HARRISONBURG, Va., April 6, 2013 – James Madison softball scored 23 runs on 26 hits on its way to a doubleheader sweep over UNCW at Boseman Field in Wilmington, N.C., on Saturday. JMU won the opener 12-1 in five innings and took the nightcap, 11-2.
The Dukes extended their winning streak in Colonial Athletic Association games to 12, including an 8-0 start to this season. They improved to 26-9 overall. UNCW dropped to 12-21 and 1-6 in league play.
Sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) earned the win in game two, improving to 9-4 on the season. She held the Seahawks to two runs, one earned, on four hits in six innings of work. The sophomore struck out four and did not walk a batter. Sophomore right-hander Miranda Kemp (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield (Iowa State)) allowed one hit and struck out one in an inning of shutout relief.
Casey Rowland drew the start for UNCW, taking the loss to drop to 8-9. She ceded 11 runs, seven earned, on 13 hits and a walk while striking out three. Jordyn Schmidt retired the only batter she faced in 1/3 inning of relief.
Freshman first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) reached base four times to pace the Madison attack. She went 3-for-3 with a walk, three runs and two RBIs. Senior designated player Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarty) added two hits, two runs and a RBI while junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Right fielder Olivia Poplin finished 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI and left fielder Morgan McCann went 1-for-3 with a RBI to lead the UNCW attack. Designated player KC Shue added a double in three at-bats while catcher Kimmie Stewart had the teams fifth, going 1-for-3 with a run scored.
JMU took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, doing all of its damage with two outs. Sandy started the rally with a single up the middle and moved to third on a single to right by Shinaberry. The duo combined for a double steal to plate the first run, before a Seahawk fielding error allowed a second run to come home.
The first three JMU batters reached base in the top of the third to load the bases. After a ground-out, Ford launched a ball out to the fence in center. The wind carried the ball away from the UNCW center fielder and fell in for a single. Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) and senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) scored on the play before a UNCW throwing error allowed Ford and freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) to add to more runs to the lead.
Wilmington cut into its deficit with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning. Stewart singled up the middle to lead off the frame and moved to second on a ground-out. A Madison fielding error put runners on the corners for Poplin who drove in the first run with a double to left-center. McCann followed by finding the grass just inside the right-field line for a RBI single to make it 6-2. before Kiefer erased the threat by inducing a double play.
Two more Dukes came in to score in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Shinaberry and a single down the left-field line by senior third baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run). The Dukes capped the game with three runs in the seventh with the help of two UNCW fielding errors and a wild pitch.
Kemp gave up a double to open the bottom of the seventh, but quickly settled in to retire the final three batters of the game.
Ford earned the win in game one, improving to 5-0 in CAA play and 13-2 overall. She limited UNCW to one run on two hits in five innings of work. The left-hander struck out six and walked three.
Schmidt took the loss for Wilmington to drop to 4-8 on the year. She allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out two in 1 2/3 innings of work. Kayla Pine tossed the final 3 1/3 innings in relief. She allowed seven runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits and a walk. The left-hander struck out three.
Offensively, the Dukes finished with 13 hits, including five players finishing with two. Sophomore first baseman Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) led the way, going 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Ford added a home run and two RBIs in four at bats while Heath was 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored.
Shue drove in the UNCW run with a sacrifice fly, but was 0-for-1 in the game. McCann finished 1-for-1 with a single and right fielder Olivia Poplin walked and scored a run in three trips to the plate.
The bats were active early as the teams combined for six runs through the first inning and a half. The Dukes scored twice in first and added three more in the second while UNCW responded with a run in the bottom of the first. Mooney drove in two of the JMU runs with a RBI single and fielder’s choice. Sandy and Field contributed run-scoring singles and the fifth Madison run came in on a wild pitch.
Ford struggled with her command in the first, leading to UNCW’s run. Two of the first three Seahawks drew walks before a wild pitch moved a runner up to third. Shue picked up the RBI with a fly ball to right field and Poplin raced home ahead of the throw for a sacrifice fly.
Madison added to its lead in the third with an RBI single by Johnson. Sandy led off the inning by beating out an infield single. She moved to second on a wild pitch and scored as Johnson’s line drive landed just inside the foul line for a single.
Mooney added two more RBIs on a single and Ford blasted her eight home run of the year to highlight a six-run fifth inning as JMU went on to earn the early-termination rule victory, 12-1.
JMU and UNCW conclude their series on Sunday with a noon game at Boseman Field.
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