HARRISONBURG, Va., April 12, 2011 – After a four-game road trip last week, the James Madison softball team returns home on Wednesday as it hosts Liberty in a non-conference doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Park. First pitch of the twin bill is scheduled for 3 p.m. with the night cap starting about 20 minutes after the completion of game one.
The Dukes are 8-1 in games played in Harrisonburg this season, including a three-game sweep of conference-foe George Mason the last time they were home.
Madison is coming off a 1-3 week, losing a non-conference game at Virginia before going 1-2 at Delaware over the weekend. All three games between the Dukes and Blue Hens were decided by one run.
Senior catcher Katie Spitzer (Broadway, Va./Broadway) led team offensively, hitting .417 (5-for-12) with a double, a home run and three RBIs. Her home run, a three-run shot in the series finale against Delaware, was the 17th of her career, tying her with Amber Kirk (2006-09) for the third-most in school history.
Junior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) and sophomore center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) each hit .333 on the week and combined for three runs scored and two RBIs. Sophomore first baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) added a .300 average with a home run, three runs and two RBIs.
The Flames are 14-17 overall and 5-3 in Big South play after taking two of three in conference play from Charleston Southern. They sit in second place in the seven-team Big South, trailing Radford by one game.
Kelly Strickland is hitting .371 with three doubles, eight home runs, 20 runs scored and 20 RBIs to lead the offense. She has added 14 walks for a .472 on-base percentage and stole two bases in two attempts. Keely McMillon adds a .412 average with three double and three home runs. Ashley Bensinger leads the team with 21 runs scored and is the reigning conference Player of the Week while Katie Zavodny provides the speed with a team-high 18 steals.
Katrina Johnson is 9-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 22 appearances to lead the pitching staff. Opponents are hitting .254 off the right-hander. Senior Tiffani Smith has gone 4-9 with a 4.66 ERA in 12 starts. She has tossed five complete games and one shutout this season.
Head coach Paul Wetmore is in his 18th season at the helm for Liberty. He has compiled a 492-531-1 record in Lynchburg, including a Big South Championship in 2002.
The Dukes and Flames have squared off 17 times in their rivalry with JMU holding a 9-8 lead. Last season, Liberty swept the doubleheader from JMU by scores of 6-4 and 5-1. JMU is 7-1 all-time in games played in Harrisonburg, including a sweep in 2009 at the JMU Softball Complex.
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