HARRISONBURG, Va., March 20, 2012 – James Madison softball freshman pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) was named the Colonial Athletic Association co-Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Tuesday. It is the fourth time overall that a JMU freshman has claimed the honor.
Kiefer played a role in both of JMU’s wins at the JMU Days Inn Invitational over the weekend, picking up a save and a win in nine innings pitched. Kiefer earned her second save of the season in relief of junior right-hander Cara Stecher (New Castle, Del./Caravel Academy). The first-year Duke allowed one run on two hits and a walk in two innings pitched. She followed that with a complete-game effort in a win over Pittsburgh, limiting the Panthers to one run on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out four.
In her two appearances, Kiefer went 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA and a .182 opponent batting average against. She improved to 2-1 on the season and boasts a 3.11 ERA in 36 innings pitched.
Drexel’s Paige Collings was named the CAA Player of the Week while Hofstra’s Olivia Galati claimed Pitcher of the Week. Galati’s teammate Erin Trippi shared Rookie of the Week accolades with Kiefer.
On Wednesday, Madison travels to Farmville, Va., for its final non-conference action before opening CAA play this weekend. JMU is scheduled to play a doubleheader at Longwood beginning at 4 p.m. at Lancer Field.
The Dukes are coming off a 2-3 showing at the JMU Days Inn Invitational, picking up wins over George Washington and Pittsburgh. Overall, the team sits at 10-15 and is 3-1 in true road games. The team ranks 66th in the country in batting average at .287 and 128th in the nation in runs per game at 4.24.
Defensively, JMU committed just two errors over the weekend to improve its fielding percentage to .964, good enough for 77th in the nation. The team ranks 55th in the country in steals per game (1.4 per game), going 35-for-44 over.
Junior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) has successfully stolen 11 consecutive bases to improve to 11-for-13 on the season. She stole two bases over the weekend to move into sole possession of the school’s all-time record with 47 and ranks 70th in the nation in steals per game with 0.44.
Senior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) ranks amongst the nation’s top 100 in several offensive categories, including home runs per game (80th), doubles per game (46th) and slugging percentage (87th). Sophomore third baseman Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) ranks as the 21st hardest player to strike out in the nation with just one punchout in 66 at-bats this season.
The Lancers come into the weekend with an 18-9 overall record, including a 12-1 mark at home. Last weekend, they traveled to Charleston, S.C., for a tournament hosted by Charleston Southern. They went 3-1 with wins over Charleston Southern and Ohio (twice).
Offensively, Longwood is hitting .286 as a team, including three players hitting over .320. Catcher/first baseman is hitting .383 with 17 extra-base hits, 30 runs scored and 20 RBIs. She leads the team in doubles (nine), triples (two) and is second in home runs (six) while adding a .490 on-base percentage and a .765 slugging percentage. Third baseman Jordan Cox leads the team in home runs with eight and RBIs with 25.
Three different pitchers have thrown at least 35 innings this season for the Lancers, led by junior Ashley Cornell who is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA. Freshman Libby Morris leads the team in appearances (16) and starts (14) and is 8-5 with a 4.65 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings pitched.
Head coach Kathy Riley is in her 15th season as the head coach in Farmville and her 19th season overall. She owns a 452-239-1 record with Longwood and a 539-321-1 overall record.
JMU and Longwood have met three times in their respective histories. Longwood holds a 2-1 edge in the series. The teams last met in 2010 in the opening of Veterans Memorial Park with each team winning once. It was a memorable day offensively with JMU winning game one 9-8 and Longwood taking game two 16-14.
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