HARRISONBURG, Va., April 10, 2012 – Winners of eight straight games, including a seven-game Colonial Athletic Association winning streak, the James Madison softball team returns to Veterans Memorial Park on Wednesday, April 11 to host a doubleheader against Elon. First pitch in game one is schedule for 3:30 p.m. with game two starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.
The doubleheader was added to the schedule on March 30 to allow each team to replace games that had been rained out earlier in the season.
The Dukes and Phoenix met once already this season, a 7-4 JMU win on Feb. 18. It was the opening day of the season for the Dukes.
Sophomore pitcher Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) earned the win after tossing three innings of shutout relief. She limited Elon to one hit and four walks while striking out three. Freshman pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) made her collegiate debut as the starting pitcher. She allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits and two walks in four innings pitched.
Offensively, JMU was led by senior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) who went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run. Freshman designated player Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) chipped in a hit and two RBIs while junior first baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Right-hander Erin O’Shea drew the start in the circle for Elon. She gave up seven runs, six earned, on five hits and six walks while striking out six. Kari Pervell allowed one hit in 2/3 innings of relief.
Left fielder Tomeka Watson powered the offense, going 4-for-4 with a run while O’Shea went 2-for-4 with a home run, a run and three RBIs.
Madison is coming off a 5-0 week that saw it raise its season record to 20-20 overall and 8-1 in the CAA. It swept a doubleheader at home against Norfolk State last Wednesday and then went on the road to sweep a CAA series against George Mason.
Kiefer went 3-0 in the circle for the Dukes, limiting opponents to just three runs in 14 2/3 innings pitched. She scattered nine hits and four walks and struck out 12 to improve to 8-3 on the season. In conference play, the rookie is 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA. CAA foes are hitting just .172 off the right-hander.
The Dukes offense produced five starters that hit over .350 during the week with all five of them collecting multiple extra-base hits. Burnham went 5-for-11 (.455) at the plate with two doubles and two home runs for a 1.182 slugging percentage. She added five walks for a .611 on-base percentage while also contributing five runs, five RBIs and two steals.
Junior catcher Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) hit .462 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs while junior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) hit .368 with two doubles, three runs, two RBIs and two steals. Mooney and Johnson each hit .357 with a pair of doubles.
The Phoenix are 17-11 on the season, but come in having lost six straight, including a Southern Conference series sweep at the hands of Chattanooga. Prior to their current losing streak, Elon had won seven on nine games.
Watson leads the Phoenix offense, hitting .387 with 10 extra-base hits, 25 runs and 19 RBIs. She has seven doubles, one triple and two home runs, adding 10 walks and 13 steals in 17 attempts. Carleigh Nestor contributes a .370 batting average with five doubles, 17 runs and a team-high 20 RBIs. Danielle Lafferty is the team’s top power threat with a team-leading five home runs while O’Shea is hitting .324 with eight extra-base hits and 19 RBIs.
O’Shea handles a majority of the pitching duties for Elon, throwing 56-percent of its innings. She is 10-7 with a 3.30 ERA in 104 innings pitched. The right-hander has appeared in 23 of their 28 games, starting 18. She has thrown eight complete games with four shutouts and has struck out 87. Opponents are hitting .223 off of her. Pervell has made 10 appearances and five starts, going 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA.
Kathy Bocock is in her first season as the interim head coach at Elon. She carries a 17-11 career record.
Including their meeting earlier this season, Elon and JMU have meet eight times since 2003 with the Phoenix holding a 5-3 edge in the series. The Dukes have won the last two and three of the last four, with Elon winning the first four matchups between the teams.
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