HARRISONBURG, Va., March 8, 2013 - James Madison, the league's No. 3 preseason pick, will begin competition in the Colonial Athletic Association by hosting the preseason No. 2 squad, Hofstra, in a weekend series at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
With Friday's opener pushed back one day to allow snow to melt on the field, the teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday with both being nine-inning games. The series concludes on Sunday with a 2 p.m. contest.
Both teams have had a quiet week after having midweek games knocked out by weather. JMU is coming off of a four-game sweep of Hartford before then having its Tuesday and Wednesday games against Radford snowed out. Hofstra is 3-8 after dropping two of three last weekend at Western Carolina and having a midweek game with Albany wiped out.
Senior Casey Goss is JMU's hot hitter after going 9-for-19 last weekend with eight RBIs and seven runs in the four-game sweep. Three other batters topped a .350 mark with Matt Tenaglia at .368 while Conner Brown and Chad Carroll each hit .353 with a trio of extra-base hits.
On the mound, Patrick Toohers was dominant as the game one starter with two hits allowed in seven innings. He led a JMU pitching staff that held the Hawks to a .247 average. Relievers Mark Gunst, Chris Huffman and Colby Roberts combined for 9 1/3 innings allowing no runs on three hits with 11 strikeouts last week.
Hofstra stands as the only team in the CAA with a record below .500 entering the start of conference play. However, the Pride have also played one of the league's more difficult schedules, including four games with No. 14 Oklahoma.
Hofstra is hitting .226 as a team with Kenny Jackson leading the way with a .366 average, including two doubles and the only three home runs of the season for the Pride. Austin Nyman is batting .311 with two doubles and the only triple. Meanwhile, preseason All-CAA selections Jared Hammer and Dalton Rouleau have been off to slow starts, batting a combined .158.
JMU leads the all-time series 22-9 against the Pride and has won each of the last five series, one with a sweep and four by taking two of three games. Last year, JMU claimed the first two games 13-2 and 20-14 before falling 15-13 in the finale. The matchups have typically been dominated by the offenses, averaging a combined 21 runs per game over the last nine meetings with the winner averaging 13.5 runs per game.
Saturday Game 1, Noon
JMU - Patrick Toohers, So., RHP (1-2, 6.06 ERA)
HU - Joe Burg, Sr., LHP (2-1, 4.50 ERA)
Saturday Game 2 (30 minutes after Game 1)
JMU - Ben Garner, So., RHP (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
HU - John Tiedemann, Sr., RHP (0-3, 8.16 ERA)
Sunday Game 3, 2 p.m.
JMU - Michael Howerton, r-So., RHP (1-0, 6.59 ERA)
HU - Jared Rogers, Sr., RHP (0-2, 5.02 ERA)