COLLEGE PARK, Md., April 28, 2010 - Four James Madison pitchers combined to limit Maryland to five hits in an 8-3 baseball victory on Wednesday evening at Shipley Field.
JMU improved to 21-19 and swept the season series over Maryland of the ACC. The Dukes also won 6-2 in Harrisonburg in March. The win snapped a six-game losing skid in non-conference games.
JMU head coach Spanky McFarland commented on the win, "It's good to get back in the winning column in a mid-week game. We've been struggling a little bit there. It was great to see Evan Scott in his first start, second outing. He was on a pitch count and a little erratic, but his velocity is coming back, so that's exciting. We got James Weiner in at the end of the game, which was nice after he was out for two weeks. Then Josh Futter did a nice job pitching in his home state. It sets our pitching up pretty well for the weekend."
The five hits surrendered matched a season low by JMU. The Terps had just one hit through the first six innings and had just one extra-base hit in the game, a double in the eighth.
Maryland entered the game with a .256 batting average. McFarland thought the key was making the Terrapins put the ball in play and not help the opponent with free bases. He said, "That was the approach but it didn't work very well. They do a lot of different things with slashing and fake bunting. They get on top the plate and try to work the count. That got to us a little bit. But they're not a great hitting team, so you have to make them swing the bat. When we got in trouble, it was the walks and hit batters. All things considered we handled it pretty well."
Sophomore Josh Futter (Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake) had one of the best efforts of his career. He allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits in 5 2/3 innings to improve to 2-0. His four strikeouts were a career best while he was one out shy of matching his career high. Futter at one point retired seven straight and did not allow a hit in his first 3 2/3 innings.
McFarland said of Futter's outing, "I think with their hitting approach, it worked for Josh tonight. He was up in the zone a little bit. Against some other teams, they might have hit it a little bit, but it worked tonight. He also had a number of strikeouts and threw some great sliders. He's getting better. Maybe like last year, he'll have a great second half."
The game also featured two pitchers returning from setbacks. Sophomore Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) made his first start since last May after missing all summer, fall, and the first half of the season due to injury. On a tight pitch count, he allowed one run on one hit in 1 2/3 innings. Junior James Weiner (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) got the final out after sitting out the last two weeks with a leg injury.
Four JMU batters had multiple hits. Junior shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) singled and homered. Redshirt junior first baseman Trevor Knight (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) had a triple and an RBI single. Freshman outfielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Senior Matt Browning (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) had a pair of hits and fellow senior Mike Fabiaschi (Torrington, Conn./Torrington) had a two-run single.
McFarland stated of the offensive performance, "I thought our hitters did a nice job of adjusting. They brought in several different arms, and good arms at that. A lot of those guys are weekend pitchers for Maryland. They threw different arm angles at us and different sides, left and right. Our guys made some nice adjustments. After we got the lead we just kept tacking on runs."
Maryland threw six pitchers with typical weekend starter Eric Potter falling to 2-8 after allowing three runs on four hits in the fourth inning as the second Terrapins pitcher.
In the first inning, Maryland put leadoff runners on via a walk and a bunt single. After a strikeout on a fouled bunt attempt, shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez stole third and scored on a fielder's choice groundout by center fielder Matt Marquis as he just beat the throw to first for the double play attempt.
JMU loaded the bases with one out in the second on a walk by redshirt senior catcher Brett Garner (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) and consecutive singles to left by redshirt senior right fielder Matt Townsend (Lorton, Va./Hayfield) and Bladel. Junior third baseman McKinnon Langston (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian then hit a liner to second for what initially appeared like an easy lineout double play. However, David Poutier missed the catch. He recovered to get the out at second and the throw to third for the tag made an unconventional double play. However, the miscue did allow Garner to score ahead of the out at third to tie the score.
After one out in the fourth, Browning fell behind in the count before fighting back with a single to center. Garner singled up the middle and Townsend loaded the bases with a walk. Bladel then hit a bouncing ball to the left side past the dive of the third baseman to the shortstop in the hole. Rodriguez's only play was at first, but Bladel beat out the throw for an infield RBI single. Fabiaschi then singled through the left side to plate a pair of runs for a 4-1 JMU lead.
The Dukes added a run in the fifth as Herbek lifted a solo home run just fair and just over the approximately 20-feet-high fence in right. It was his sixth home run of the season.
JMU plated a quick run in the seventh as Knight led off with a triple off the wall in center. Sophomore designated hitter Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) then lofted a sacrifice fly to center to score Knight for a 6-1 lead
After a pair of outs in the eighth, Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) drew a four-pitch walk and Fabiaschi was hit by a pitch. Knight then singled to right center to drive in one with a bobble by the right fielder allowing a second run to score for an 8-1 lead.
Pinch hitter Anthony Perez led off the bottom of the eighth with a double, the first extra-base hit of the game for Maryland. An infield single put runners on the corners, but JMU's third double play of the game recorded two quick outs, with Perez scoring to make the score 8-2.
In the Maryland ninth, Poutier was hit by a pitch. Pinch hitter Matthew Murakami singled to center with sophomore Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) allowing the ball to go under his glove for a two-base error, scoring a run.
JMU will return to Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend with a three-game home set with Delaware, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The games will be the final games this season at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
NOTES: Browning's infield single in the seventh was the 250th hit of his career... Browning already ranks eighth in career hits, needing eight more for seventh... Fabiaschi's hit by pitch in the eighth was the 25th of his career to climb into a tie for sixth in JMU history... the five hits allowed matched JMU's season low, which came in a complete-game effort by Turner Phelps in an Easter win at Old Dominion on April 4.