LEXINGTON, Va., April 25, 2012 - Junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) delivered the game-winning single and freshman Ben Garner (Burke, Va./Paul VI) recorded his first collegiate victory as James Madison defeated VMI 5-4 in 13 innings in a non-conference baseball game Wednesday evening at Gray-Minor Stadium.
JMU improved to 14-27-1 overall and won its first midweek game since a Feb. 22 win over Longwood, snapping a run of nine straight losses in midweek, non-conference games. It was the longest JMU game by innings since a 7-6 win in 14 innings at Virginia in 2007. VMI fell to 14-27.
The Dukes led 4-1 going into the bottom of the sixth but surrendered single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth as VMI sent the game into extra innings.
The teams traded goose eggs until junior outfielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) led off with a walk and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by freshman third baseman Tyler Duke (Troutville, Va./James River). Goss followed with a single up the middle to plate McInturff for the game-winning run.
Garner entered in the 11th and worked three shutout innings to post the first victory of his collegiate career. He allowed one hit and struck out one. Over his last 10 2/3 innings over four appearances, Garner has allowed two earned runs (1.69 ERA).
The game was filled with missed opportunities for both teams as they combined for 23 runners left on base. The Dukes stranded runners in scoring position in each the second, third, fourth, fifth, 10th and 13th innings.
Even worse for VMI, the host stranded a runner in scoring position in eight of the 13 innings, including seven consecutive innings from the sixth through the 12th. Among those failed attempts, the Keydets stranded a leadoff triple in the eighth thanks to three straight groundouts to shortstop. Additionally, they had a runner at second with one out in each the ninth and 11th innings as well as a runner on third with one out in the 10th.
McInturff paced the JMU offense by going 3-for-4 with a double, two walks, a steal and two runs scored for his first game this season reaching base five times. Goss had two hits while junior right fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) and junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) each had a single, a double and a walk.
Both teams threw six pitchers in the game. Senior starter Josh Futter (Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake) worked a season-high five innings with a career-high of five strikeouts with the only run allowed on a leadoff home run by Rob Dickinson.
Reed Garrett took the loss as the fifth of six pitchers for Keydets. He started the 13th and allowed the walk, sac bunt and game-winning single. Prior to him, Jonathan Kelley, Michael Devine and John Garrett had combined to limit JMU to three hits in 8 2/3 innings in relief of starter Connor Bach, who allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Dickinson was 2-for-5 with his home run and two of VMI's four walks. Right fielder Jacob Morley had two hits with a triple. Catcher Matt Winn had two doubles, including the game-tying two-bagger in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
After Dickinson's leadoff home run in the bottom of the first, JMU tied the score in the third on an RBI double by senior designated hitter Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield).
The Dukes broke through with a three-run fourth inning. Bladel drove in two with a double inside the right field line. An infield single by sophomore Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) made it 4-1.
That's when the VMI bullpen took over to hold JMU in check while the Keydets rallied. VMI scored an unearned run on a passed ball in the sixth and took advantage of a JMU throwing error for another unearned run in the seventh to make it 4-3.
After the Keydets stranded a leadoff triple by Morley in the eighth, they fought back in the ninth. Pinch hitter Brandon Diamond singled and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. Winn then delivered the tying RBI double to left. An intentional walk filled in the empty base at first, but freshman Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) recovered to strike out a pair of batters to preserve the tie.
JMU will be home this weekend for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series, beginning with Friday's 6:30 p.m. game against George Mason.