HARRISONBURG, Va., April 14, 2013 – Three players smacked home runs and junior pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) tossed a three-hit shutout to lead the James Madison softball team to an 8-0, five-inning win over George Mason at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday.
JMU officially clinched a spot in the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Championship as it improved to 31-10 overall and 12-0 in the conference. George Mason dropped to 12-30 and 2-10 in the league.
Kiefer earned the win for the Dukes to improve to 11-5. She threw her second shutout of the weekend and her fourth of the season. The right-hander allowed three hits while striking out three and walking none.
Stephanie Maher took the loss for the Patriots, dropping to 2-7. She gave up four runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk in an inning of work. Casey Herring allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings of relief.
Offensively, the Dukes received home runs from senior third baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run), sophomore right fielder Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg and freshman first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County). Ford reached base three times, going 2-for-2 with a homer, a double, a walk, two runs and two RBIs. Mooney added two hits in three at-bats, adding two RBIs and a two runs while junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) went 1-for-2 with a walk and a RBI.
Three players recorded hits for Mason led by third baseman Tori Rodriguez who went 1-for-2 with a single Right fielder Tiffany Webb added a bunt single in three at-bats while designated player Reagan Doiron was 1-for-2.
JMU took advantage of a Mason fielding error in the bottom of the first to put three unearned runs on the board. Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) reached on the fielding error to lead off the inning. The Patriots retired the next two batters on a fielder’s choice and a pop-out to bring Mooney to the plate with two outs. She lofted a single into left-center field and senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange), who was running on the pitch, scored from first on the play. Ford followed Mooney’s single by blasting her 11th home run of the season to extend the lead to 3-0.
Ford set a JMU freshman record with her 11th home run, passing the mark previously held by catcher Julia Dominguez (2006-09). She also tied former JMU shortstop Ashley Burnham (2009-12) for the second-most four-baggers in a season.
Johnson hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the second. It was the senior’s second homer of the season and the 14th of her career, tying her for seventh all-time. The Dukes kept scoring in the frame as infield singles by Heath and freshman second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) set up a two-run double by freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) before Mooney capped the inning with a solo home run.
It was Mooney’s 11th home run of the season and the 20th of her career. She is tied with Katie Spitzer (2008-11) for third on the school’s all-time list and with Ford and Burnham for the second-most in a single season.
JMU put the game away with a pair of one-out hits in the bottom of the fifth. Ford doubled off the fence in left and scored on a single to center by Sandy.
The Dukes return to play on Wednesday, April 17 as they host Liberty for a non-conference doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. against the Flames.
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