JMU roundup: Dukes earn softball twin-bill sweep

ROCK HILL, S.C. — James Madison University’s softball team opened up its week-long road trip with a pair of victories, downing Winthrop 1-0 and 6-1 to sweep the doubleheader on Tuesday at Terry Field.

The Dukes improved to 12-6 while the Eagles dropped to 11-13 on the season. The wins were the first true road victories for JMU in 2015.

Three starters hit at least .500 in the two wins, including junior pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford, who went 3-for-4 (.750) with a home run, three RBIs, two runs and two walks. Junior catcher Erica Field hit 4-for-8 (.500) with two runs and two doubles, as she moved into third place all-time in JMU history with 39 career doubles.

Madison heads to Orlando, Florida for a five-pack of games this weekend at the UCF Spring Fling Tournament. The Dukes will take on UIC and Fairfield on Friday, Monmouth and Butler on Saturday and 20th-ranked UCF on Sunday.


HARRISONBURG — After rain moving through the Shenandoah Valley forced the cancellation of Tuesday’s game with Valparaiso, the James Madison baseball team has changed the location and time of Wednesday’s contest against VMI, previously scheduled for 4 p.m. in Lexington.

The game will now be played in Harrisonburg at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park, with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.

This will be the 58th time the two schools have played, with JMU holding a 46-11 lead in the all-time series. Recent history has been much more even, however, as the teams have split the last 10 contests, 5-5.

Men’s golf

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Led by medalist sophomore Ryan Cole, the James Madison men’s golf team led from wire-to-wire to capture the team title at the 2015 Bash at the Beach Invitational, March 9-10. The two-day, 54-hole tournament, hosted by Appalachian State, was played at the Surf Golf Club (Par 71 – 6,741 yards) in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Entering the final round with a six-shot lead, the Dukes had to hold off a rally from West Georgia to take home the championship trophy. West Georgia shot a tournament-low 7-under 277 in the final round to finish at 6-under 846, but Madison was just two shots back in the final round at 5-under 279, finishing with a five-shot win at 11-under 841. Radford finished third at 2-over 854, with Gardner-Webb (7-over 859) and Alabama State (11-over 863) rounding out the top five of the 17-team field. The Dukes’ final-round 279 ties for the seventh-lowest team round in school history, while the 841 was the second-lowest 54-hole total in program annals. The 11-under score was also the third-best to par ever by the program.

It was the second-straight tournament victory for JMU, as the squad captured the ODU/OBX Collegiate title to wrap up the fall portion of the 2014-15 schedule. It also marked the first time since 2011 and the 10th time in the program’s 43-year history that the Dukes have won at least two events in a single season.

Cole won his first collegiate title by shooting 8-under 205 to win by one shot over Alabama State’s Branson Ferrier and Conner Hayden of Radford. In the final round, Cole had an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole, two other birdies and two bogeys en route to a 2-under 69. It was Cole’s career-low for 54 holes, his second-consecutive top-two finish and eighth top-15 finish in 17 college tournaments.

Sophomore Poom Pattaropong tied for eighth after a final-round even-par put him at 3-under 210, tying with JMU senior Trey Smith, who was competing as an individual at the event. Pattaropong had his fourth career top-10, while his 3-under 210 is a personal collegiate best for both under par and total score. For Smith, it was his ninth career top-10 finish and his lowest 54-hole total since the end of Fall 2013, when he shot 210 at the ODU/OBX Collegiate.

Senior Jon Weiss and freshman Jack Floydd also had top-20 finishes. Weiss posted a team-best and personal career-low 4-under 67 in the final 18 to move up to a tie for 12th at 1-under 212, the sixth top-15 placing of his JMU career. Floydd had his third top-25 finish in as many college tournaments, tying for 17th with a season-best 1-over 214.

Redshirt-sophomore Connor Walters shot a 1-over 73 in the last round and moved up 12 spots to a tie for 43rd at 9-over 222, while junior Chris Kapsak, playing as an individual, tied for 87th at 21-over 234.

Madison continues its Spring Break trip in the Sunshine State, traveling to Tallahassee, Florida to compete in the Seminole Intercollegiate. The three-day, 54-hole tournament will be played on Friday-Sunday, March 13-15 at the Southwood Golf Club. The Dukes finished seventh of 13 teams in last year’s event.