HARRISONBURG, Va., April 30, 2011 - James Madison scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie and was able to hold off UNC Wilmington 6-5 to clinch the series in a Colonial Athletic Association baseball contest Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Diamond Dukes improved to 29-15 overall and 14-9 in the CAA, while the Seahawks dropped to 23-20 and 12-8 in league play.
With the game tied at 4-4 and runners on the corners in the bottom of the eighth inning, redshirt senior Alex Foltz (Mathias, W.Va./East Hardy) successfully singled on a squeeze-bunt play, scoring senior David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) from third.
Freshman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) extended JMU's lead to 6-4 on the following at-bat with a single to center, and sophomore Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) scored from second.
In the ninth, UNCW was down to its last out with a runner on first, but Hunter Ridge walked to bring up Andrew Cain. Cain delivered with an RBI single to center field that was just out of the reach of Herbek's glove, and Michael Bass came around to score from second to trim the lead to 6-5. Thomas Pope flew out to right field on the following at-bat to seal the series for the Dukes.
Sophomore D.J. Brown (Locust Grove, Va./Orange County) came to pitch in relief and picked up the victory for the Diamond Dukes after allowing two earned runs and three hits, while striking out seven in six and a third innings. He improved to 7-1 on the mound this year.
Tenaglia went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk, while junior Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) hit his 20th home run of the season with a three-run blast in the third to give JMU the lead for good.
UNCW opened the scoring in the first with a run, but JMU tied it in the bottom half of the second inning at 1-1.
The Seahawks scored twice in the third to regain the lead at 3-1 against the Dukes. Bass doubled to right center to bring Josh Abshire home from third, and wo batters later, Ridge doubled down the left-field line to score Bass.
The Dukes answered in the bottom half of the third with three runs of their own to take the lead. Sophomore Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) led off with a single to left center and later stole second base. Sophomore Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) reached on a fielder's choice and McInturff was safe at third on a throwing error by Jake Koenig. On the following at-bat, Lowery hit a homer off the scoreboard to give JMU a 4-3 advantage.
Brown came into relief in the third for the Diamond Dukes and did not give up a run until the eighth inning. During that span, he retired 11 straight UNCW batters at one point. The Seahawks finally got on the board again in the top of the eighth when Cain scored from third on a sacrifice bunt by Koenig, but JMU's two runs in the bottom half of the inning was enough to hold off the Hawks.
JMU will look to sweep the series against UNCW tomorrow when they hit the field at 2 p.m. for final game of the weekend.