CHARLESTON, S.C., Feb. 15, 2013 – Sophomore pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) struck out seven in eight innings of work and freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) drove in all three runs to lead the James Madison softball team to a 3-2, eight inning win over Akron in Friday’s season-opening game.
JMU improved to 1-0 in the College of Charleston Cougar Classic and 1-0 on the season. The Dukes also improved to 7-5 in season openers all time, while Akron dropped to 2-3 on the season.
The game was the first win at Madison for head coach Mickey Dean after coming to JMU following six seasons at Radford.
Kiefer, the reigning Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year, earned the win to improve to 1-0 on the season. She allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven in eight innings of work.
Erin Seiler took the loss for the Zips to drop to 2-2. She gave up 3 runs, two earned, in 7 2/3 innings work. The right-hander struck out eight and walked none.
Field was one of six batters to record a hit for the Dukes, going 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Sophomore centerfielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Pa./Grafton) went 2-for-4 with a double, while senior right fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Freshman first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County), junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) and senior pinch hitter Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) all added singles for Madison.
Second baseman Kellie Roudabush paced the Zips with two hits in four at bats and a run scored. Designated player Jessica Schenider was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and center fielder Taryn Allmon added a single and a run scored.
Field drove in the game’s winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Junior left fielder Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough) started the inning on second due to international tiebreaker rules. Following a failed sacrifice bunt, JMU loaded the bases with back-to-back singles by Heath and Butler. Field followed by lifting the first pitch she saw into medium left field and Clayton raced home for the walk-off win.
Akron opened the scoring in the top of the third inning with a two-run, two out single by Schenider. Allmon led off the frame with a single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. An infield single and a stolen base by Roudabush put runners on second and third with one out. Schenider looked a pitch before lining a single into center field, plating both runners.
Seiler held the Madison offense in check until the bottom of the sixth when the Dukes finally got on the board. Shinaberry led off the inning with a pinch-hit single up the middle. She stole second and moved to third on a bunt single by Butler. Butler stole second and Field laced a 1-1 pitch into right field to score both runners.
JMU returns to action Friday afternoon as it takes on tournament host the College of Charleston at 4 p.m.
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