HARRISONBURG, Va., April 14, 2012 – A pair of freshman pitchers combined to limit Delaware to five hits in a pair of shutout efforts, including a one-hitter from right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) as the James Madison softball swept a conference doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday. JMU won both games 7-0.
The Dukes ran their winning streak to 12 games to improve to 24-20 overall and 10-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware dropped to 9-35-1 overall and 2-9 in the league.
In game two, freshman pitcher Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) scattered four hits and four walks while striking out one in seven innings pitched to earn the win. She ran her record to 8-8 with the shutout.
Hannah Rust took the loss for UD to drop to 5-7 on the season. She allowed seven runs, five earned, on seven hits in three innings pitched. Kathleen Conway limited JMU to one hit and two walks in three innings of shutout relief.
Offensively, JMU was led by junior first baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI. Freshman left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) added a pair of doubles and a run scored in three at-bats while sophomore third baseman Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) went 1-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs.
Four players recorded singles to lead the Delaware offense. Center fielder Lara Andrews did not have any hits, but walked twice.
JMU took advantage of some difficulties in the UD infield to grab a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Johnson led off the frame with an infield single. In the ensuing at-bat, she hustled down to second, beating the throw on an attempted fielder’s choice. Sandy followed by hitting into a fielder’s choice to put a pair of runners on with one out. A Delaware throwing error by the third baseman scored Johnson while Sandy and junior catcher Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) advanced into scoring position. A bunt single by senior second baseman Caitlen Manning (Prince George, Va./Prince George) made it 2-0 before sophomore right fielder Anna Klumpp (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View) hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Shinaberry to cap the frame.
Doubles by Heath and Johnson increased the Dukes’ lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third. Mooney followed with a single and Sandy ripped a one-out double off the wall in left, scoring two runners for a 6-0 advantage. A wild pitch moved Sandy up to third and she scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Shinaberry.
Mooney worked herself into a couple of bases loaded jams in the fifth in sixth innings, but escaped trouble in each of the frames to secure the shutout.
In game one, Kiefer allowed just three runners to reach base as she shutout the Blue Hens. She limited her opponent to one hit and one hit batter while striking out two to improve to 10-3 on the season.
Chenxi Jiao took the loss for UD, dropping to 2-19 on the season. She allowed three runs on six hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings of work. Brianna Jennings pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits and a walk.
Shinaberry paced the JMU offense, going 2-for-3 with a run and a RBI. Johnson went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs while senior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) had two hits, including a double and added a run and a RBI.
Delaware shortstop Aliciea Coy recorded the only hit for her team, going 1-for-3 with a single and second baseman Michelle McKinnon reached on a hit-by-pitch in the top of the first.
After struggling to figure Jiao out through the first three innings, the Dukes got their bats going in the bottom of the fourth. Heath doubled with one out to right center to start the rally, but was called out for leaving the base early. Burnham followed with a double down the left-field line and scored on a home run by Johnson. The Dukes’ first baseman looked at a ball on the first pitch before turning on Jiao’s second offering for her first homer of the season and the ninth of her career. One batter later, Mooney took advantage of a second chance to hit her sixth home run of the season. One pitch before the home run, Delaware’s catcher failed to pull in a foul pop-up, giving her second life in the at-bat. She didn’t miss the next offering, drilling her sixth homer of the season.
The double by Burnham was the 42nd of her career, moving her into sole possession of first on the all-time list. The record was previously held by Katie George (2004-07).
Madison added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Burnham. Klumpp led off the inning with an infield single. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a single by Heath before scoring on a single through the left side by Burnham.
A lead-off walk by Mooney to start the bottom of the sixth inning helped ignite a three-run sixth inning. The freshman moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single to right-center field by Shinaberry. An infield single by Manning and a passed ball put a pair of runners in scoring position for sophomore pinch hitter Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough). Clayton plated both runners, hitting a liner into shallow center for a single.
Kiefer handled the rest as she retired the last nine batters she faced and 19 of the final 20 in a dominating effort. She improved to 6-0 with a 1.07 ERA in conference action.
The Dukes and Blue Hens wrap up their series on Sunday with a noon game at Veterans Memorial Park.
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