JMU roundup: Dukes rally past Delaware for baseball win

HARRISONBURG — After falling behind 6-0 in the top of the first inning on Friday night, the James Madison University baseball team scored in seven of their eight at-bats en route to a 12-9 comeback win over Delaware in Colonial Athletic Association play at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

Nine of the Dukes’ 12 hits went for extra bases on the evening, as JMU notched its first CAA win to move to 11-16 (1-6 CAA) on the season. Delaware racked up 14 hits in the loss, but did not score after the sixth inning as the Blue Hens dropped to 10-11 (2-5 CAA) in 2015.

Freshman second baseman Kyle McPherson paced the JMU offense on the evening, reaching base five times in a 3-for-3 night that included two walks and four runs. The freshman is the first Duke to score four times since Ty McFarland accomplished the feat on February 22 of last season. Junior catcher Bobby San Martin also racked up three hits, going 3-for-4 with three doubles and driving in a pair of runs.

Sophomores Ky Parrott and Brett Johnson both homered for the Dukes on the evening. Parrott launched his sixth of the year, a two-run shot in the bottom of the first, and Johnson homered for the fifth time this season, a two-out, three run homer in the bottom of the sixth that tied the game.

After the Blue Hens tallied six runs on six hits, including two doubles and a triple, in the top of the first, JMU immediately began chipping away at the Delaware lead. Senior right fielder Kevin Husum led off the bottom of the inning with a full-count double down the right field line and Parrott followed him with an opposite-field blast over the left-field fence to make it 6-2.

The Dukes made it 6-3 in the second when McPherson singled to right, moved to third on San Martin’s first double of the game and scored on a sacrifice fly from junior third baseman Kyle Weston, but Delaware scored a run in each of the next two innings to extend its lead to 8-3.

San Martin doubled home McPherson again in the fourth to make it 8-4, before three straight extra-base hits plated a pair of JMU runs in the fifth. Sophomore designated hitter Logan Corrigan doubled with two outs and McPherson and San Martin followed with a triple and a double, respectively, to cut things to 8-6.

Delaware used three hits in the top of the sixth to score a run and make it 9-6 before the Dukes capped off their comeback with three runs in the bottom of the frame.

After two quick outs, junior shortstop Chad Carroll singled, Parrott drew a five-pitch walk and the pair each stole a base to put runners on second and third. Johnson worked an 11-pitch at-bat, fouling off five pitches with two strikes before hammering an inside fastball over the left-field wall to tie things at 9-9.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Dukes took advantage of multiple Blue Hen miscues to plate the go-ahead run. Freshman center fielder Michael Sciorra reached second base on a throwing error by the shortstop, then came around to score when the third baseman tried to throw behind him and overthrew second base.

Sciorra then tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, making it 12-9 when he drilled a 1-1 fastball into left-center field for a double after the Dukes loaded the bases on an error and a pair of walks.

JMU’s pair of relievers put the Dukes in a position to win and closed things out, as freshmen Andrew Scarpelli and Steven Schwartz combined to yield just one earned run across seven innings after sophomore starter Ford Bradshaw exited with an injury.

Scarpelli struck out five batters across his four innings of relief, scattering five hits and surrendering just the one earned run, while Schwartz allowed just one baserunner, a single in the ninth, while striking out four in three shutout innings.

The Dukes will face Delaware in the second game of their three-game set on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m.

Women’s basketball

RICHMOND — James Madison redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor is the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s basketball.

Recipients are selected by a vote of the sports information directors at each CAA school. Nominees must be a starter or important reserve on their team with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25.

Okafor is a psychology major in the pre-med program at JMU. She earned the 2015 Dean Ehlers Leadership Award for her efforts both on and off the court and in the community in addition to collecting the 2014 Arthur Ashe Female Sports Scholar Award. This season, she received CAA All-Academic honors and JMU Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete honors while making the JMU President’s List in the fall.

On the court, Okafor led the conference in rebounding (9.8 rpg) and field goal percentage (.531) during her senior campaign. She added 12.4 points per game and 1.7 blocks per contest on her way to earning All-CAA First Team, CAA All-Defensive Team and CAA All-Tournament Team accolades.

During the 2014-15 season, Okafor pulled down 323 rebounds, ranking fifth in JMU history, and blocked 57 shots, the second most in a single season at JMU. She finished her career third in all-time blocked shots (156) and 12th in all-time rebounds (761).