MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., March 9, 2013 – Four different hitters combined to hit five home runs and the pitching staff limited its opponents to three runs as the James Madison softball team swept both ends of a doubleheader on day two of the Chanticleer Challenge, Saturday. JMU won game one over Georgetown 10-1 in six innings before blowing past Middle Tennessee State 8-2 in game two.
JMU is now 4-0 in this weekend’s tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., improving to 13-6 on the season. Georgetown dropped to 4-16 while MTSU fell to 1-17.
Against MTSU, sophomore pitchers Reba DePriest (Apache Junction, Ariz./Skyline) and Miranda Kemp (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) combined to limit the Blue Raiders to two runs on six hits. Kemp picked up her first win as a Duke by tossing 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief. She gave up three hits and a walk while striking out two. DePriest drew the start and allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Jordyn Fisherback took the loss for MTSU, falling to 1-8 on the year. She gave up eight runs on nine hits and a walk. The right-hander struck out two in 3 1/3 innings of work. Shelby Stinnett stymied the Madison attack over 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief. JMU managed just one hit and struck out three times against the junior.
The top four batters in the Madison offense all recorded multiple hits led by sophomore right fielder Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) going 3-for-4 with a home run, a run and two RBIs. Freshman designated player Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and four RBIs while sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) added two hits, a walk and two runs scored. Senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) supplied two hits, two runs and stole a school record four bases.
The Blue Raiders got a home run from center fielder Nina Dever who finished the game 1-for-2 with a walk, two runs and a RBI. First baseman Niki Campbell had two hits in two at-bats while third baseman Kristi Marquez went 1-for-3 with a RBI.
Madison wasted little time jumping in front with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Heath led off the game with a double and moved up to third on a ground-out by Butler. Field plated the game’s opening run by driving a 1-0 pitch into right field for a single.
MTSU came back to tie the game in the top half of the second inning. Dever drew a lead-off walk and moved up to third on an infield single by left fielder LaRi Mitchell and a single to center by Campbell. DePriest got the first two outs of the inning on strikeouts, but hit Marquez with a pitch to drive in the tying run.
The Dukes broke the game open with a five-run second inning. Field supplied the big hit, driving in two runners with a double. She came into score on a throwing error by the MTSU left fielder. Mooney capped the inning with a solo home run to center field. It was her fifth home run of the weekend and the sixth of the year.
Dever drove a two-out home run to left field in the top of the third inning to cut the Madison lead down to 6-2. It was her first home run of the season.
A sacrifice fly by Field and a RBI single by Mooney in the bottom of the fourth inning pushed the lead up to six. Heath and Butler scored the runs for the Dukes after starting the frame with back-to-back singles.
Kemp controlled Blue Raider offense the rest of the way, retiring nine of the final 12 batters she faced.
In game one, JMU scored 10 runs on 11 hits, including seven extra-base hits to run away with a 10-1, six-inning win over Georgetown.
Sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) earned the win for the Dukes to improve to 4-3. She tossed her third complete game of the season, limiting the Hoyas to one unearned run on four hits and a walk while striking out two.
Megan Hyson took the loss for GU, dropping to 1-9 on the year. She gave up eight runs on ten hits and a walk. The right-hander struck out seven. Hannah Slovacek allowed two unearned runs on one hit in an inning of relief.
The Dukes’ offense was driven by freshman first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) who went 3-for-3 with a double, a home run, two runs and two RBIs. Mooney added a home run and three RBIs in three at-bats while junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) doubled and homered in four trips to the plate, adding two RBIs.
GU was paced by shortstop Samantha Giovanniello who went 2-for-3 with two doubles. Center fielder Elyse Graziano drove in her team’s only run with a single and added a walk while first baseman Madeline Giaquinto was 1-for-2 with a single.
JMU grabbed an early lead on a solo home run by Butler in the top of the first inning. It was the first home run of the season for Butler and the fifth of her career.
Madison took advantage of a lead-off walk in the top of the second to add to its lead. Ford worked a nine-pitch walk and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, senior third baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) battled Hyson to a full count before lining a single into right for the RBI.
Ford led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to extend the lead to 3-0. It was the rookie’s fourth homer of the year and extended her hitting streak to a JMU-freshman record 15 games.
The Dukes hit two more homers and had four extra-base hits in the top of the fifth to extend the lead by five. Mooney blasted her fourth homer of the weekend and fifth of the year, scoring Butler and Field. Butler started the inning with a bunt single and moved to third on a double by Field.
Ford followed Mooney’s home run with a double down the left-field line and came in to score on a homer to left-center field by Sandy. It was the third four-bagger of the year and a new career-high for the two-time All-CAA selection.
The Hoyas fought off the early-termination rule with a run in the bottom half of the fifth, taking advantage of a Madison error for an unearned run. Giaquinto led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a one-out fielding error. After a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with two outs, Graziano singled to left field, driving in pinch runner Cristina Fletcher.
A bases-loaded single by Ford and a hit-by-pitch by junior second baseman Anna Klumpp (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) added a pair of unearned runs for Madison in the top of the sixth inning. Kiefer closed out the early-termination victory by setting the Hoyas down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
JMU closes out the Chanticleer Challenge on Sunday by taking on tournament-host Coastal Carolina at 10 a.m.
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