HARRISONBURG, Va., March 19, 2013 -- The James Madison softball team hosts the Princeton Tigers on Wednesday, March 20 for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park. It is JMU’s final non-conference tuneup for Colonial Athletic Association play.
The doubleheader against Princeton wraps up a stretch of 25 non-conference games to start the season for JMU. The Dukes are off to a 16-7 start and face a 10-4 Tigers team that has won seven of their last eight games.
Over the weekend, softball hosted Detroit, Fordham and Binghamton in the JMU Invitational. Weather washed out three of the Dukes scheduled games. In JMU’s only game of the tournament, the Dukes surrendered a pair of three-run home runs and a two-run home run en route to a defeat in five innings against Fordham.
Sophomore Sarah Mooney provided the lone-run of the weekend for the Dukes with a solo home run. The home run was Mooney’s seventh of the season and 16th of her career. She is one home run shy of tying Amber Kirk (2006-09) for fourth on the school’s all-time home run list.
Senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) is just one hit shy of tying Kirk for third on the school’s all-time hit list. With three base hits, Butler joins Ashley Burnham (2009-12) and Katie George (2004-07) as the only players in school history to eclipse 200 hits.
Following Wednesday’s action, JMU begins their CAA schedule on Saturday with a weekend series against Towson.
Through 14 games, the Tigers are off to their best start since 2005 with a record of 10-4. Princeton went 4-1 last weekend at the UMBC Spring Classic in Baltimore, Md. The Tigers beat UMBC, twice beat Coppin State, and split a pair of games against Hampton.
Nine Princeton batters are hitting better than .300, and two are hitting better than .500. Freshman Emily Viggers leads the team with a .542 average, and sophomore Alyssa Schmidt has a team-best 20 hits and six doubles, batting .513 overall. The Tigers have out-homered their opponents 18-4, led by seniors Alex Peyton and Candy Button with three home runs each.
In the circle, the Tigers have a 2.37 team ERA and a .218 batting average against. Freshman Christian Shanna leads the team with a 4-1 record and a 1.27 ERA, including 27 strikeouts and a .130 batting average against. Alex Peyton leads the Tigers in innings pitched with 32, recording a 2.41 ERA and three complete games. Senior Liza Kuhn has a 2.83 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.
Princeton is led by first-year head coach Lisa Sweeney.
The Dukes are 1-1 all-time against the Tigers. In their last meeting, JMU shut out Princeton 3-0 on a neutral field. The Dukes play the Tigers in Harrisonburg for the first time in the history of the program.
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