HARRISONBURG, Va., March 30, 2013 -- Three players drove in three RBIs and a pair of pitchers combined to limit Drexel to one run in five innings as the James Madison softball team completed a Colonial Athletic Association series sweep over the Dragons, 11-1, on Saturday.
JMU ran its winning streak to eight straight and improved to 24-7 overall. The Dukes have won 10 straight conference games dating back to 2012, including a 6-0 start to CAA play this season. Drexel dropped to 10-21 and 0-6 in conference.
Freshman pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) pitched the first 3 2/3 innings for Madison to earn the win. She improved to 12-1 on the season after limiting Drexel to one run on two hits. The left-hander walked four and struck out six. Sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) allowed one hit and struck out one in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Shelby Taylor took the loss for the Dragons, dropping to 3-9. She allowed 11 runs, 10 earned on 12 hits and six walks with two strikeouts.
Offensively, the Dukes were paced by senior designated player Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarty) who reached base three times, going 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, three RBIs and a run scored. Sophomore first baseman Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) added her team-leading 10th home run of the year and had three RBIs and two runs scored while senior third baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) went 1-for-2 with a home run, a walk and three RBIs.
Maggy Fermo led the Dragons with a double in three at-bats. Taylor contributed a hit and a run scored and third baseman Jill Popek was hit by a pitch and drove in one.
As it did twice on Friday, JMU took a big lead after just one inning. The Dukes scored five times in the bottom of the first as they sent 10 batters to the plate. Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) led off the game with a single to left and stole second. After a walk by senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange), freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) singled to left-center to load the bases for Mooney. Mooney drove in the first run of the game with a single through the left side. Junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) made it 2-0 with a bunt single before Shinaberry laced a two-run single down the left-field line. Johnson capped the inning with a RBI ground-out.
Madison extended its lead to 6-0 in the third inning as Ford started the frame with a double down the left-field line. She moved up to third on walks by Shinaberry and Johnson and scored on a wild pitch.
Drexel took advantage of a pair of walks in the top of the fourth to cut into the lead with a run. Taylor walked and moved to second on a single by designated player Rose Portiolli. Ford got the next two batters out, but walked first baseman Jenn Reading to load the bases and was relieved by Kiefer. Kiefer hit Popek with her first pitch to bring in a run, but ended the threat by inducing a ground-out.
Five more runs scored in the bottom of the fourth as the Dukes extended their lead to 11-1. Butler led off with a bunt single and stole second. She scored as Mooney lifted a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left-center field for her 10th homer of the year and the 19th of her career. Sandy kept the inning going with a single. She stole second and scored on a double down the line by Shinaberry. Johnson capped the game with a two-run blast over the fence in left field. It was her first of the year and the 13th of her career.
JMU returns to action on Wednesday as it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a doubleheader at North Carolina. First pitch in game one is set for 4 p.m.
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