GREENVILLE, N.C., Feb. 15, 2014 – Junior right-hander Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) struck out seven for the victory and senior Trent Cundiff (Roanoke, Va./Northside) wrapped up eight scoreless innings from the James Madison staff with the save in a 5-2 victory over East Carolina on Saturday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium in non-conference baseball action.
JMU and ECU, which entered the season ranked No. 34 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, each evened their season records at 1-1.
After a shaky first inning from Huffman, JMU’s pitching calmed down to keep ECU off the board for the final eight innings. The Dukes turned three double plays to back up the pitching and kept the Pirates without an extra-base hit.
Huffman allowed two runs in the first with the aid of a walk, wild pitch and a passed ball but struck out seven in five innings to pick up the victory, the first of his career as a starter. Three relievers combined for four scoreless innings with Cundiff shutting the door over the final 1 2/3 innings for his second career save.
Sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston (Penn Laird, Va./Spotswood) turned in his second straight multiple-hit game, going 2-for-4 while scoring a pair of runs. Junior left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) was 2-for-3 with two walks, a run, a RBI and a stolen base. Center fielder Kevin Husum (Panama City, Fla./Bay) singled, drove in a run and walked twice.
Starter David Lucroy took the loss for ECU after allowing four runs on six hits in two innings as the starter. Three relievers combined to limit JMU to one unearned run over the final seven innings. The two through four spots in the order each had multiple hits from the trio of second baseman Drew Reynolds, third baseman Zach Houchins and right fielder Ian Townsend.
Trailing 2-1 after the first inning, JMU charged ahead with three runs in the second. Weston singled to lead off, was sacrificed to second and scored on Carroll’s two-out single up the middle. Following a single from senior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin), redshirt senior Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) and Husum each tallied RBI singles for a 4-2 lead.
JMU added a cushion to its lead in the fifth with the aid of two Pirate errors as senior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) reached on a two-out error to allow Weston to score.
The first two batters of the game reached for the Dukes, who then loaded the bases with two outs and took the early when senior outfielder Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy) was hit by a pitch.
ECU rattled Huffman in the first, also putting its first two batters on before the first of JMU’s three double plays. With the runner now on third, Ian Townsend singled to left center on the 10th pitch of his at bat to tie it at 1-1. A single kept the inning going, a passed ball advanced both runners and a wild pitch allowed the Pirates to briefly take the lead before JMU’s three-run second.
The teams will decide the series winner with a 1 p.m. game Sunday afternoon.