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Conner BrownCourtesy: Photography/JMU Athletics Communications
Baseball Looks to Stay Hot in Midweek Matchup with VMI
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:03/11/2013

James Madison will look to continue the positive momentum it has built from the past weekend after a series sweep of Hofstra when it hosts VMI on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Powered by a grand slam from sophomore shortstop Tyler Duke and solid hitting from the entire lineup, the Diamond Dukes defeated Hofstra 10-6 on Sunday to complete the three-game sweep and open conference play undefeated.  The Dukes improved to 9-6 on the season and won their seventh straight game overall.

JMU's offense was hot the entire weekend, scoring a combined 40 runs in the three-game series, including an 18-3 victory Saturday afternoon. Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia was on fire the entire weekend, racking up five hits, nine RBIs and hitting .455 for the weekend. Sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll also pitched in four hits and five RBIs over the weekend.

Overall, the Dukes as a team had a batting average of .407 for the weekend, while racking up a total of 46 hits over the three-game span. The second game of Saturday's double-header was the highlight of the weekend on both the offensive and defensive side of things. The Dukes tallied 18 hits, 18 runs, 16 RBIs, and only struck out five times.  JMU also had a .493 team on-base percentage thanks to 13 walks and 10 hit batters in three games.

Not to be overshadowed by the offense, the pitching had a solid game Saturday as well. Sophomore right-hander Ben Garner threw four innings of four-hit ball, while striking out two and allowing just three runs. Sophomore left-hander Aaron Hoover picked up the win after four innings of relief pitching, allowing just two hits and no runs to score while striking out two. Freshman J.T. Root closed the game out with an inning of shutout relief; he struck out two. 

Scouting VMI

VMI is coming off of a three-game weekend series sweep at the hands of Western Kentucky; the losses dropped VMI to 5-11 overall on the season. The Keydets' offense was quiet all weekend, producing 19 hits with a batting average of.209. After a 13-5 decision on Friday, the Keydets lost a tough one on Saturday, 4-3. Western Kentucky came from behind with a two-run eighth inning to take the lead, 4-3, and never looked back. Junior left-hander Connor Bach had a good outing spoiled by his bullpen, after pitching five innings and allowing just two hits and no runs.

Overall VMI has a winning record at home of 5-4, but has yet to win a game on the road, dropping all seven so far. The Keydets' offense is led by senior outfielder Rob Dickinson, who has a batting average of .403 so far and has racked up 25 hits, including five doubles and a home run.  He has also tallied 14 RBIs and five stolen bases and has only struck out twice so far this season. The Keydets' pitching is led by sophomore right-hander Reed Garrett, who holds a 1-0 record with a 3.91 ERA. In 23 innings of work, Garrett has allowed 25, 10 runs, and walked just nine while striking out 19.

Series History

JMU leads the all-time series against VMI 45-9. JMU won last year's meeting in Lexington 5-4, but the Keydets had won the previous three contests.

Starting Pitchers

Tuesday, 4 p.m.

JMU - Mark Gunst, Fr., RHP (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Gunst will be making his first collegiate start on Tuesday afternoon. In four relief appearances, Gunst has pitched eight innings allowing just three hits and no runs, and has also picked up a save.

VMI - Jeremy Brown, r-Sr., RHP (1-0, 2.45 ERA)

In two starts this season, Brown has pitched 11 innings, allowing nine hits, four walks, and four runs (three earned). Brown has also struck out eight, and his opponents' batting average is just .225.

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