HARRISONBURG, Va., April 17, 2012 – With the 2012 softball regular season entering its final stages, the James Madison softball team closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule on Wednesday with a trip to Lynchburg, Va., for a doubleheader at Liberty. First pitch for game one is schedule for 2 p.m. at the Liberty Softball Field.
JMU saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday, but have still won four straight outside of the CAA. Overall, the Dukes are 14-19 in non-conference action.
Last week, the Dukes went 4-1 while holding their opponents to just one eight runs over the five games. The stretch included three shutouts and a game where they limited their opponents to one unearned run.
Freshman pitcher/designated player Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) was named the Colonial Athletic Association co-Rookie of the Week for both her work at the plate and in the circle. As a pitcher, Mooney went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three appearances. Opponents collected just nine hits off the rookie in 12 2/3 innings pitched. She struck out seven and gave up just two extra base hits.
At the plate, Mooney hit .500 (7-for-14) with five runs scored and four RBIs. She also homered twice and walked twice for a .929 slugging percentage and a .563 on-base percentage. The first-year Duke hit safely in all five games last week to run her hitting streak up to a season-best seven games.
Senior second baseman Caitlen Manning (Prince George, Va./Prince George) and freshman outfielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) both also added .500 batting average. Heath went 8-for-16 at the plate with four doubles, three runs and two stolen bases while Manning went 6-for-12 with two doubles, four runs, three RBIs and a walk.
Four of the five hits by senior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) went for extra bases, including two doubles and two home runs. She moved into first place on the school’s all-time list for doubles and is just three runs shy of breaking Katie George’s (2004-07) mark for runs scored. The senior already owns the program record for home runs, RBIs and total bases.
The Flames come into the mid-week action with a 15-26 overall record and have won five of their last eight games. On Sunday, they picked up a 4-2 conference win over Coastal Carolina to improve to 6-9 in Big South play. Liberty is just 5-10 at home this season, but has won its last four at the Liberty Softball Field.
Offensively, the Flames have four players hitting between .298 and .351. Katie Zavodny leads the way with a .351 average with 22 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. Of her 34 hits, 31 have been singles and she’s added three walks for a .370 on-base percentage. Meredith Crisante is hitting .325 with a team-best seven home runs and 25 RBIs. She’s also hit five doubles, scored 24 runs scored and is a perfect 13-for-13 in steal attempts. Jenny Law is hitting .298 and leads the team with seven doubles.
Alyssa DiMartino and Chandler Ball handle a majority of the pitching duties for the Flames, throwing a combined 263 1/3 of a possible 267 2/3 innings. DiMartino is 7-16 with a 4.35 ERA in 18 games started. She has 10 complete games in 18 games started and opponents are hitting .319 off of her. She has struck out 49 and walked 41 in 140 innings pitched. Ball is 8-8 with a 4.94 ERA in 22 games started. Opponents are hitting .293 off of her and she’s posted 89 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings pitched.
Head coach Paul Wetmore is in his 19th season as the head coach at Liberty. He’s compiled a 523-570-1 record with the Flames.
JMU and Liberty had met in every season except for one since JMU started its program in 2002. The Dukes hold a slight 10-9 in the series history, but have dropped three of the last four meetings between the teams. Last season, the team’s split a doubleheader in Harrisonburg with JMU winning game one, 4-3, behind a complete-game effort from pitcher Olivia McPherson (2010-11) and a 2-for-2 effort with two RBIs from junior outfielder Lori Botkin (Manassas, Va./Osbourn). Liberty won a wild back-and-forth affair in game two, 9-7.
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