HARRISONBURG, Va., May 11, 2013 – James Madison rebounded from an 11-7 loss by pounding 17 hits and limiting Towson to six to win the nightcap of a doubleheader 16-3 in a pivotal Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Saturday at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU snapped a three-game skid with the win and stands at 21-26 overall and 9-13 in the CAA. The Dukes sit in sixth place among the seven teams vying for one of six spots in the CAA Tournament and hold a half-game lead over Hofstra with four remaining. TU sits at 23-26 overall and 12-11 in the CAA.
Game 1 – James Madison 16, Towson 3
JMU posted eight extra-base hits in the win, matching a season high with three home runs while adding five doubles. The 17 hits were two shy of a season high. The Dukes scored multiple runs in five innings, scoring twice in the second and third, three times in the fifth and sixth and putting the game away with six in the eighth.
Senior Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) continued his progression into a key piece of the weekend rotation, picking up his first career pitching victory (1-0 this year). He allowed three runs on six hits while matching a career high by going six innings and setting a career high with seven strikeouts. Freshman Mark Gunst (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI) allowed only a walk in three innings of relief to pick up his second save.
Sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) matched his career high with four hits while also driving in five runs. Center fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) celebrated senior day by going 3-for-5 with a walk and three runs scored. Junior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) posted JMU’s second multiple-home run game of the season to raise his team-leading total to eight while driving in three. He was also hit by pitches twice.
Continuing the JMU offensive outburst, senior right fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Junior first baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two walks. Bladel also had two hits to support his own cause. He moved into the top 10 in career runs scored at 181 with five for the day.
Paul Beers (1-6) took the loss as the first of 10 pitchers in the game for Towson. He allowed two runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings. Right fielder Dominic Fratantuono led the offense by going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Game 2 – Towson 11, James Madison 7
In the first game, Towson broke a 2-2 tie with a five-run fifth. The Dukes scored once in the fifth and three times in the seventh to cut the margin to one, but the Tigers put the game away with a pair of runs in each the eighth and ninth innings.
Left fielder Peter Bowles went 3-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the Tigers. Third baseman Zach Fisher was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Right fielder Dominic Fratantuono had two RBIs on a pair of sacrifice flies. Designated hitter Kurt Wertz was 2-for-4 with a walk.
Mike Volpe (6-3) picked up the win after allowing five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings. Nik Nowottnick worked three innings while allowing two runs on four hits to post his first career save.
Redshirt sophomore Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) fell to 3-4 after allowing seven runs, five earned, on five hits in 4 1/3 innings. Sophomore Luke Drayer (Hummelstown, Pa./Hershey) limited the Tigers to one run on one hit in three innings of relief.
Bladel was 3-for-4 with a walk at the plate. Carroll was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a walk. The Dukes led the Tigers in hits for the game 11-9.
Between games, JMU honored its six seniors, outfielder/pitcher Johnny Bladel, infielder Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glenville), catcher Billy Logan (Greenup, Ky./Greenup County), Cole McInturff, Colby Roberts and utility player Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby).
The series will wrap up with a 2 p.m. game Sunday afternoon.