BROOKLINE, Mass., Mar. 31, 2013 – Senior Kevin Ferguson tossed a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts to lead Northeastern past James Madison 5-0 to clinch a Colonial Athletic Association series sweep on Sunday afternoon at Friedman Diamond.
JMU fell to 14-12 overall and 6-5 in the CAA after being swept for the first time in exactly a year when the Dukes dropped three games to Delaware at home March 30 to April 1, 2012. Madison was shut out by an opponent for the first time since falling to Maryland 3-0 last April 17.
Ferguson carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning until JMU senior center fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single. Ferguson improved to 4-2 after allowing four hits and walking three as the first pitcher to toss a shutout against JMU since William and Mary’s Matt Davenport March 16 last year. The 11 strikeouts were the most against the Dukes since 11 by UNC’s Patrick Johnson in the 2011 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional.
Redshirt sophomore Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) suffered his first loss of the season to fall to 3-1. He allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Northeastern hit four triples in the game with center fielder Connor Lyons going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and one of the three baggers. Right fielder Aaron Barbosa, left fielder Brad Burcroff and designated hitter Justin Kessler each had two hits with a triple.
Sophomore shortstop Tyler Duke (Troutville, Va./James River) had the only extra-base hit for the Dukes with a double. Bladel singled and walked. JMU had just three runners reach second base in the game.
A JMU throwing error contributed to the first run of the game for the Huskies in the third. Burcroff’s sacrifice fly followed Barbosa’s triple in the third to make it 2-0. Lyons hit an RBI double in the sixth to make it 3-0 and his triple in the eighth came after a triple by Burcroff to make it 4-0. First baseman Rob Fonseca added an RBI double to close the scoring at 5-0.
JMU wraps up a stretch of eight out of nine games on the road on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game at VMI.