HARRISONBURG, Va., March 1, 2013 - Sophomore right-hander Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) limited Hartford to one run on two hits over seven innings to lead James Madison past Hartford, 11-3, in the opener of a four-game non-conference baseball series on Friday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU improved to 3-6 on the season while Hartford dropped to 0-5.
Toohers (1-2) struck out a career-high seven batters in his seven innings of work. He faced one batter over the minimum as two of the three Hawks to reach base against him were erased on steal attempts.
Toohers was aided by a balanced JMU offense with eight of nine batters accounting for the 11 hits in the game. The Dukes were opportunistic early, taking an early 4-0 lead after three innings with all four runs reaching via walks. Madison then blew the game open with a three-run fourth and a four spot in the eighth.
Senior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glenville) was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a run and two walks. Redshirt freshman catcher Chris Hanson (Farifax, Va./Oakton) doubled twice, the first two of his career, and scored twice. Junior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) also had two hits, a walk and scored twice.
Brian Hunter took the loss for Hartford after allowing seven runs, five earned, on four hits in five innings. He also walked six. The Hawks had just four hits in the game with first baseman Brady Sheetz posting the only RBI hit.
JMU grabbed the lead in the second without a hit. Sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) led off with a walk and stole consecutive bags to get to third with no outs. Goss also walked and stole second. With two outs, senior right fielder Colby Roberts' (Benton, Ark./Benton) grounder to short was briefly bobbled then thrown away for the error to allow both runners to score for the 2-0 lead.
Two more Dukes earned their way on via free passes in the third as senior center fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) and McFarland each walked. Again Madison was able to cash in with two outs as Goss doubled to the corner in left for the first JMU hit of the game and a 4-0 lead.
Following a walk for the Hawks in the fourth, Sheetz doubled just past the outstretched glove of Carroll in left to plate the first run for Hartford.
The JMU fourth again began with a walk. Roberts moved to third on a double off the wall in right by Hanson. Bladel then drove in Roberts with a single through the left side of the drawn-in infield. With Bladel in motion, McFarland singled through the empty right side to plate Hanson and make it 6-1. Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) flied out to deep center for a sacrifice fly to make it 7-1.
After a pitching change, Hartford earned its second run in the eighth as designated hitter Billy Walker singled and moved to second on a hit batter. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, Walker scored on an RBI groundout by third baseman Nick Dummar.
The Dukes responded in the bottom of the inning as Roberts led off with a triple to right center and scored on Hanson's double to the corner in right. Bladel was hit by a pitch and McFarland singled on a bouncing ball over the pitcher to load the bases. Tenaglia singled to left to drive in two to make it 10-2. Carroll hit a sharp single off the third baseman's glove to plate McFarland for an 11-2 score.
Hartford earned its final run in the ninth on a bases loaded walk
The teams continue the series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday followed by the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.