HARRISONBURG, Va., May 2, 2013 – With just one weekend remaining in the regular season, the James Madison softball team returns home this weekend to host Georgia State for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Veterans Memorial Park. JMU and GSU play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 4 p.m. and close the series with a single game on Saturday with first pitch set for 1 p.m.
Friday’s doubleheader is available on MadiZONE free video while Saturday’s season finale is available as an audio-only broadcast.
The Dukes come into the weekend trailing Hofstra by a half game in the conference standing. The team that finishes first earns the right to host next weekend’s CAA Championship. Assuming both series are played in full, Madison needs to finish one-game better than Hofstra this weekend to claim the regular season championship.
Towson plays at Hofstra and has won 12 straight and 13 of its last 14 games.
This weekend JMU also celebrate senior day as four Dukes are playing their final regular season games at Veterans Memorial Park. Outfielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange), infielder Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) and Kaitlyn Barbour (Nokesville, Va./Brenstville District) and catcher Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) will be recognized before Saturday’s game.
This year’s senior class has posted a 119-95 record overall and a 49-30 mark in the CAA. They have qualified for the CAA Championship three times, advancing to the semifinals twice. Their 15 wins in CAA play in both 2012 and 2013 are tied for the second most in school history with this year’s team having a chance to break the record with a sweep over the Panthers.
In addition to a record of conference wins, JMU is within striking distance of several other team and individual records. With a sweep this weekend, the Dukes set a record for most wins in a season (38- 2007). The team can also break a record for most home runs in a season with four this weekend. This year’s team has 39 while the 2007 team hit 42.
Butler comes into the weekend tied for the school record for career hits. She tied Katie George (2004-07) with her 226th career hit last weekend. Butler also moves into second on the school’s all-time games played and games started list if she starts twice this weekend. She would pass Ashlee Schenk (2002-05) in both categories and would only be behind George.
Freshman pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs Va./Bath County) trails Meredith Felts’ (2006-09) record for strikeouts in a season by three. She also needs two shutouts to break Felts’ single-season record and to tie her for the most complete games in a year.
Ford and sophomore utility player Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) both enter the weekend with 12 home runs on the season and trail the single-season record by one (Ashley Burnham – 13 in 2011).
SCOUTING GEORGIA STATE
The Panthers (36-16, 13-5 CAA) have won ten consecutive games, including a 10-7 win over No. 23 Georgia. In CAA play, the Panthers have won seven straight with sweeps of Drexel and Delaware over the last two weekends. On the road, the Panthers are 11-6 this season.
The Georgia State lineup is powered by catcher Callie Alford, who leads the team with a .342 average and 43 RBIs, adding ten home runs. Centerfielder Jessica Clifton is hitting .337 with 30 RBIs and 31 runs scored. Clifton earned CAA Player of the Week honors last week after batting .533 (8-15) with nine RBIs, including a walk-off RBI single against Delaware. Lead-off hitter Taylor Anderson is hitting .305 with a team-best 41 runs scored.
In the circle, the Panthers are led by the pitching duo of Kaitlyn Medlam and Katie Worley. Medlam is 18-6 with a team-best 2.47 ERA in 172 2/3 innings. Worley holds a 15-9 record with a 3.12 ERA and .223 batting average against. Worley received CAA Rookie of the Week honors after compiling a 3-0 record last week including a victory against No. 23 Georgia.
Roger Kincaid is in his third season as head coach of the Panthers, amassing a 110-59 record during his tenure.
The Dukes are 9-18 all-time against the Panthers. Last year, JMU won two out of three games at Georgia State during the regular season, but lost twice to Georgia State in the conference tournament to end the season.
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