HARRISONBURG, Va., Feb. 21, 2013 – Coming off a successful trip to Charleston, S.C., that saw it go 4-1 at the Cougar Classic, the James Madison Softball team continues its southern road trip in Clearwater, Fla., this weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic.
JMU faces a hearty schedule this week, taking on two ranked foes in the five-game, three day tournament at the Eddie C. Moore Complex. The Dukes open up on Friday at 3:30 p.m. against DePaul and following with UC Davis at 6 p.m. Saturday sees the Dukes squaring off with Indiana (10:30 a.m.) and No. 17 South Florida (3:30 p.m.) before closing the tournament on Sunday against No. 12 Louisiana-Lafayette at 12:30 p.m.
Madison excelled in all phases of the game during its first weekend of play. Offensively, the team hit .322 with 15 extra-base hits, four home runs, 30 RBIs and 32 runs scored. Seven different players hit over .350 for the weekend, including four players hitting over .400. Senior outfielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) led the way with a .471 average, adding six runs and four steals. Freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn park) hit .444 with seven RBIs and five runs scored while sophomore utility Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) hit .438 with a home runs and seven RBIs.
As a team, JMU was a perfect 14-for-14 in stolen bases and recorded three sacrifice bunts and two sacrifice flies.
In the circle, four pitcher combined for five complete games and limited opponents to a .202 batting average against and a 1.46 ERA. Freshman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) was named the CAA Pitcher of the Week after going 2-0 with a pair of shutouts. Sophomores Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) and Reba DePriest (Apache Junction, Ariz./Skyline) combined to go 2-0 and allowed just three earned runs in 13 innings pitched.
In the field, the Dukes did not commit an error, recording 101 putouts and 33 assists.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
After starting the season 4-1, the Blue Demons went 0-5 at last weekend’s Hilton Houston Plaza Invite. DePaul was outscored 40-2 in Houston, including two shutout-losses to No. 6 Texas.
Sophomore Megan Coronado leads the Blue Demons offense, hitting .391 with a .481 on-base percentage and a .522 slugging mark. Junior Kirsten Verdun is batting .286 and is tied for the team lead in home runs (1) and RBIs (6).
Verdun also contributes in the circle for DePaul, leading the team with a 2.38 ERA, four complete games and two shutouts in 32 1/3 innings pitched. Junior Hannah Penna is 1-2 with a 2.85 ERA, including a shutout in her first start of the season against UNLV.
Eugene Lenti is in his 32nd season as the head coach at DePaul. He owns an 1,142-555-6 career record, good for a .672 winning percentage.
The Aggies are 5-5 on the season, after a 3-2 start at the Fresno State Kick-Off and a 7-0 loss in their home opener to No. 9 California. Over the weekend, the Aggies went 2-2 at the Stanford Nike Invitational, including an 8-0 defeat at the hands of No. 20 Stanford.
Offensively, redshirt freshman Jasmine Lee has set the table from the two-spot in the lineup. She has 13 hits, good for a .371 batting average while adding three runs and two RBIs. Freshman Christa Castello is the team’s top speed threat with five steals in six attempts. She is tied for the team lead in runs scored with seven.
A trio of pitchers have split the pitching load for DePaul, led by reigning Big West Pitcher of the Year Justine Vela. In five starts, Vela sports a 2-1 record and 3.08 ERA with 14 walks and 20 strikeouts in 25 innings. Freshman Leah Munden is 2-1 in six appearances and two starts, leading the team with a 2.29 ERA in 18 1/3 innings pitched. Senior Jessica Thweatt is 1-3 with three starts, striking out 20 batters in 19 innings of work.
Karen Yoder is 176-271-1 in her 9 years at UC Davis. She has a 322-384-3 record in 14 years of coaching.
The Hoosiers went undefeated over the weekend at the Georgia Tech Classic in Atlanta, Ga. and have won six straight overall. Indiana finished the weekend with two straight victories over No. 24 Georgia Tech and currently stands at 7-3.
Last year’s Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year Brianna Meyer paces the Hoosiers offense from the leadoff spot. She is hitting .400, leading the team with ten walks and nine runs, while adding a home run and nine RBIs. Freshman Kassi Farmer is hitting .357 and has driven in 13 RBIs on 10 hits, including two home runs. Senior Amanda Wagner has been red-hot, hitting .474 and getting on base at a .621 clip.
In the circle, sophomore Lora Olson and junior Meghan Murphy have made nine of ten starts for the Hoosiers. Olson is 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA and has limited batters to a .226 batting average. Murphy is 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA. She has yielded seven home runs in five starts while striking out 25 in 31 1/3 innings pitched.
Michelle Gardner is in her fifth season with Indiana. She owns a 96-121 record as the Hoosiers head coach.
The No. 17 Bulls are 6-3, after finishing 50-14 in 2012 and earning a trip to the Women’s College World Series. The Bulls hosted the USF Tournament over the weekend and finished 3-2, including an 11-0 shutout-loss at the hands of No. 4 Tennessee.
First Team All-Big East selection Kourtney Salvarola leads the Bulls offensive attack, hitting .478 and scoring a team-high eight runs. Her 11 hits include a home run and three doubles, giving her a team-leading .739 slugging percentage. Freshman Lee Ann Spivey is hitting .364 while leading the team with four doubles and seven RBIs.
In the circle, Bulls pitching has stifled opponents to a .157 batting average against. Senior Lindsey Richardson leads the staff with a 0.25 ERA including 41 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings of work. She opened South Florida’s season with a no-hitter against Marshall and earned Big East Pitcher of the Week honors this week after going 2-0 with no earned runs over the weekend. Junior Sara Nevins is 2-1 with two starts and holds a 1.03 ERA in 20 1/3 innings.
Head coach Ken Eriksen is in his 17th season with USF. His 695-368-1 record is good for a .654 winning percentage.
The Ragin’ Cajuns enter the weekend ranked No. 12 in the country with a 7-1 record. UL Lafayette opened the season at the Hilton Houston Plaza Classic, where they lost their only game of the season against Iowa. Last weekend, the Ragin’ Cajuns hosted the Louisiana Classics and won all four of their matchups.
UL Lafayette is hitting .365 as a team, with six starters hitting over .350. Senior Sarah Draheim anchors the middle of the Ragin’ Cajuns lineup, batting .500 and slugging 1.000 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Freshman Shellie Landry leads the team with 13 RBIs while hitting .423 with two home runs.
Sophomore Jordan Wallace leads the Ragin’ Cajuns pitching staff with a 0.50 ERA, four complete games and 42 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. She won Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week this week after going 3-0, with a one-hitter against Texas State. Junior Kristen Martinez has made two starts this season, recording a 5.44 ERA in nine innings of work.
Megan Granger took over as interim head coach earlier this month after the resignation of head coach Michael Lotief. Granger was a senior infielder for UL Lafayette eight months ago, before being hired as an assistant coach over the summer.
The Dukes will square off with the Blue Demons and Ragin’ Cajuns for the first time in program history this weekend. JMU has faced-off with UC Davis once, losing 5-0 in 2009. The Dukes lost their only game against Indiana 5-1 in 2011. JMU lost its only matchup against USF, 7-4, in 2010.
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