HARRISONBURG, Va., May 5, 2011 – With the Colonial Athletic Association regular season wrapping up this weekend, the James Madison softball team welcomes Drexel to Veterans Memorial Park for a three-game series. The Dukes and Dragons will play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. before concluding the series with a 3 p.m. game on Saturday.
JMU enters the weekend trailing Delaware by 2 ½ games for the final spot at the CAA Championships. The Dukes need to sweep the three-game series from Drexel and have Towson sweep all three games against the Blue Hens to secure a berth in the tournament.
Hofstra, Georgia State and Towson have already clinched spots in next weekend’s tournament. The Pride and Panthers play this weekend in Hempstead, N.Y., to determine the host institution for the three-day tournament.
The weekend’s festivities will also feature recognition of Madison’s five seniors. Outfielder Chel’sea Ryan (Henrico, Va./Sandston), catcher Katie Spitzer (Broadway, Va./Broadway), third baseman Lauren Robison (St. Leonard, Md./Calvert) and pitchers Olivia McPherson (Liberty, N.C./Southern Alamance) and Heather Widner (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Ready) all are playing their final regular season home game and will be recognized prior to Saturday’s game.
The 2011 class has compiled a 118-93 record overall and a 43-35 mark in CAA play. They’ve reached the league tournament in their first three seasons and played a role in helping the 2009 team win the program’s first-ever conference championship, advancing to the Knoxville Regional in the NCAA tournament.
The Dukes are 9-4 in games played at Veterans Memorial Park, including 3-2 in CAA play.
The Dragons come into the weekend with a 14-26 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the CAA. They are coming off a 2-1 series loss at Delaware last weekend.
Junior Paige Collings leads the offense, hitting .322 with six doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 18 runs scored and 30 RBIs. She has walked 16 times for a .406 on-base percentage and is slugging .619. Senior Rachel Campbell leads the team with 24 runs scored and has added five doubles, three home runs and 19 RBIs. Fellow senior Laura Stagliano leads the team with 22 steals in 23 attempts and has scored 18 runs in 40 games played.
Junior Hillary Allen leads the pitching staff, going 10-10 with a 2.94 ERA in 23 games started. She has thrown 14 complete games and one shutout while striking out 90 and limiting opponents to a .271 batting average against in 143 innings pitched. Freshman Shelby Taylor has started 13 games and gone 4-11 with a 4.64 ERA in 92 innings pitched.
Head coach Kim Camara is in her fifth season at the helm for the Dragons. She has compiled a 103-111 career record in Philadelphia.
JMU and Drexel have played 29 times since 2002 with Madison holding a 22-7 edge in the all-time series. The Dukes took two of three from the Dragons in Philadelphia last season and have won 10 of the previous 12 matchups between the teams. JMU is 12-0 all-time in games played in Harrisonburg.
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