After winning back-to-back series against Colonial Athletic Association opponents Northeastern and Old Dominion, the James Madison baseball team is looking to continue its momentum in conference play when it travels to Hofstra for a weekend series. The first game on Friday is set for a 3 p.m. start, however the schedule has been altered to an 11 a.m. doubleheader on Saturday due to forecasted weather.
Before their recent surge defeating Northeastern and Old Dominion, the Dukes (11-25-1) were last in the CAA. However, their recent conference victories have moved them into ninth place, just three games back of tournament contention. Hofstra (20-15) is currently enjoying the program's best season since joining the CAA 10 years ago and enters the series with a CAA record of 10-5, putting the Pride in second place behind conference leader UNCW.
Most recently, on Tuesday the Dukes dropped a tough 3-0 decision against Maryland. The Terps' trio of pitchers, Michael Boyden, Brady Kirkpatrick, and Korey Wacker, combined for three hits allowed and nine strikeouts on the afternoon to keep the Dukes' batters in check. Maryland was led offensively by shortstop Alredo Rodriguez, who collected a two-run double in the fourth to break a 0-0 tie. Rodriguez later stepped again by recording what ended up being the game-winning double with his hit to the corner in left. JMU's hits came from infielder Casey Goss, left fielder Colby Roberts, and third baseman Bradley Shaban. Dukes' pitcher Josh Futter allowed two runs on four hits in his four innings played.
The challenge for the Dukes will be containing Hofstra's high-octane offense. The Pride is averaging a team batting average of .330, which ranks top 10 in the nation. Hofstra leads the nation in stolen bases per game (2.97) and also ranks third in doubles per game (2.56) and sixth in on-base percentage (.415). The offense is led by outfielder Danny Poma (.446), first baseman Jared Hammer (.398), and infielder Matt Ford (.380).
Pride pitcher David Jesch is boasting an impressive 4-0 record with a 2.54 ERA on the seaso. Jesch has pitched 46 innings, recorded 40 strikeouts, and allowed 37 hits. John Tiedemann is Hofstra's other go-to pitcher, averaging a 4.84 ERA on 48 innings pitched, 46 strikeouts, and 44 hits. Tiedemann's record is 4-3 on the season.
JMU leads the all-time series against Hofstra, holding a 20-8 advantage after winning eight of the last 10 meetings. The last time the Dukes traveled to Hempstead, N.Y. was in the 2010 season, in which they won the series 2-1 (W 17-9, L 6-4, W 12-7). Last year at home, the Dukes recorded another 2-1 series victory (L 4-3, W 21-8, W 13-12). The Dukes' 13-12 win came off Ian Haynes' walk-off three-run home run.
Game 1- Friday, 3 p.m.
JMU- Patrick Toohers, Fr., RHP (1-1, 4.46 ERA)
Toohers will be making his team-best 10th start of the season for JMU Friday afternoon. Last weekend in game one of the series against Old Dominion, Toohers gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings while striking out two batters. Toohers leads the team with a .271 batting average against. He has pitched 40 1/3 innings while surrendering 42 hits and registering 17 strikeouts.
HOFSTRA- Jared Rogers, Jr., RHP (0-4, 6.46 ERA)
Rogers has allowed 30 hits on 23 2/3 innings played while recording just 13 strikeouts. This will be his eighth appearance this season, as he posts a record of 0-4 with a .297 opponent batting average.
Game 2- Saturday, 2 p.m.
JMU- Michael Howerton, RFr., RHP (0-2, 5.52 ERA)
Howerton will be making his 15th appearance and just his third start this season Saturday afternoon. He has pitched for a total of 31 innings, allowing 35 hits while registering 28 strikeouts. Howerton has allowed his opponents to post a .280 batting average.
HOFSTRA- John Tiedemann, Jr., RHP (4-3, 4.84 ERA)
Tiedemann will lead the Pride in Saturday's early game. He has allowed 44 hits in 48 innings, while collecting 46 strikeouts. He boasts a .238 opponent batting average on the year.
Game 3- Sunday, 3 p.m.
JMU- Evan Scott, Sr., RHP (1-4, 8.78 ERA)
Scott will be making his ninth start this season after pitching a total of 27 2/3 innings and allowing 28 hits while recording a team-high 28 strikeouts (tied with Michael Howerton). Scott maintains a .267 batting average against.
HOFSTRA- Dave Jesch, Fr., RHP (4-0, 2.54 ERA)
In his rookie season, Jesch boasts an impressive 4-0 record with a team-best 2.54 ERA. In 46 innings pitched, Jesch has allowed 37 hits while recording 40 strikeouts.