ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 14, 2014 – Three pitchers combined to limit their opponents to one run on 10 hits in 14 innings of work as the James Madison softball team earned a pair of wins on day one of the UCF Holiday Inn Classic in Orlando, Fla., Friday. JMU rolled past Florida A&M 9-0 in six innings in game one before downing Middle Tennessee, 3-1, in the nightcap.
The win improved the Dukes’ record to 3-4 on the season while FAMU dropped to 0-6 and Middle Tennessee fell to 1-5.
In game two against Middle Tennessee, JMU scored two unearned runs on four errors by the Blue Raiders and sophomore pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) tossed her third complete game of the season in a 3-1 win.
Ford improved to 2-2 on the season after holding MTSU to one run on seven hits in seven innings of work. The left-hander struck out five and walked three.
Shelby Stinnett pitched well, but took the loss for the Blue Raiders. She limited JMU to three runs, one earned, on three hits in six innings of work. The right-hander did not walk a batter, but also had no strikeouts.
The Dukes three hits came from the bottom of their order as sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) went 1-for-2 with a RBI, a run scored and two steals. Senior first baseman Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough) went 1-for-2 with a RBI and freshman right fielder Tahli Moore (Sydney, Australia/Loreto Normanhurst College) went 1-for-2 with a single.
MTSU first baseman Kayla Toney was the only player in the game with multiple hits as she led the Blue Raider offense with a 2-for-3 showing. Catcher Laura Duke went 1-for-2 with a double while second baseman Lari Mitchell walked twice.
The Dukes opened the scoring without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the first. Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) reached on a one-out fielding error, stole second and came around to score on a second error by the Blue Raiders.
The Dukes added another run on a Middle Tennessee error in the second. Freshman left fielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) started the inning by reaching on an error. She was replaced by Hayes on a fielder’s choice. Hayes then stole second and came around to score on a single to center by Clayton.
In the fourth inning, senior designated player Catherine Clavin (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson) reached second on the Blue Raiders’ fourth error of the game. She was pinch run for by senior Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) who moved to third on a ground-out and scored on a single through the right side by Hayes.
MTSU got on the board in the top of the sixth inning. Left fielder Cheyenne Willis led off with a walk. She moved to third on back-to-back ground-outs and scored on a single down the left-field line by right fielder McKena Miller.
In the first game of the day, the Dukes got their offense rolling with 15 hits in a 9-0 win in six innings over Florida A&M.
Junior right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) combined with freshman pitcher Kelly Wishard (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough) for the Dukes’ second shutout of the season. Kiefer earned the win to improve to 1-2 on the season. She limited the Rattlers to three hits in five innings of work. The junior struck out six and did not walk a batter. Wishard pitched the final inning for Madison and retired all three batters she faced.
Ashleigh Minter drew the start for Florida A&M, picking up the loss to fall to 0-3. She gave up three runs on six hits in two innings of work. Kenya Pererira allowed five runs, four earned on nine hits and a walk while Taylor Thomas allowed an unearned run in 2/3 innings pitched.
Seven players recorded hits for JMU led by three each from Ford and Hayes. Ford went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, three runs and two RBIs while Hayes was 3-for-4 with two steals and a RBI. Clayton went 2-for-2 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Florida A&M’s only three base runners game in the bottom of the fifth as it strung together three infield singles to load the bases with two outs. The singles came from Pererira, first baseman Genesis Lopez and pinch hitter Miesha McBride. Kiefer worked out of the jam by getting second baseman Alyssa Weaver to ground-out.
The Dukes got the scoring going early with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Sandy smacked a one-out triple to right-center and came in to score one batter later on a single to center by Ford. Ford then stole second and scored on a double down the left field line by sophomore catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park).
Ford added an RBI double in the top of the second, scoring freshman center fielder Mimi Morris (Kenilworth, Ill./New Trier) on the play.
Three more runs came in for Madison in the top of the fourth. Morris started the rally with an infield single, stole second and scored on a single by Sandy. After Ford walked, Clayton hit a double left field, scoring Sandy and moving Ford to third. Hayes brought in the inning’s final run with a single to left.
Another RBI double by Clayton and a two-run error in the top of the sixth brought about the winning margin for JMU as Wishard came in to close out the game in the bottom of the sixth.
JMU returns to the field on Saturday for two more games in the UCF Holiday Inn Classic. Madison takes on Illinois-Chicago at 9 a.m. before facing tournament host Central Florida at 1:30 p.m.
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