CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., March 16, 2011 - Catcher John Hicks had two home runs and drove in four to lead Virginia to a 7-3 victory over James Madison in a non-conference baseball matchup on Wednesday night at Davenport Field.
Virginia won its 11th game in a row to improve to 17-1 overall. JMU fell to Virginia for the third straight time and dropped to 13-4 overall.
Hicks went 3-for-4 with a season-high four RBIs while knocking in his first two home runs of the season. The Cavaliers hit their first home run of the season on Sunday before tallying three against the Dukes.
Third baseman Steven Proscia also homered and had two hits. Shortstop Chris Taylor and first baseman Kenny Swab also had two hits for UVA.
Will Roberts earned the win to improve to 3-0 after allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Brandon Kline came in with two on and no outs in the ninth for his eighth save.
Freshman Tyler McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) took the loss for JMU after allowing four runs on five hits in two innings. He was the first of eight JMU pitchers in the game.
Senior shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a walk for the Dukes. Sophomore left fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) and right fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) each had two hits as four players accounted for all seven JMU hits.
After JMU went quietly in the first inning, things heated up in the bottom of the inning as Taylor singled before then being called out caught stealing. Virginia head coach Brian O'Conner was then ejected for arguing the call on the Cavaliers' first out of the game. With two outs, Hicks unleashed a solo shot to right field, just the second home run of the season in 18 games for the Cavs. UVA kept the inning going with a walk and consecutive singles by Proscia and Swab for a 2-0 lead.
Hicks hit his second home run in as many at bats with a two-run shot to left in the third inning for a 4-0 Virginia lead. Just like in the first inning, Virginia kept the inning going after the home run with a hit by Swab, a hit batter, and an RBI single by center fielder Reed Gragnani to make it 5-0.
JMU put its first runs on the board in the fourth. McInturff beat out a slow tapper to shortstop with one out. With two outs, Herbek lined a three-ball, one-strike pitch over the wall in left field for his seventh home run of the season to make it 5-2.
Bladel led off the JMU fifth with a double but the Dukes couldn't move him. Virginia responded in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run to left field by Proscia, his second of the season, to make it 6-2.
With two outs in the sixth, junior catcher Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) hit his third triple of the season to the gap in left center and Herbek drew a walk to chase Roberts from the game. On the first pitch from Kyle Crockett, Hicks' attempted pickoff at third got away down the left-field line for an error as JMU pulled within 6-3.
JMU retired the first two batters in the Virginia sixth, but a double and a walk were followed by a single to right by Hicks for his fourth RBI of the game. On the play, a rundown between home and third ended the inning as Virginia took a 7-3 lead.
The first two JMU batters reached via walk in the ninth, but Kline entered and recorded a pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a fielder's choice groundout to close the 7-3 Cavs' win.
JMU will be back in Colonial Athletic Association play over the weekend with a three-game set at VCU. Friday's firsts pitch will be 6 p.m. followed by 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.