HARRISONBURG, Va., May 22, 2013 – Senior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) drove in four runs, including a two-run home run to break a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning as James Madison defeated Delaware 9-6 in game two of the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championship on Thursday morning at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
Sixth-seeded JMU improved to 25-28 overall and advanced to Thursday’s 6 p.m. game against No. 2 seed William and Mary. The Dukes have now won five of their last seven games this year as well as nine of their last 11 CAA Tournament games dating back to 2008. UD took the field immediately for an elimination game against fifth-seeded Northeastern.
The game was suspended by weather Wednesday afternoon with JMU leading 4-2 in the top of the fourth. It resumed Thursday morning 16 hours and 21 minutes later with Delaware tying the score with a pair of runs in the fifth.
With sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) standing on first following a leadoff single, Shaban socked a two-run shot, his fourth of the season, over the high wall in right field in the sixth inning.
The Dukes added an RBI single from junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) in the inning and picked up a pair of insurance runs on a triple from junior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) in the ninth.
Sophomore right-hander Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) worked out of a jam in the seventh and also survived seeing Delaware bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth to earn his eighth save of the season. He allowed one run on four hits in 2 2/3 innings. He moved into fourth on both the season and career (10) saves chart at JMU.
With JMU having finished the regular season with three games at Delaware, Shaban posted his third multiple-hit game in four straight games against the Blue Hens. He went 3-for-6 with a season-high four RBIs. Tenaglia posted his best game in over a month, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the second. Carroll had two hits with a walk and three runs scored.
Sophomore right-hander Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) took the mound for the resumption of play Thursday morning and worked 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs on four hits to pick up the victory (3-8). Freshman Mark Gunst (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI), making his second collegiate start on Wednesday, allowed two runs on three hits with four strikeouts.
Dan Gatto took the loss (4-3) after taking the mound to begin Thursday morning and allowing three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Wednesday’s starter, Chad Kuhl, allowed four runs on four hits with six walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Second baseman D.J. Long and first baseman Jimmy Yezzo each had three hits in the second and third spots in the order. Right fielder Nick Ferdinand was 2-for-4 while third baseman E.J. Stoltzfus and designated hitter Chris Branigan each drove in a pair of runs, Branigan’s on a two-run homer.
Both teams had opportunities to put more runs on the board with 25 combined runners stranded on the bases. JMU loaded the bases in six of the nine innings and left 14 on the base paths. The Dukes had 13 hits with nine walks and a hit batter. Delaware posted 11 hits with four walks and a hit batter.
JMU took advantage of free bases to take an early lead. Following a leadoff groundout, the Dukes drew three consecutive walks to load the bases. Shaban delivered the first hit of the game with a two-run single through the right side of the infield. Goss made it 3-0 with a groundout to second base.
After Gunst got a strikeout to leave the bases loaded for Delaware in the bottom of the first, Tenaglia led off the second by unloading a solo shot to left center. It was his first home run of the season after missing the 2012 season and hitting nine as a sophomore in 2011.
The 4-0 margin was cut in half in the third as Delaware got a leadoff single then picked up a two-out, two-run home run to left from Branigan to make it 4-2.
The game resumed following the overnight suspension with JMU loading the bases in consecutive innings in the fourth and fifth before strikeouts ended both. Delaware took advantage in the fifth consecutive doubles by Long and Yezzo scoring a run. After an infield single put runners on the corners, a fielder’s choice groundout by Stoltzfus knotted the score at 4-4.
Carroll led off the sixth with an infield single deep in the hole to the shortstop. After a fly out, Shaban uncorked a two-run shot over the high wall in right field to give JMU the lead at 6-4. The Dukes kept the inning going with a two-out double to right center by Gregory followed by an RBI single to left for Tenaglia for a 7-4 lead.
Delaware chased Toohers from the game in the seventh with two runners on and one out. Stoltzfus greeted Huffman with a RBI single but a popup and groundout ended the frame.
After a scoreless eighth, JMU picked up two big insurance runs in the ninth. A single and error put two runners on with one out. With the sun having emerged from the clouds just 15 minutes earlier, Brown lifted a high fly to right that Nick Ferdinand never picked up off the bat. Brown ended up with a two-run triple for a 9-5 JMU lead.
In the ninth, Delaware put its first two batters on via singles. Branigan then walked with two outs to load the bases and pinch hitter Alex Mottle singled up the middle to score a run and bring up the go-ahead run. However, Huffman was able to get shortstop Brock Niggebrugge to hit into a fielder’s choice groundout to finish the win.