HARRISONBURG, Va., March 22, 2013 -- The James Madison softball team kicks off Colonial Athletic Association action against Towson this weekend in Towson, Md. The Dukes travel to Tiger Softball Complex for a three-game series beginning with a Saturday doubleheader scheduled to start at 12:00 p.m.
JMU’s doubleheader sweep of Princeton on Wednesday completed a stretch of 25 non-conference games to begin the year. The Dukes enter CAA play with an 18-7 record, including a 4-0 mark in true road games and 16-6 record overall away from home.
In 2012, Madison went 15-5 in conference play and finished second in league play. The Dukes season ended after falling to Georgia State in the semifinals of the conference championship.
JMU returns sophomores Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls), Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) and Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) who played an instrumental role in JMU’s conference success as freshmen. Kiefer made 11 starts in conference play, going 9-2 with a 1.25 ERA and 10 complete games and earning CAA Rookie of the Year honors. Heath led the Dukes in hitting (.414), doubles (11), runs (18) and steals (7) in CAA play. Mooney hit .339 with three home runs in conference while also contributing in the circle with a 4-2 record and a 3.74 ERA.
Also returning after solid seasons in the CAA a year ago are junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt), senior third baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run), senior catcher Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla. /McCarthy) and senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange). Sandy hit .351 with five doubles, thirteen runs and 10 RBIs, while Johnson batted .295 with a team-high 19 RBIs and three home runs. Shinaberry hit .333 with nine RBIs and Butler recorded a .262 average with seven RBIs and six steals.
Four returning players were named to All-CAA teams, with Kiefer and Heath garnering First Team accolades and Mooney and Sandy receiving Second Team recognition.
JMU head coach Mickey Dean enters his first season of CAA play. During his six year career in the Big South Conference, Dean led Radford to an 84-21 (.800) mark in conference play.
The Tigers are 15-14-1, including an 11-1 loss to the Dukes early in the season at the College of Charleston Classic. Towson is coming off a 2-3 road trip after wrapping up a 1-0 win over UNC Greensboro on Wednesday.
The Tigers offensive attack is led by junior Delanie Dunham and senior Bina Abbott. Dunham leads the Tigers lineup in hitting (.352), runs scored (21), RBIs (21) and steals (10). Abbott’s team-leading fourth home run of the season was the Tigers only hit Wednesday in their 1-0 win over UNCG. Abbot is hitting .280 overall, with 16 RBIs and a team-best 14 walks.
In the circle, the Tigers feature a trio of right-handers, led by senior Katie Lingmai. Lingmai’s holds a 6-7 record with a 3.95 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 78 innings of work. Her shutout on Wednesday was her third shutout of the year. Freshman Ambar Hickman has made 15 appearances this year, including seven starts and owns a 4.33 ERA in 53 1/3 innings pitched. Sophomore Missy McCormick is 5-5 with a 4.72 ERA and a team-best .273 batting average against.
The Tigers are led by long-time head coach Lisa Costello. In her 30th season with Towson, Costello holds a 513-453-3 record.
The Dukes have won four in a row against the Tigers, including an 11-1 win back in February on a neutral field. JMU is 18-20 all-time against Towson.
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