NEWARK, Del., May 18, 2013 – Senior Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) worked a career-high 7 2/3 innings and James Madison pounded 14 hits to defeat Delaware 11-6 while also getting the help it needed to earn a spot in the Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championship on the final day of the regular season on Saturday afternoon at Bob Hannah Stadium.
JMU won for the fourth time in six games to improve to 24-28 overall and 11-15 in the CAA. UD fell to 33-20 overall and 15-12 in the league. The teams will meet again in the CAA Tournament as the No. 3 Blue Hens face the No. 6 Dukes at 3:30 p.m. at JMU’s Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Dukes entered the day a half game behind Hofstra for the final tournament spot. The Pride trailed UNCW 10-7 in the bottom of the eighth before rallying. HU had the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the ninth with a 10-10 tie but couldn’t score. The Seahawks posted a two-run home run in the 10th and survived the tying run in scoring position for the 12-10 win to help JMU.
JMU led 11-2 by the time the UNCW-Hofstra game was final. The Dukes left little doubt on the part of the day they could control by scoring four in the first, three in the second, one in the third and three in the fourth to lead 11-0. UD scored twice in the fourth and then added a pair of runs each in the eighth and ninth to account for the 11-6 final.
Bladel continued his late-season emergence on the mound, picking up his second career victory (2-0) by working 7 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and no walks. Starter Matt Soren (4-5) took the loss for the Blue Hens after surrendering seven runs on eight hits in two innings.
Junior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) ended the year as JMU’s hottest hitter, posting an 8-for-15 (.533) week after going 2-for-3 with a double and three walks on Saturday. Senior shortstop Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glenville) was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
Three other Dukes had a pair of hits in the game. Junior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run. Left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) had two hits and scored twice. Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) had two hits with a double. Senior center fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) added a solo home run.
Left fielder Chris Branigan was 3-for-4 for the Blue Hens. Second baseman D.J. Long and first baseman Jimmy Yezzo each smacked two-run home runs.
JMU took command early by batting around in the first and scoring four runs. Carroll started it with an RBI single and McFarland scored on a wild pitch. Brown then smacked his team-leading ninth home run of the season to center for a 4-0 lead.
JMU scored three in the second on a three-run double by Goss. Roberts made it 8-0 with a solo home run in the third. The Dukes extended the advantage further in the fourth as Tenaglia hit an RBI single, Goss scored a run when Roberts reached on an error and senior outfielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) picked up an RBI single to make it 11-0.
Delaware scored twice in the fourth with Branigan’s RBI double and a double by designated hitter Alex Mottle. The next 11 UD batters went down in order until a single and Yezzo’s two-run shot in the eighth. Long smacked a two-run shot in the ninth in the final home at bat of his four-year career as a starter for the Blue Hens to close the scoring for the day at 11-6.