PANTHERSVILLE, Ga., March 9, 2008 – James Madison University took command with a six-run fourth inning and sophomore Kyle Hoffman (Reading, Pa./Twin Valley) pitched eight innings in an 8-3 victory to complete a Colonial Athletic Association sweep of Georgia State University on Sunday afternoon at The Field at Panthersville.
JMU won its fourth in a row to improve to 8-3 overall while also running its CAA mark to 5-1. The sweep was the first for the Dukes in conference play since May of 2006. JMU improved to 11-2 all-time against GSU, which fell to 9-4 overall for the season and 0-3 in the CAA.
Hoffman gave JMU its longest start of the season and the longest of his career, allowing two runs in eight innings. He struck out a season-best seven batters while allowing two runs on six hits.
The Dukes trailed 1-0 when they posted six runs in the fourth inning to take command. The rally was fueled by a two-run triple by redshirt sophomore first baseman Steven Caseres (New City, N.Y./St. Joseph Regional) and a three-run home run by junior catcher Brett Garner (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock).
Garner finished with a 2-for-3 performance with three RBIs, a run, and a walk. Caseres was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored, and a walk. Sophomore designated hitter Matt Browning (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) and freshman third baseman McKinnon Langston (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian) each had two hits and an RBI with Langston adding a run scored.
Senior Drew Grant (Peachtree City, Ga./Southern Union St. C.C.) took the loss for the Panthers, allowing five runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings. Junior right fielder Matt Van Horn (Marietta, Ga./Marietta) was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Redshirt junior Derek Simmons (Duluth, Ga.) also had a pair of hits. Junior Chase Childers (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb Christian) had a solo home run.
After JMU had grabbed the early lead in each of the previous two games, GSU took command early this time with a leadoff walk followed quickly by an RBI double by Van Horn before an out had been recorded.
The score remained 1-0 in the fourth when the Dukes plated six runs with 10 batters going to the plate. After a double by redshirt senior Joe Lake (Elkridge, Md./Long Reach), redshirt junior Brett Sellers (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) singled to extend to the longest hitting streak of his career at eight games. Caseres followed with a two-run triple down the right field line. Caseres came in on an RBI groundout by Browning. Garner then greeted new pitcher Will Palmer (Atlanta, Ga.) with a first-pitch three-run home run to center field.
The Dukes added to the lead in the fifth with an RBI double by Langston. The Panthers came right back in the bottom of the frame with an RBI single by redshirt junior Dusty Bennett (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek). JMU scored again, though, in the sixth with an RBI single by Caseres. Childers homered to lead off the ninth to complete the scoring.
After completing a 4-0 spring break road trip, the Dukes will have a road game Tuesday at Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. before returning to Long Field/Mauck Stadium Wednesday at 3 p.m. against George Washington.