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Merch Madness
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:04/17/2009
Courtesy: JMUSports.com

NEWARK, Del., April 17, 2009 – Redshirt junior catcher Chris Johnson (Shrewsbury, N.J./Red Bank Regional) singled in the winning run in the top of the 10th as James Madison defeated Delaware 8-7 in the opener of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Friday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.


JMU improved to 22-17 overall and 7-6 in the CAA with its fifth straight victory, the longest winning streak of the season.  UD dropped to 21-13 for the year and 7-6 in the league.  The Dukes defeated the Blue Hens for the fifth straight time and the ninth time in 11 games.


JMU jumped out to a commanding 7-0 lead in the game, only to see Delaware rally for seven runs in the sixth inning to tie the game. 


After Johnson helped send the game to extra innings with a strikeout, caught stealing double play in the ninth, he earned the big hit for the Dukes in the 10th.  Junior second baseman Mike Fabiaschi (Torrington, Conn./Torrington) drilled a one-out double to right that outfielder Bill Merkler lost in the sun.  Johnson then lined a single the opposite way to left to drive in Fabiaschi for the game-winner.


Sophomore right-hander Kevin Munson (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) retired the side in order to finish the game.  He improved to 2-2 on the season with 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, allowing two hits and striking out six.


The game started as a showdown between the CAA’s strikeout leaders as JMU sophomore Turner Phelps (Roanoke, Va./Lord Botetourt) and Delaware’s Brian Rorick each entered with 58.  Phelps cruised through the first five innings, allowing just three hits, before finishing with 5 2/3 innings and seven runs, five earned, on eight hits with eight strikeouts.


Rorick finished with seven runs allowed on 13 hits with six strikeouts in seven innings.  Corey Crispell took the loss with three innings in relief, allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts.


The top six hitters in the JMU lineup each had multiple hits.  Redshirt junior right fielder Matt Townsend (Lorton, Va./Hayfield) was 2-for-3 with his 15th home run, a walk, two runs, and two RBIs.  His single as the first batter in the game extended his hitting streak to 29 games.


Fabiaschi hit a pair of doubles to extend his streak to 11 games while scoring once and driving in two.  Junior left fielder Matt Browning (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) went 3-for-5 with his sixth home run and two RBIs.  Junior center fielder Alex Foltz (Mathias, W.Va./East Hardy), redshirt sophomore first baseman Trevor Knight (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield), and sophomore shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) each had a pair of hits with Knight extending his streak to 18 games.


Catcher Ryan Reed went 2-for-4 with a run as the only Blue Hen with multiple hits.  Designated hitter Chris Nehl smacked a two-run home run.  Third baseman Carlos Alonso also drove in two with a double.


JMU jumped on the board first in the first inning as Townsend led off with a full-count single through the left side.  He moved to second on a groundout and reached third on a bloop single to right by Herbek that landed just in front of the outfielder.  With two outs, Foltz poked a single to left to drive in the first run of the game.  Fabiaschi followed with a double drilled to the gap in right to plate two more runs for a 3-0 lead.


In the Delaware first, Phelps retired the leadoff batter before a walk, single off Phelps’ glove, and another walk loaded the bases.  However, Phelps recovered with a pair of strikeouts to escape the jam.


The Dukes led off the third with a single to left by Herbek.  He moved to third on a throwing error by Rorick on a failed pickoff.  He then scored on a bouncing grounder through the left side by Browning.


Browning added his second RBI of the game in the fifth on a solo home run to right, his sixth of the season.


Langston drilled a one-out double to the gap in left in the sixth.  Townsend then followed with an opposite-field, two-run shot off the scoreboard in right, his 15th round tripper of the season, to put the Dukes up 7-0.


Phelps was cruising until the sixth when the Blue Hens struck for seven runs on just five hits.  Reed singled through the left side with one out and Nehl followed with a line-drive home run to left for his fifth of the season.  Left fielder Jared Olson reached on a double that Townsend couldn’t handle in the sun, and second baseman Pat Dameron drove him in with a two-out double to the gap in right.  After a walk by shortstop Kyle Davis, Alonso drilled another double to the gap in right to pull the Blue Hens to within two at 7-5.  Munson entered and walked Merkler before Reed then reached on an error by Herbek, allowing two runs to score.


Game two of the series will be Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., a change from the originally announced time of 1 p.m.

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