HARRISONBURG, Va., March 4, 2013 - James Madison baseball will make final preparations for its first Colonial Athletic Association series this weekend against Hofstra with a scheduled midweek home-and-home set against Radford. Tuesday's matchup at JMU has been moved from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. due to the forecasted winter weather. Wednesday's rematch at Radford is pending further monitoring of the weather forecast.
Coming off its first four-game sweep in two years, JMU ran its record to 6-6 while rebounding from dropping six of its first eight games. JMU comfortably handled Hartford in three of its four weekend outings before the Hawks staged a dramatic five-run, ninth-inning rally in Sunday's finale. However, freshman catcher Bobby San Martin blasted a walk-off homer over the left field fence in the 11th inning to complete the sweep. The Dukes' strong batting has persisted, as they averaged 9.5 runs per game in their weekend series against Hartford and have scored at least 10 runs in four of their last six games.
JMU has looked like a much stronger team on the mound of late. After allowing eight or more runs five times in their opening slate of games, the Dukes limited the Hawks to three runs or fewer in three of the series' four games while lowering the team's season ERA to 4.49.
The Highlanders, who jumped out to an early 5-1 record, are looking to snap a four-game skid after dropping a game to crosstown rival Virginia Tech 14-10 on February 27 and being swept by Rider in a three-game series over the weekend. Radford has been outscored 47-20 during its current losing streak.
Offensively, the Highlanders have been inconsistent this season. They've scored seven or more runs four times this season, including twice during their current skid. Radford has also scored three runs or fewer in four games, including a 13-0 shutout against Rider on Friday.
The Dukes hold a 25-20-1 series advantage against the Highlanders. JMU and Radford have played at least twice every season since 1994. The most recent contest was the series' only tie, a 3-3 game cut short after five innings on May 8, 2012. Radford won the only other contest last season 8-3 on March 20, 2012.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tuesday, 2 p.m.
JMU- Ben Garner, So., RHP (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
Garner's only decision of the season thus far came in his last outing, a 10-5 loss to Maryland on February 27. He gave up five runs on six hits in four innings to the Terps, who have since moved into the national rankings at 9-3. Garner has the highest ERA among JMU starters and is allowing batters to hit .351, but he also leads the team in strikeouts with 15.
Radford- Dylan Nelson, Fr., RHP (1-1, 13.50 ERA)
Nelson took the first loss of Radford's current skid, allowing half of Virginia Tech's 14 total runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched on February 27. The Hokies tagged Nelson for seven hits, including one double and a home run. In his only other appearance, he gave up two runs in 4 1/3 innings and struck out two batters in a 7-4 win over Jacksonville on February 16.