HARRISONBURG, Va., May 7, 2011 – The James Madison softball celebrated senior day with a 4-2 triumph over Drexel at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday.
The Dukes improved to 29-23 overall and 8-12 in Colonial Athletic Association play while dropping the Dragons to 15-27 and 7-14 in the league.
Senior pitcher Olivia McPherson (Liberty, N.C./Southern Alamance) earned the win to improve to 12-13. She allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out three in five innings pitched. Freshman right-hander Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) tossed two innings of shutout relief to earn her second save of the season.
Hillary Allen took the loss for Drexel to drop to 11-11. The right-hander ceded four runs on eight hits and five walks while striking out one in six innings pitched.
Offensively, the Dukes were led by junior second baseman Caitlen Manning (Prince George, Va./Prince George) who went 2-for-2 with a run and a RBI. Sophomore center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) went 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI while redshirt senior left fielder Chel’sea Ryan (Sandston, Va./Henrico) had a double, a walk, a run and a RBI in three trips to the plate. Junior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) doubled, scored a run, stole a base and walked three times.
Catcher Paige Collings went 3-for-3 with a double and a run to pace the Dragons. Center fielder Laura Stagliano had two hits in four at-bats while second baseman Rachel Campbell went 1-for-3 with a RBI.
JMU struck for the game’s first run in the bottom of the second inning. Manning led off the frame with a single through the left side and moved to second on a groundout. After a walk, Ryan laced a double into the gap in left-center, scoring Manning from second.
Drexel evened the score in the top of the third. Shortstop Devon Metcalf started the inning with an infield single. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball, before scoring on a RBI single through the left side by Campbell.
The Dukes responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to retake the lead. Burnham started the rally with a lead-off walk and moved to second on a single up the middle by sophomore center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange). During the ensuing at-bat, Burnham stole third and Collings’ throw down to third hit the batter and bounced out of play. Burnham was awarded home and Butler advanced to third. Manning lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to cap the inning as Butler scored for a 3-1 lead.
The Dragons cut the Madison lead to one in the top of the fifth. Allen drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second on a single by Collings that chased McPherson from the game in favor of Jeans. Jeans got a flyout and a fielder’s choice to retire the first two batters she faced before giving up a run on a wild pitch. The rookie right-hander stranded the tying run on third base as she induced a pop-up by first baseman Jenn Reading to escape the jam.
The Dukes manufactured a run in the bottom half of the inning to reestablish a two-run lead. Ryan led off with a walk and moved to second of a sacrifice bunt. After a ground-out moved the senior to third, Burnham was intentionally walked in favor of facing Butler. The sophomore made Drexel pay with a single through the left side for the run-scoring single.
Jeans retired the first two runners she faced in the seventh before Ryan threw out center fielder Laura Stagliano at second to end the game as she tried to stretch a single into a double.
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