JMU roundup: Dukes fall to Lancers in baseball

FARMVILLE — Sophomore designated hitter Brett Johnson hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, but the James Madison baseball team could not hold off a Longwood rally, falling to the Lancers, 10-9, in non-conference action on Tuesday evening.

The Dukes, who dropped to 10-15 with the loss, struck for five runs in the top of the seventh to erase a 4-2 deficit, but Longwood scored five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning and JMU’s ninth-inning rally fell short as the Lancers moved to 12-15 on the season.

Senior right fielder Kevin Husum led the Dukes’ offense on the evening, going 2-for-5 with a career-high four RBI and a stolen base, giving the Panama City, Fla., native his second multi-hit game in a row. Johnson’s fourth homer of the year gave him three RBI for the game and redshirt junior shortstop Chad Carroll frequented the basepaths in a 1-for-3 day that included being hit by a pair of pitches.

Longwood opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a solo home run from Kyri Washington, but JMU picked up a run in both the fourth and fifth innings, with neither coming with the help of a hit. A hit batsman, a walk and an error scored the run in the fourth, while two hit batsmen and two walks plated one in the fifth to make it 2-1, as the Dukes wouldn’t pick up their first base hit until the seventh.

In the bottom of the sixth, Longwood tied things with a leadoff home run before using a strikeout on a wild pitch and three consecutive singles to bring home three more Lancers and take a 5-2 lead over the Dukes.

JMU made its move in the seventh, scoring five runs on their first four hits of the contest. Junior catcher Bobby San Martin and freshman third baseman Bradley McKay opened the inning with a pair of singles before sophomore pinch hitter Josh Wyatt drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases.

After the Lancers went to the bullpen, Husum laced a 1-1 single to left field off right-hander Allen Ellis to bring home San Martin and McKay. Johnson followed him by hammering a 3-2 fastball well over the left field fence to cap the inning and put JMU up 7-5. The Charlottesville, Va., native’s four home runs are the second-highest total for the Dukes this season.

Longwood struck back in the bottom of the inning, scoring five runs of its own on three hits, a walk, a hit batsman and a pair of costly JMU errors to go back ahead, 10-7, late in the game.

JMU fought back in the ninth, after Carroll and Wyatt lined a pair of one-out singles back up the middle. Husum delivered again for the Dukes, slapping the seventh pitch of his at-bat into right field to score Carroll and move Wyatt to third. After Husum stole second, Wyatt crossed the plate on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 10-9 with two outs, but the Dukes would get no closer.

Junior right-hander Mark Gunst started on the mound for the Dukes, giving up just one run and four hits in 2.2 innings, but freshman and Stonewall Jackson graduate Colton Harlow, the last of four pitchers for JMU, took the loss to fall to 0-2. Reliever Luke Simpson got the win for Longwood, moving to 1-1 after two innings of work that saw him give up just the pair of runs in the ninth.

The Dukes are back in action in less than 24 hours, as JMU heads north for a rematch with Maryland after downing the Terrapins, 8-6, last week. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday in College Park, Md.

Women’s tennis

RICHMOND — Senior Taylor Pinchoff and sophomore Alex Huie are the Colonial Athletic Association doubles Team of the Week, the first doubles weekly honor for James Madison women’s tennis this season.

Pinchoff and Huie posted a 3-0 record at No. 1 doubles over the last week of competition as the Dukes went 1-1 with a 3-3 draw against Drexel. The duo earned an 8-6 win over Maria Pylypiv and Julia Cancio of Williams College in JMU’s 5-2 home loss to the Ephs and secured an 8-1 victory over Delaware’s Arielle Shuren and Nataliya Naumova en route to the Dukes’ 6-1 win over the Blue Hens.

The pair also posted the lone doubles win for JMU against Drexel, an 8-4 victory over Nicole Pivonka and Clary Rodriguez on Sunday.

As a team, Pinchoff and Huie have won six of their last eight doubles matches. This is their first weekly award of 2015 and third overall. Over the last two seasons, the tandem has gone a combined 18-8 in spring duals and earned All-CAA First Team doubles honors in 2014.

JMU returns to Hillside Courts on April 3 to face Hampton at 2 p.m. The Dukes and Lady Pirates will compete in conjunction with the men’s teams dual.

Men’s tennis

RICHMOND — James Madison men’s tennis’ doubles team of sophomores Miljan Ruzic and Sebastian Salinas are the Colonial Athletic Association doubles Team of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.

This is the first weekly honor from the league for Ruzic and Salinas as a team. Salinas was named CAA Player of the Week earlier this season (Feb. 25).

The duo helped the Dukes to a 2-0 week with a pair of wins at No. 1 doubles. In the 7-0 victory over Howard, Ruzic and Salinas secured an 8-6 success over Ismael Kaouache and Myron Davis to complete the Dukes’ sweep of the Bison in doubles action.

In the 5-2 triumph at Drexel, the pair scored an 8-2 victory over Alex Fioravante and Xabier Saavedra for the first doubles win against the Dragons. The Dukes went on to capture the doubles point with a win at the No. 3 position by junior Robert Stirling and sophomore Brett Moorhead.

JMU plays its next four matches at home. The Dukes begin the stretch by welcoming Longwood to Hillside Courts on April 1 at 3 p.m.

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