HARRISONBURG, Va., March 10, 2013 - Powered by a grand slam from sophomore shortstop Tyler Duke (Troutville, Va./James River) and solid hitting from the entire lineup, the James Madison baseball team defeated Hofstra 10-6 to complete the three-game sweep and open conference play undefeated. The Dukes moved to 9-6 on the season while the Pride fell to 3-11.
Sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) started the scoring in the second inning for JMU as he plated junior designated hitter Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) and junior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) off of a single through the left side.
After senior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale (Jefferson College)) was called for the infield fly to post the second out of the second inning, Duke blasted his third home run of the year over the left field wall to give the Dukes a 9-0 lead over the Pride.
Duke finished the day with five RBIs off of two hits in four at-bats. His only run for the day came from his grand slam. Brown had a team-leading three hits over five at-bats Sunday afternoon with one run scored. Both Carroll and McFarland each finished the game with two hits and two runs scored, and Carroll batted in two runs while McFarland batted in one.
The Pride had a chance to tie the game in the top of the ninth, as the game-tying run came to the plate with bases loaded. Junior right-hander Trent Cundiff (Roanoke, Va./Northside) had induced the first two batters into ground outs, but Hofstra refused to back down and hit two quick doubles to put the score at 10-6. After a fielding error and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, Cundiff settled in and got Matt Reistetter to ground out to Goss at second base.
Redshirt sophomore right-hander Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) notched the win Sunday, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits over 6.1 innings pitched. He struck out three Hofstra batters and walked just one.
Right-hander Jared Rogers is credited with the loss after giving up seven earned runs over 1.1 innings pitched. Hofstra sent six different pitchers to the mound with right-hander Brett Schreiber seeing the most time. Schreiber went two innings of relief and gave up just one hit for no runs.
Senior centerfielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) led off the game with a double on the right field line, and McFarland batted him in with a double to right field. Later in the first inning, McFarland scored off a single through the left side by Goss. Carroll scored the third run for JMU off of Duke's first hit of the day, a single up the middle.
Hofstra slowly chipped away at the lead, scoring an unearned run in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
The Pride's biggest inning came in the top of the seventh as Hofstra had three runners cross home plate, starting with Taylor Stuart off of a Chris Nardo-single. Nardo and Kenny Jackson would later score following a single up the middle by Jared Hammer to make the score 9-5.
JMU answered in the bottom of the seventh with Bladel scoring after a bases-loaded walk by redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East).
The Dukes return to Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, March 12 for a mid-week clash with the Keydets of VMI. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.