HARRISONBURG, Va., April 27, 2011 – With just six games remaining on the schedule, the James Madison softball team hits the home stretch with a trip to Towson, Md., for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series against Towson University this weekend. JMU and TU will play a doubleheader at the Towson Center Softball Complex at noon on Saturday before concluding the series with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.
This weekend’s action will be the final away games for the Dukes during the regular season. They have compiled a 10-9 record on the road, including winning two straight. Towson is 13-5 at home this season and has gone 5-3 at home in CAA play.
The Dukes and Tigers are part of a tight battle for the final two spots for the CAA Championship. JMU is currently in fifth with a 6-8 record, half a game back of Towson. Delaware currently sits in third with a 7-8 record, but only leads eighth place UNC Wilmington by four games with six to play.
Hofstra and Georgia State have each clinched a berth in the postseason. The Pride and Panthers are tied for first in the CAA with 13-1 marks and will battle it out for the right to host the tournament over the next two weeks.
Junior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) continues to lead the conference in most offensive categories including batting average (.370) hits (57), runs (42), home runs (13), triples (5), total bases (116) and slugging percentage (.753). She also played solid defense for the Dukes, recording 77 put-outs and 112 assists while committing just nine errors for a .955 fielding percentage.
Junior second baseman Caitlen Manning (Prince George, Va./Prince George) leads the CAA in doubles with 12 and is hitting .295 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and 26 runs scored.
In conference play, freshman third baseman Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) is hitting .351 with three doubles, six runs scored, four RBIs and five sacrifice hits. Sophomore center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) leads the team with a .419 average in conference play, adding two doubles, a triple, seven runs scored and nine RBIs.
Sophomore first baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) is one of the toughest players to strikeout in the country, ranking 34th with a punch-out once every 20.2 at-bats. She has added a .325 batting average with two doubles, two home runs, six runs and five RBIs in conference play.
The Tigers are 21-23 overall with a 6-7 mark in league play. They swept a doubleheader against local-rival Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday, winning by a combined score of 15-0. In their most recent CAA action, they were swept in a pair of games at Hofstra, losing 8-2 and 2-0 with game three getting rained out.
Junior Erika Stasch leads the offense, hitting .354 with seven doubles, two triples, five home runs and 21 RBIs. She is tied for second on the team with 28 runs scored and has added 21 walks and is a perfect 15-for-15 in steal attempts. Senior Sammi DiPompo leads the team with 30 RBIs while fellow senior Rachel Miller has a team-best 29 runs scored. Andrea Stevenson is hitting .338 with 12 extra-base hits, 28 runs and 22 RBIs.
In the circle, junior Dominique Ortega is 8-11 with a 2.13 ERA in 20 games started. She has 16 complete games and three shutouts and has struck out 47 batters in 144 2/3 innings pitched. Sophomore Katie Lingmai is 12-11 with a 2.79 ERA. She has struck out 126 and limited opponents to a .202 batting average against in 135 2/3 innings.
Lisa Costello is in her 16th season as Towson’s head coach. She has compiled a 466-405-2 record in that time and has led the Tigers to CAA Championships the last four seasons.
The Dukes and Tigers have met 31 times since 2002 with Towson holding a 17-14 lead in the all-time series. Last season, TU won two of the three meeting in Harrisonburg, but the Dukes have won four of the previous six meetings between the teams. JMU is 6-6 all-time at the Towson Center Softball Complex.
# # #