CLEARWATER, Fla., Feb. 23, 2014 – Sophomore pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) twirled her third complete game of the weekend and smacked two doubles at the plate to lead the James Madison softball team to a 3-1 win over DePaul in the final game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla., Sunday.
JMU finished the five-game tournament with a 3-2 record and improved to 8-7 on the season. DePaul closed out the tournament with a 4-1 record and is 11-4 on the season.
Ford earned All-Tournament recognitions for her work over the weekend after going 2-1 with a 1.33 ERA in 21 innings pitched. The 2013 CAA Rookie of the Year struck out 23 and walked only four while compiling three complete games, including a shutout in the tournament. She also hit .286 at the plate with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
Ford’s win ran her record to 5-3 on the season as she limited the Blue Demons to one run on five hits. The left-hander struck out six and did not walk a batter in seven innings of work.
Kirsten Verdun took the loss for DePaul despite allowing only one earned run in the game. She gave up three runs total on six hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings of work.
The Dukes’ offense was powered by Ford and sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) with a pair of hits each. Ford went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored while Hayes had two singles and a walk in four trips to the plate. Sophomore catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) added a base knock, a run and a RBI on the day for Madison.
Designated player Nicole Pihl homered among two hits for the Blue Demons. She finished the game 2-for-3 with the homer, a run and a RBI. Right fielder Megan Coronado went 1-for-2 with a triple while shortstop Allie Braden was 1-for-3 with a single.
Pihl’s solo homer with one out in the bottom of the second opened the scoring in the game. The freshman jumped on a Ford offering and smacked it out over the fence in center for her third home run of the season.
The Dukes fought back to take the lead in the top of the sixth inning. Hayes ignited the rally with a one out bunt single and moved to third on a double to left by Ford. Field followed by grounding into a fielder’s choice, but Hayes outraced the throw home to score the tying run. Ford gave the Dukes the lead by scoring on a DePaul fielding error before a second fielder’s choice, this time off the bat of senior first baseman Catherine Clavin (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson), chased home Field for the 3-1 lead.
DePaul got a lead-off single to start the bottom of the seventh inning, bringing the tying run to the plate, but Ford retired the next three batters she faced to finish off the win.
JMU returns to Harrisonburg next weekend to host the JMU Invitational at Veterans Memorial Park. Dartmouth, Kent State, Fairfield and Penn State join the Dukes for the three-day tournament starting Friday, Feb. 28.
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