James Madison baseball hosts Northeastern in conference play in a three-game series this weekend after a mid-week loss to Virginia on Wednesday by the score of 15-5. The Colonial Athletic Association series begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. followed by games on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU currently sits at 6-22-1 on the season and 1-11 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dukes have a five-game losing streak with their last win coming against Georgia State on March 25. Northeastern is 12-11 overall and 3-6 in conference play.
JMU entered Wednesday's game against the Cavaliers 0-1-1 versus UVA this season after a tie in the Caravelle Resort Tournament and a home loss back in early March. The Dukes quickly got on the board in the first inning after RBIs by junior catcher Bradley Shaban and junior centerfielder Cole McInturff brought home junior second baseman Casey Goss and sophomore third baseman Conner Brown. JMU went on to surrender 15 unanswered runs through seven innings. It wasn't until the top of the eighth before the Dukes scored again followed by two more runs in the ninth.
Junior pitcher Nick Slogik surrendered five runs in three innings for his fourth loss of the season. Goss had two hits, which extended his hitting streak to eleven games. He also has nine straight games with multiple hits. Freshman shortstop Chad Carroll had two hits on the night with one run.
Goss leads the Dukes at the plate with a .333 batting average and also leads the team in stolen bases on the season with 11. McInturff and senior right fielder Ian Haynes are hitting .306 and .305, respectively, for the year with each having two triples. The Dukes as a team are batting .278 while their opponents are hitting .313.
Northeastern is coming off a mid-week matchup as well versus Rhode Island on Tuesday, where the Huskies fell 7-1 on the road. Rhode Island struck quickly with a five-run second inning against NU and never looked back. Senior left fielder Matt Miller went 3-for-4 with a double on the afternoon for the Huskies, while junior catcher John Puttress added two hits of his own.
Puttress leads the Huskies with a .412 batting average and a team-high seven doubles. Sophomore outfielder Aaron Barbosa, the reigning CAA Rookie of the Year, is hitting .372 this season while swiping six bases on the season. Barbosa is also leading the Huskies with 37 hits on the year. Freshman righty Nick Berger has made seven relief appearances this season and holds a 2.03 ERA while only giving up three runs and six hits in those appearances.
JMU leads the all-time series 10-6. The Dukes have won seven of the last eight games against the Huskies including a three-game series sweep last season at Northeastern. JMU won the series by a combined score of 14-2, with the first two games being part of a school record of 30 consecutive scoreless innings. In game two of the series last season, catcher Billy Logan went 4-for-4 with three runs and four RBIs including two home runs while factoring into all five JMU runs in a 5-0 shutout.
Game 1 - Friday, April 6, 6:30 p.m.
JMU - Patrick Toohers, Fr., RHP (0-1, 3.64 ERA)
Toohers has been the Dukes' most consistent pitcher this season while making a team-high seven starts. He has limited his opponents to a .263 batting average while pitching 29 2/3 innings. In Toohers' last start versus Delaware, he threw four innings and surrendered two earned runs and five hits.
Northeastern - Andrew Leenhouts, Sr., LHP (3-1, 4.14 ERA)
Leenhouts has made six starts this year and pitched two complete games. He also has thrown one shutout this season. The lefty has restricted opposing batters to a .232 average through 41 1/3 innings pitched.
Game 2 - Saturday, April 7, 6:30 p.m.
JMU - Michael Howerton, Fr., RHP (0-2, 6.00 ERA)
Howerton has made 13 appearances in relief this season and has made the only save for the Dukes on the year. Through 21 innings of work on the mound he has struck out a team-high 23 batters. This will be Howerton's first collegiate start.
Northeastern - Kevin Ferguson, Jr., LHP (4-1, 2.81 ERA)
Ferguson has pitched a team-high 41 2/3 innings this season in six starts. He also has a team-high 37 strikeouts and has only allowed 12 earned runs on the year. He has been the Huskies' best starter statistically this season.
Game 3 - Sunday, April 8, 1 p.m.
JMU - Evan Scott, Sr., RHP (0-3, 9.18 ERA)
Scott has shown inconsistency this season in his six starts but has limited his opponents to a .258 batting average. In his last start against Delaware, he pitched three innings and surrendered one earned run on one hit. He also had four strikeouts versus the Blue Hens.
Northeastern - TBA
The Huskies have not decided on a starter for Sunday's third game.