CLEARWATER, Fla., Feb. 22, 2014 – The James Madison softball team knocked off a ranked team for the second time under head coach Mickey Dean as it defeated No. 20/22 UL Lafayette 3-0 in the completion of a rain-suspended game on Saturday at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla. In later action, JMU fell to Illinois State, 1-0, and RV/RV USF, 3-0, at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
The Dukes are now 2-2 at the NFCA tournament and 7-7 on the season. They had won three straight with the victory over ULL before losing three straight. ULL dropped to 7-4-1 with the loss while ISU improved to 4-8 and USF to 6-4.
Game three: RV/RV USF 3, JMU 0
USF left-handers Sara Nevins and Erica Nunn combined to limit JMU to four hits in a shutout effort. Nevins earned the win to improve to 4-2 on the season. She held Madison to four hits in six innings of work. The All-American struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Nunn came in to close out the game, striking out one in a perfect inning of relief to earn her first save of the season.
Sophomore left-hander Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) took the loss despite pitching well. She allowed three runs on six hits in a complete-game effort. Ford struck out six and walked one.
Five of USF’s six hits were for extra bases. Designated player/catcher Lee Ann Spivey led the way for the Bulls, going 2-for-3 with a double and a home run, a run and a RBI. Shortstop Kourtney Salvarola added a double, a walk and a run scored in two at-bats while left fielder Courtney Goff was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
Sophomore catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) record two of JMU’s four hits, going 2-for-3 with a couple of singles. Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) add a base hit in three plate appearances while freshman center fielder Niki Prince (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) went 1-for-2 with a single.
The Bulls opened the scoring just three batters into the game. Salvarola led off the game with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. She scored on a double to left by right fielder Ta’Coia Williams.
Spivey led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to right-center field, her fourth homer of the season. It was a lead-off triple by Goff in the fifth that helped pushed the Bulls’ third run across. Ford struck out the next two batters, but on the second one, the pitch was in the dirt and Goff raced home to score on the throw down to first.
Game Two: Illinois State 1, JMU 0
Illinois State’s Regan Romshek outlasted JMU junior pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) in a pitchers’ duel. Romshek’s four-hit shutout powered the Redbirds to a 1-0 win.
Romshek improved to 3-4 on the season as the right-hander struck out two and walked one in seven innings of work.
Kiefer took the tough-luck loss to fall to 3-4 on the year. The two-time All-CAA selection limited her opponent to one run on seven hits while striking out four and walking one.
Second baseman Koby Hoffman and catcher Jordan de los Reyes paced the ISU attack. The duo combined to go 4-for-6 at the plate while first baseman Laura Canopy went 1-for-2 with a triple, a walk and a RBI.
Four players recorded single for the JMU offense. Ford, Field and sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) all went 1-for-3 at the plate while freshman left fielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) had a base hit in two trips to the plate.
The game’s lone run of the day came in the bottom of the third. The Redbirds received a two-out triple from Canopy to drive in shortstop Lindsey Greene. Greene led off the inning with a single to right-center. She moved to on a sacrifice bunt and scored easily after Canopy blasted a Kiefer offer to center for the three-base hit.
The Dukes threatened in the top of the sixth as Prince led off with a walk. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but JMU could not come up with a crucial knock as the rookie was left stranded in scoring position.
Game One: JMU 3, No. 20/22 UL Lafayette 0
In their first action of the day, the Dukes resumed their game against No. 20/22 UL Lafayette after that contest was suspended due to rain on Friday. JMU led the game 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth when the action went into a rain delay.
Madison picked up right where they left off on Saturday as Ford limited the Ragin’ Cajuns to one base runner on Saturday. She tossed her fourth complete game and second shutout of the season to improve to 4-2 on the year. The left-hander limited the Ragin’ Cajuns to two hits and three walks while striking out 11 in seven innings of work.
Victoria Brown took the loss for ULL, falling to 0-1 on the season. She gave up two runs on four hits and struck out one in two innings of work. Christina Hamilton relieved Brown and limited JMU to one run on three hits. The right-hander struck out five in five innings of work.
Offensively, Madison was paced by Sandy and Prince with two hits apiece. Prince went 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI while Sandy was 2-for-2 and was hit by a pitch in three plate appearances. Senior pinch hitter Catherine Clavin (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson) chipped in a hit and a RBI in her only at-bat.
The Ragin’ Cajuns two hits came from second baseman Natalie Fernandez and center fielder Haley Hayden as each went 1-for-3 with Hayden adding a double. Three other players, left fielder Shelbi Redfearn, right fielder Shellie Landry and designated player Sara Corbello reached base with walks.
JMU opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Hayes started the inning with a one-out single to right. She advanced to third on a ground-out and a wild pitch before coming in to score on a single through the left side by Newton. Newton then stole second and came around to score on a single by Prince.
Clavin added to the JMU lead with a pinch-hit, RBI single in the top of the seventh. Prince manufactured the two-out rally by beating out an infield single. She then stole second and came in to touch home as Clavin drove a single back up the middle for the RBI.
ULL did not have a hit after Hayden’s double in the bottom of the third. Only two base runners reached base for the Ragin’ Cajuns after the third, both on walks.
The Dukes close out the NFCA Leadoff Classic on Sunday as they take on DePaul in an 11 a.m. contest.
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