James Madison will look to build upon a three-game winning streak when the Dukes begin a three-game Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Friday at Northeastern at 3 p.m. Saturday will feature a 1 p.m. first pitch followed by a noon finale on Easter Sunday.
Northeastern will offer live video coverage of the weekend series. JMU enters the series at 14-9 overall and 6-2 in the CAA while NU sits at 12-11 overall and 2-7 in the league.
JMU’s modest three-game winning streak is part of an overall stretch of winning 12 of its last 15 games since a 2-6 start. That 15-game stretch also coincides with the current hitting streak by Chad Carroll, who is batting .443 with 25 RBIs over that run. For the season, he is fifth in the CAA with a .431 average.
Cole McInturff (13 games) and Johnny Bladel (11 games) also have lengthy hitting streak to bolster the recent hot streak. As a team, the Dukes rank in the top 10 in the country with a .330 team batting average, one of three CAA teams among the top 15 (GSU .341, Delaware .329). The Dukes are also fourth in the nation averaging 8.9 runs per game, including Wednesday’s 21-4 home win over Liberty.
JMU and NU present opposing strengths this weekend. While the Dukes are second in the league in batting, they rank eighth with a 5.42 team ERA. Meanwhile, NU sits ninth in batting with a .253 average but sit second with a 3.23 team ERA.
Senior Kevin Ferguson sits seventh in the league with a 2.45 ERA and .255 opponent batting average with 30 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings. Outfielder Aaron Barbosa enters his third season as one of the fastest players in the CAA, ranking second with 11 stolen bases while batting .293. Two starters are batting over .300 with Connor Lyons at .322 and Jason Vosler at .304 with a team-high 19 RBIs.
NU recently captured a pair of midweek non-conference wins with a 7-0 shutout of Central Connecticut State on Monday followed by a 4-2 home win over Boston College on Tuesday. The Huskies have lost all three CAA series this season, dropping two of three against Old Dominion and George Mason, both on the road. In their first home set last weekend, they dropped three games to William and Mary in a pitching-dominated series with all three games decided by 1-0 scores.
JMU leads the all-time series 13-6, having won 10 of the last 11 matchups. In a rough year for the Dukes last year, they swept the Huskies at home in early April 14-6, 3-2 and 16-7. In the last matchup at Friedman Diamond, JMU won 5-0, 5-0 and 4-2 in a series that clinched the CAA top seed for Madison heading into the 2011 CAA Championship, which the Dukes won in three games.. JMU set a school record with a streak of 30 consecutive scoreless innings pitched as part of that series.
Patrick Toohers, So., RHP (2-3, 6.89)
Nick Cubarney, Fr., RHP (2-1, 0.54 ERA)
Luke Drayer, r-So., LHP )(2-1, 3.20)
Nick Berger, So., RHP (2-4, 3.38 ERA)
Michael Howerton, r-So., RHP (3-0, 4.97)
Kevin Ferguson, Sr., LHP (3-2, 2.45)