LYNCHBURG, Va., April 6, 2011 - Junior Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead home run and junior catcher Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) drove in five with a pair of homers as James Madison scored six runs in the ninth to rally past Liberty 16-12 for the 600th coaching victory for Spanky McFarland in a non-conference baseball game Wednesday afternoon at Worthington Stadium.
JMU improved to 21-9 for the season, won its third game in a row and won for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings with Liberty. McFarland secured the 600th win of his career in his 22nd season as a head coach, improving to 600-564-3. LU dropped to 15-15.
The Dukes trailed 9-4 after two innings and 10-5 heading into the sixth. JMU posted three in the sixth on Lowery's first home run and two in the seventh on sophomore Bradley Shaban's (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) two-run shot but still trailed 12-10 going into the ninth.
After a leadoff out, freshman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) singled and Shaban was hit by a pitch. Scott then pinch hit for just his second at bat since 2009 and came through with a three-run shot to right field to give the Dukes a 13-12 lead. After a pitching change, redshirt senior center fielder Alex Foltz (Mathias, W.Va./East Hardy) singled and Lowery hit his second shot of the game to right field. Sophomore first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) added a solo shot to right to cap the six-run frame.
Liberty got a two-out double off JMU senior lefty James Weiner (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) in the ninth but Weiner worked a scoreless inning to clinch the win for the Dukes. Sophomore Nick Slogik (Strongsville, Ohio/St. Edward) was the benefactor of the rally, improving to 3-1 after tossing a scoreless eighth.
Lowery finished 3-for-6 with five RBIs on his three-run shot in the sixth and two-run shot in the ninth, both to right field. He raised his national-leading totals for home runs (16), slugging percentage (.911), on-base plus slugging (1.369), runs (45), total bases (113) and RBIs (49). He blasted his fifth homer in the last five games and posted his third multiple-home run game of the season.
Scott recorded his first at bat of the season on Saturday at George Mason and did not bat in 2010 as he recovered from an injury late in the 2009 season. He now has four career hits with three being home runs, all in 25 at bats.
Tenaglia and Shaban each had two hits and three RBIs for the Dukes. Brown had two hits and scored twice. Foltz and sophomore left fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) each had a pair of hits and a pair of walks. Senior shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) had a pair of hits and was hit by a pitch for the 50th time in his career to tie the CAA record held by VCU's Kwan Evans.
Garrett Baker took the loss for Liberty after allowing Scott's three-run shot. Left fielder Doug Bream posted five of Liberty's 14 hits. Third baseman Tyler Bream, designated hitter Justin Sizemore, catcher Casey Rasmus and first baseman Austin Taylor each had two hits with multiple RBIs.
Foltz led off the first inning with a six-pitch walk. Lowery singled and Herbek was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Tenaglia then hit a sharp single to center to bring in the first two JMU runs. Freshman designated hitter Tyler McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) added an RBI single to make it 3-0 and leave runners on the corners. Shaban singled in the fourth run by dropping a single in front of the diving Doug Bream in left.
In the Liberty first, Matt Williams walked and consecutive singles by Doug and Tyler Bream drove in the first Flames' run. With the bases loaded, a dropped fly ball in right off the bat of Rasmus allowed two to score and made it 4-3. Taylor's triple gave Liberty the lead at 5-4 and a sacrifice fly on a popup to the second baseman in shallow right field made it 6-4.
Liberty got a pair of leadoff walks in the second followed by an RBI single by Tyler Bream and a two-run single by Sizemore.
In the third, Brown singled to right and McInturff walked. Foltz then singled through the left side to score Brown to make it 9-5.
Sizemore hit a solo home run for Liberty to lead off the fourth and make it 10-5.
JMU put leadoff runners on in the sixth with an infield single by McInturff and a walk by Foltz. Lowery then smacked a three-run homer to right to cut it to 10-8.
Liberty got one in the sixth on an RBI single by Rasmus and JMU responded with Shaban's two-run shot in the seventh. Williams hit a solo shot for Liberty in the seventh to make it 12-10 and set the stage for Madison's six-run rally in the ninth.
After five straight on the road, JMU returns to Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park for five straight at home beginning this weekend with a three-game set against Georgia State. Friday's first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
NOTES: McFarland has earned 424 of his 600 career wins during his 14 seasons at James Madison along with 143 in seven seasons starting a Northern Illinois program from scratch and 33 in one season at Kellogg Community College.