lexington Regional with a 20-7 record and a 2.02 ERA in 36 appearances. The-Second Team All-CAA selection has 70 strikeouts and a .259 opponent’s batting average in 156 innings pitched.

Field, the CAA co-Defensive Player of the Year, earns her first All-Region nod. She has a team-high 16 doubles which is the second-highest total in school history, adding three triples, two home runs and a team-high 36 RBIs in 57 games played. The second-year catcher is hitting .314 with 19 runs scored. She also tied both the single-season and career records for sacrifice flies and has walked 15 times on the year.

Sandy made her way on to the All-Region Second Team after garnering CAA Player of the Year and First Team All-CAA recognitions last week. She is hitting a team-high .337 with eight doubles, one triple and a career-high seven home runs. The senior has 31 RBIs, 30 runs scored, 16 walks and six steals while starting all 57 games at shortstop for JMU.

Prince is the CAA Rookie of the Year and was a First Team All-CAA honoree. She enters NCAA play with a .293 batting average in addition to seven doubles and six home runs. The rookie chipped in 21 RBIs, 31 runs, 19 walks and 12 steals in 13 attempts.

James Madison opens up NCAA Tournament play on Friday as they take on DePaul in the opening game of the Lexington Regional on the campus of the University of Kentucky. First pitch between the Dukes and Blue Demons is set for 5 p.m. at John Cropp Stadium.

Women’s basketball

HARRISONBURG — James Madison women’s basketball announced on Thursday that Tasia Butler, a 6-1 guard and a native of Waldorf, Md., has transferred from Syracuse.

Due to NCAA transfer rules, she will sit out the 2014-15 season and have three years of eligibility remaining.

Butler appeared in 16 games as a freshman at Syracuse during the 2013-14 campaign. She scored 11 points for the Orange and added 15 rebounds, one block and one assist. She made her collegiate debut on Nov. 10, 2014 in a 69-65 win at Washington State.

Prior to her time at Syracuse, Butler was a four-star recruit coming out of North Point High School. ESPN Hoopgurlz ranked her the 73rd overall recruit of the 2013 class and 12th among guards while the All Star Girls Report ranked her 89th overall. She led the Eagles to the 2013 Maryland 4A State Championship to cap a perfect 27-0 season as she left North Point as the all-time leading scorer (1,363 points). USA Today recognized her on its All-Maryland First Team roster while the Washington Post tabbed her for its All-Met First Team.

The Dukes posted a 29-6 overall record in 2013-14, tying a school record in wins. They swept the conference championships, earning both the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title and the tournament championship, as well as tallied their first win in the NCAA tournament since 1991 (W, 72-63 over Gonzaga).