James Madison baseball is set to take on the Blue Hens of Delaware in a three-game series this weekend in Colonial Athletic Association play. The series begins on Friday at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 6:30 p.m. Saturday start and a 2 p.m. Sunday start at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU holds a record of 6-18-1 overall and 1-8 in the Colonial Athletic Association this season after coming off a Tuesday matchup versus non-conference opponent Virginia Tech at home, which ended in a 6-4 JMU loss. Delaware is 11-14 overall and 4-5 in CAA league action.
The Dukes started Tuesday's game slow as the Hokies took a 4-0 lead through the first half of the game. Freshman left-hander Aaron Hoover surrendered four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of work in the start. Junior Nick Slogik ended up with the loss after allowing two unearned runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched.
JMU got back in the game with a three-run fifth inning, which included junior catcher Bradley Shaban hitting a two-run home run over the 16-foot fence in right field. The Dukes added another run in the sixth inning to bring the game to a 4-4 tie. In the eighth inning, the Hokies had a two-run double that sealed the game for Tech as JMU was unable to rally in the final two innings.
Four of JMU's top five batters combined to account for nine of the Dukes' eleven hits on the night. JMU also left 11 men on base in the game including two times when bases were loaded in the third and fourth innings. The Dukes were still able to have seven steals in the matchup with freshman shortstop Chad Carroll counting for two of them.
Junior second baseman Casey Goss has a five-game multiple-hit streak (12-for-21) going while also hitting .304 and adding a team-high eleven steals on the season. Junior center fielder Cole McInturff continues to lead the Dukes with a .337 batting average after having back-to-back three-hit games.
Delaware is coming off a non-conference matchup against Lehigh in which the Blue Hens won 5-0 on Tuesday. Sophomore righty Danny Gatto pitched six shutout innings in the game as Delaware capitalized on four Lehigh errors in order to earn its second shutout of the season. Second baseman D.J. Long went 1-for-3 in the outing and scored two runs.
Redshirt freshman outfielder Tyler Powell leads the Hens at the plate with a .338 batting average and five doubles. Junior outfielder Nick Ferdinand has a team-leading 14 RBIs on the season while posting a .314 batting average. Senior reliever Devon Pearson has dominated out of the bullpen this season by throwing 25 1/3 innings in 11 appearances and accumulating a 0.71 ERA on the year. He has also only allowed two earned runs in those appearances and has four saves on the season.
JMU leads the all-time series 20-16 over the Blue Hens. The Dukes have won 10 of the past 13 games versus Delaware and went 1-2 in the conference series last April over Easter weekend. JMU lost the first two games and then won the final matchup of the series in a 10-inning 12-11 win in Newark, N.J.
Game 1 - Friday, 6:30 p.m.
JMU - Josh Futter, Sr., RHP (0-1, 5.68 ERA)
Futter has made eleven appearances this year and thrown 19 innings but has allowed twelve earned runs in those innings. He pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in Tuesday's matchup against Virginia Tech. This will be Futter's first start of the season.
Delaware - Eric Young, Sr., RHP (3-2, 3.73 ERA)
Young leads the Delaware staff with 41 innings pitched and owns the only complete game for the Blue Hens. He is limiting opponents to a .219 batting average with a team-high 32 strikeouts. Last Friday, Young took the loss with four runs on nine hits in 7 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts against Towson.
Game 2 - Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
JMU -Patrick Toohers, Fr., RHP (0-1, 3.51 ERA)
Toohers has posted a 3.51 ERA while pitching 25 2/3 innings in six starts in his first collegiate season. In his last outing versus Georgia State, he pitched six innings while only surrendering two earned runs on six hits.
Delaware - Corey Crispell, r-Sr., RHP (3-1, 1.79 ERA)
Crispell ranks just behind Young with 40 1/3 innings pitched and holds an identical .219 opponent average with 33 hits surrendered in 151 at bats. However, he has allowed just eight earned runs for a miniscule 1.79 ERA. Crispell won a pitcher's duel last week against Towson with one unearned run allowed on four hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings during a 2-1 win.
Game 3 - Sunday, 2 p.m.
JMU - Evan Scott, Sr., RHP (0-3, 10.54 ERA)
Scott has made five starts this season but only pitched 13 2/3 innings. In his last start, he threw 1/3 of an inning and gave up six earned runs before being replaced against Georgia State. Scott is still looking for his first win of the season.
Delaware - Chad Kuhl, So., RHP (1-4, 4.99 ERA)
Kuhl will make his seventh start of the season. He has issued the most free bases of the Delaware pitching staff with 17 walks issued and five hit batters. He completes a Blue Hen rotation that has racked up 112 of the team's 214 total innings pitched. Kuhl was a hard-luck loser last week with three runs allowed on seven hits in seven innings during a 3-2 setback against Towson.