NEWARK, Del., April 9, 2011 – James Madison and Delaware traded come-from-behind, three-run rallies to earn a split in Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader at the Delaware Softball Stadium in Newark, Del. JMU won game one 5-4 before dropping the nightcap 4-3.
The Dukes ran their record to 24-12 overall and 6-2 in the CAA while Delaware went to 12-25 and 3-5 in league play.
UD trailed 3-0 in game two, but rallied for a run in the fifth and three in the sixth to sneak past JMU. Amanda Stacevicz pitched four innings of shutout relief to earn the win and improve to 8-8 on the season. She allowed three hits and a walk while striking out two. Kathleen Conway drew the start and gave up three runs, two earned, of five hits and two walks in three innings pitched.
Senior right-hander Olivia McPherson (Liberty, N.C./Southern Alamance) took the loss to drop to 9-6. She gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four.
First baseman Bertie Lake went 2-for-2 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs to pace the Delaware offense. Right fielder Rachel Jones chipped in two hits while left fielder Jenny Richards added a hit and a walk.
Sophomore center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) had two hits and two RBIs to lead JMU while junior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) went 2-for-4 with a run score. Redshirt senior right fielder Chel’sea Ryan (Sandston, Va./Henrico) added two hits, a run and a RBI in three at-bats.
Madison took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a RBI single by Ryan. The Dukes loaded the bases on a walk, a fielding error and a hit by pitch before Ryan hit a floater over the second baseman’s head for the run-scoring single.
JMU added two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Ryan initiated the inning with an infield single before moving to third on a single to center field by Burnham. Burnham advanced to second on the throw to third and both runners came around to score on a two-out single by Butler.
The Blue Hens got a run back in the bottom of the fifth. After loading the bases with one out on two singles sandwiched around a walk, center fielder Lara Andrews hit a sacrifice fly to center field. McPherson avoided further damage by getting Stacevicz to ground out back to the pitcher to end the threat.
Delaware took the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on a three-run home run by Lake. The Blue Hens got singles from Jones and pinch hitter Brittney Noons to put two runners on with two outs. Lake worked a 3-2 count before driving McPherson’s offering out over the left-field fence.
In game one, freshman pitcher Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) tossed 2 1/3 inning of no-hit relief to earn the win. She improved to 5-5 after allowing three walks and striking out two. Sophomore right-hander Cara Stecher (New Castle, Del./Caravel Academy) drew the start and gave up four runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out two in 4 2/3 innings pitched.
Hannah Rust took the loss for UD to drop to 0-6. She ceded five runs on eight hits in six innings pitched. The freshman did not walk a batter and struck out one.
Butler and sophomore first baseman Haley Johnson (Broadway, Va./Broadway) had two hits each to lead the JMU offense. Johnson went 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs while Butler was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
Stacevicz led the Blue Hens offense, going 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI while second baseman Michelle McKinnon was 2-for-2 with a run. Catcher Gina Knutson chipped in a home run, a run and two RBIs in three at-bats.
Delaware used a little small ball to take a lead in the bottom of the first. After Richards led off the game with a single up the middle, she moved to second on an illegal pitch before scoring on back-to-back sacrifice bunts.
The Dukes put together a two-out, two-run rally in the second to take the lead. Johnson started things with a single up the middle. On the first pitch of the next at-bat, sophomore Lori Botkin (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) launched a double to dead center field, scoring Johnson from first. Botkin went to third on the throw home and scored as Knutson’s throw got passed the third baseman for an error.
The Blue Hens scored three runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead. McKinnon took started the rally with a one-out single to right field. She moved to second on a walk by center fielder Lara Andrews and scored on a single up the middle by designated player Amanda Stacevicz. Pinch runner Samantha Pettie was thrown out at second on the play, but Knutson followed with a two-run home run to dead center field to give the Hens the lead.
JMU rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead. Butler hit a one-out double to center field and moved to third on a single through the left side by senior catcher Katie Spitzer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) and scored on a bobble by Richards. After sophomore designated player Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) grounded into a fielder’s choice, Johnson launched an 0-1 offering from Rust out over the fence in left-center. It was Johnson’s fourth home run of the season and the sixth of her career.
Jeans allowed a pair of walks in the bottom of the seventh inning, but induced a soft line drive to Burnham to end the comeback bid.
The Dukes and Blue Hens conclude their series on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for noon at the Delaware Softball Stadium.
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