HARRISONBURG, Va., April 22, 2013 – Senior outfielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) strung together one of the best performances of the season by a James Madison player to earn Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week recognition from Collegiate Baseball to go along with the Colonial Athletic Association’s weekly honor while sophomore right-hander Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) strung together four impressive relief outings to share CAA Pitcher of the Week recognition.
Roberts hit .667 last week, going 12-for-18 at the plate with 15 RBIs in JMU’s 4-1 week. He scored seven runs and posted a 1.222 slugging percentage thanks to four doubles and two home runs. He also added four walks, a hit by pitch and two sacrifice flies for a .680 slugging percentage. The week extended his active hitting streak to a career-best 11 games.
JMU entered the week 0-19 on the year when trailing or tied after six innings. However, Roberts was integral in posting four wins last week that were all decided after the sixth. On Tuesday, he went 4-for-4 with five RBIs with a pair of early solo home runs plus a ninth-inning three-run double for the game winner in an 8-6 triumph at Radford. He was 1-for-2 with three walks while scoring the fourth run that helped push the game to extra innings at Longwood on Wednesday. He posted a career-high six RBIs while going 3-for-4 in the opener of the Georgia State series and followed that with a 2-for-4 day in the nightcap of the doubleheader, including the sacrifice fly in the seventh that tied the game at 8-8 to send it to extra innings. In the series finale on Sunday, he was 2-for-4 with three more RBIs, including a two-run single in the eighth that capped a four-run inning and extended JMU’s lead to 8-5 heading into the ninth.
More impressively, Roberts did not become a regular member of the starting lineup until April. In the first 18 games of the season, he hit .231 with one RBI. During JMU’s next 21 games, which encompass his 11-game hitting streak, he leads Madison with a .512 batting average and 21 RBIs, a slugging percentage of .837 and a .564 on-base percentage. Seven of the 11 games during his streak have been multiple-hit games with four games of three or more RBIs.
Huffman was dominant in four relief outings last week, posting a win and three saves with a 0.00 ERA. He allowed four hits in the six total innings of work. Huffman pitched the ninth in JMU’s come-from-behind 8-6 win at Radford on Tuesday and tossed the 10th after the Dukes pushed ahead with two runs in extra innings for a 6-4 Wednesday win at Longwood. On Saturday, he entered an 8-8 game in the eighth and worked the last three innings as the Dukes walked off with a 9-8 win in 10 innings. On Sunday, he closed the series by pitching the ninth for his seventh save of the season. His three saves during the week helped him climb from 13th to fifth in season saves at JMU with seven. He also reached fifth with nine career saves.
After JMU’s 4-1 week, the Dukes take a break from CAA action until May 10-12 when they host Towson. The next non-conference game for Madison will be Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at No. 5 Virginia.