HARRISONBURG, Va., Oct. 15, 2013 – After recording a program record 42 wins and receiving an at-large bid into the 2013 NCAA tournament, the James Madison softball team started preparations for its 2014 season this fall. The team went 7-1 during the fall season, including a 4-0 mark at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Dukes outscored their opponents 55-10 in the eight games. They picked up doubleheader sweeps at home over Eastern Mennonite University and Roanoke College. JMU beat EMU 6-0 and 9-0 and added wins over Roanoke of 20-1 and 8-3. Madison also traveled to the Virginia Military Appreciation Tournament in Botetourt, Va., going 3-1 against Liberty, Virginia, Radford and Virginia Tech. The Dukes beat Liberty 6-1, UVA 4-3, and Radford 2-1 while losing to Virginia Tech 1-0.
As a team, JMU hit .332 in the fall with 19 extra-base hits, including three home runs, 42 RBIs, 21 walks and 34 stolen bases. It posted a .448 slugging percentage and a .403 on-base percentage. Four Madison pitchers combined for a 0.86 ERA with 50 strikeouts and a .154 batting average against in 57 innings pitched.
Leading the way offensively for the Dukes was sophomore catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) who hit .560 with 14 hits in 25 at-bats. She had three doubles, a team-best eight RBIs and slugged .680. Senior utility Catherine Clavin (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson) hit .500 with a triple, a home run, four RBIs and a walk while sophomore pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) hit .350 with a double, a home run and three RBIs. She also walked four times and had two stolen bases. Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) hit .346 with three double and six RBIs.
Madison has 12 freshmen on its roster this fall with 11 of them seeing action in the fall. Outfielder Mimi Morris (Kenilworth, Ill./New Trier) led the way offensively, hitting .429 with four RBIs and five stolen bases. Outfielder Niki Prince (Asburn, Va./Stone Bridge) tied with Field and Sandy for the team lead with three doubles, hitting .304 with two RBIs and three stolen bases while outfielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) was the only rookie to smack a home run. On the base paths catcher Caitlin Viafora (Stanley, Va./Page County) went 8-for-8 in steal attempts and scored two runs.
In the circle, the Dukes picked up where they left off in 2013 with a dominating performance from its four hurlers. Ford, the 2013 CAA Rookie of the Year, limited foes to two runs and six hits in 18 innings pitched. The left-hander struck out 27 and help opponents to a .097 batting average against. Two-time All-CAA selection Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) led the pitchers with 21 innings pitched. She gave up seven runs, but just three were earned, on 12 hits and two walks while striking out 13.
Rookie right-hander Kelly Wishard (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough) allowed one unearned run on eight hits and four walks in 12 innings of work. She struck out seven and held foes to a .195 batting average. Senior Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) got six innings of work in the circle. She posted a 2.33 ERA with five hits and five walks while striking out three.
The 2014 JMU season begins in February with the full schedule to be released later this fall.
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