HARRISONBURG, Va., April 21, 2011 – After sweeping George Washington in its final non-conference games of the season on Wednesday, the James Madison softball team returns home for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series against Georgia State this weekend. The Dukes and Panthers are scheduled to play a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday before closing the series with a noon game on Saturday.
The weekend will also serve as JMU’s ninth-annual StrikeOut Cancer event. In its nine years, the event has raised over $11,500 for the American Cancer Society, including a record $4,708 in 2010.
As part of the weekend’s festivities, all individuals and families impacted by the disease will receive free admission to the park. There will be a silent auction during Friday’s doubleheader featuring such items as an autographed Redskins football, a JMU Bookstore gift basket, autographed JMU Softball jerseys, and much more. The silent auction will wrap up at the end of the third inning of Saturday’s game, with the items available following the contest.
Several members of the JMU team will also be donating hair to Locks of Love, a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
In addition, there will be a Puppy Pound Party sponsored by Chick-fil-A on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. for all Puppy Pound members.
JMU is 27-17 overall after winning a pair of games over George Washington on Wednesday. The Dukes currently sit in fourth place in the CAA at 6-6 with the top four teams advancing to next month’s conference championship.
Senior pitcher Olivia McPherson (Liberty, N.C./Southern Alamance) earned a win and a save for the Dukes on Wednesday to improve to 11-8 with two saves and a 2.60 ERA. The right-hander has tossed 10 complete games and three shutouts to lead the Madison pitching staff. Freshman Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) earned the win in the second game to improve to 6-8 on the season.
Offensively, sophomore outfielder Lori Botkin (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) has hit safely in eight of her last 11 games and has raised her batting average 43 points in that span. Botkin is tied for second on the team with 10 doubles and is hitting .263 with 18 runs, 17 RBIs and seven steals.
SCOUTING GEORGIA STATE
The Panthers split a doubleheader with Mercer on Wednesday to enter the weekend with a 28-18 overall record and an 11-1 mark in conference play. They have won 15 of their last 17 games, including 11 straight in the CAA.
Shortstop Paige Nowacki is hitting .331 with 26 runs and 23 RBIs to lead the offense. She’s added nine doubles, six home runs, 20 walks and three stolen bases in 45 games started. First baseman Lauren Jones is hitting .304 with a team-high 10 home runs and 31 RBIs. Second baseman Whitney Phillips is the team’s top speed threat, stealing 13 bases in 16 attempts while outfielder Jessica Clifton is third on the team with 22 runs scored.
In the circle, Kaitlyn Medlam has gone 9-1 with four saves and a 1.68 ERA in nine starts and 24 appearances. The rookie has struck out 61 batters in 70 2/3 innings while limiting opponents to a .256 average against. McCall Langford is 11-8 with a 1.73 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 117 2/3 innings pitched while Erin Collins has posted seven saves in 25 relief appearances.
Interim head coach Roger Kincaid is in his first season at the helm after taking over for Bob Heck on Feb. 21, 2011. He has compiled a 23-13 record since taking over as the head coach.
JMU and Georgia State have squared off 20 times since their first meeting in 2006. GSU leads the all-time series 13-7, including taking three of the five meetings in 2010. JMU lost the regular season series 2-1 in Atlanta last season before splitting a pair of games at the 2010 CAA Championship. The Panthers have won four of the six meetings between the teams in Harrisonburg.
# # #