James Madison will look to continue the positive momentum it has built in the last 10 days when it travels to Maryland on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game and hosts VMI on Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. game at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park. The game vs. VMI will also have a live HD video broadcast available on MadiZONE.
JMU has won five of seven games over the last 10 days, including taking five out of six in Colonial Athletic Association play to climb two spots in the standings. The Dukes sit three games back of a potential CAA tournament berth with 12 conference games remaining.
Improved play in all facets of the game has propelled the Dukes to their recent surge. Offensively, the Dukes are hitting .328 in the last seven games with 18 doubles and a .422 on-base percentage. In the first 29 games of the season, JMU hit .278 as a team with 39 doubles and a .364 on-base rate. Defensively, Madison has a .974 fielding percentage compared to .959 previously.
On the mound, JMU pitchers have a 4.79 ERA with a .266 opponent batting average and three saves in the last seven games. Over the first 29 games, Madison pitchers posted a 7.28 ERA and .313 opponent average with just one save.
The return to the middle of the lineup of Johnny Bladel from missing 27 games and Ty McFarland from missing 23 games has provided a boost to teammates with Conner Brown (.483), Colby Roberts (.429), Cole McInturff (.379) and Evan Scott (.375) each hitting at least .375 in the last seven games.
The Terrapins have seen a program resurgence this year, which included a top 25 national ranking from Baseball America in the early weeks of the season. Maryland is 24-14 overall and has dominated non-conference play to the tune of 17-3. That included an early season series win at UCLA and a weekend sweep at the Keith LeClair Classic at ECU. More recently, the Terps are coming off consecutive weekend series wins in the ACC against N.C. State and Duke. Each of those were at home as UM will wrap up a 10-game home set against the Dukes.
Maryland is hitting .268 as a team but holding opponents to a paltry .237 average. The pitching staff ranks seventh nationally with a 2.72 ERA and second with eight shutouts. K.J. Hockaday holds the top average at .321 with Domo Delp and Jordan Hagel just behind at .313 and .299, respectively. Alfredo Rodriguez is the leading run-producer with 30 RBIs. Jimmy Reed has been lights out in the closer role with a 0.76 ERA, seven saves and a .174 opponent average in 35 2/3 innings. Just two pitchers on the entire staff have an ERA over 3.60.
While Maryland is surging, VMI has posted an 11-25 record for the season, which includes a 4-11 mark in the Big South. The Keydets will come to Harrisonburg looking for their first road win of the season as they sit 0-16 away from Lexington. VMI has lost seven straight games, which included a weekend sweep at perennial conference power Coastal Carolina by scores of 3-2, 3-0 and 3-2.
As a team, the Keydets are hitting .264, led by Jacob Morley, who is hitting .338 with 11 doubles and seven of the team's 19 home runs. George Piccirilli is hitting .315 with 10 doubles and four home runs. On the mound, VMI has a 5.46 ERA but is allowing opponents to hit .318 against them.
JMU leads the all-time series against Maryland 31-21-1 and has found recent success with six wins in the last seven matchups. The Dukes have won two in a row in College Park, including a 6-1 win last April 19 in the last meeting between the schools.
The Dukes lead VMI 44-9 all-time, however the Keydets have won each of the last three contests. Last year, VMI defeated the Dukes in Harrisonburg 8-2 and in Lexington 10-4.
As of Monday afternoon, none of the pitching matchups for the midweek games had been set.