HARRISONBURG, Va., March 7, 2011 - VMI's second through fifth hitters in the order combined for nine hits and a five-run seventh inning sealed an 8-2 win over James Madison on Tuesday night at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
VMI improved to 7-6-1 overall. JMU, which entered the Collegiate Baseball national rankings at 27th on Monday, fell to 11-2 while having a seven-game winning streak snapped.
Catcher Alex Haitsuka was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and a walk for the Keydets in the cleanup hole. Left fielder Graham Sullivan had two doubles and three RBIs in the second spot while first baseman George Piccirilli and right fielder Jacob Morley each had two hits in the third and fifth spots.
Starter Sam Roberts worked three scoreless innings in the start for VMI to improve to 1-1. Four relievers combined to work the final six innings in the winning effort.
Senior shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles for JMU. Center fielder Alex Foltz (Mathias, W.Va./East Hardy) was 2 for-4 with a walk. Catcher Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) had two hits and scored twice. Sophomore second baseman Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) was 2-for-3.
Freshman Luke Munson (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) took the loss for the Dukes after allowing one run on one hit in the first two innings. Junior left-hander Scott Mayer (Waterford, Va./Loudoun Valley) worked the final 2 1/3 innings allowing no hits.
VMI struck with the first run in the second as Haitsuka lifted a high fly that fell at the warning track in right. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a ball-four wild pitch.
The Keydets manufactured a run in the fifth as third baseman Chase Worthington led off with a single to left. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a groundout. He then scored on a single to left by Roberts for a 2-0 lead. Roberts then stole second and came around to score on a double to right by Sullivan.
JMU got on the board in the sixth as Lowery lifted a one-out double to the warning track in left. He scored on a double inside the left field line by Herbek to cut the lead to 3-1.
VMI answered back in the seventh with a single by shortstop Cody Holder, who then advanced a base on a groundout. After intentionally walking Roberts, the leading hitter for VMI, Sullivan came through with a two-run double for a 5-1 lead for the Keydets. On the first pitch from freshman Jarred Tate (Bluff City, Tenn./Virginia H.S.), Piccirilli lifted a shallow fly that fell in right field for an RBI single and a 6-1 score. Morley followed with an RBI single to make it 7-1. A walk loaded the bases and another four-pitch walk brought in the eighth run.
A Lowery single and Herbek double in the eighth set up a sacrifice fly by sophomore first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) to make it 8-2.
JMU will be back home this weekend for its first home action in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dukes welcome Hofstra for a 4 p.m. game on Friday, followed by 1 p.m. starts both Saturday and Sunday.
NOTES: Freshman designated hitter Tyler McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) was named CAA Rookie of the Week just hours before game time after hitting .364 in last week's 4-0 week... JMU lost to VMI at home for the first time since 1976 when Madison was competing in its final season in NCAA Division II... the Dukes lead the all-time series 44-8.