ATLANTA, Ga., April 28, 2012 – The James Madison softball team split a conference doubleheader at Georgia State on Saturday to clinch an appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association Softball Championships. JMU won game one, 4-1, before GSU rebounded to take game two, 5-1.
The Dukes ended a string of three straight losses to run their record to 25-24 overall and 11-5 in the CAA. Georgia State improved to 34-14 and 11-5 in the league.
In game two, Georgia State scored in three of the first four innings and jumped out to a 5-0 lead before escaping a couple of jams to hold on for the 5-1 win. McCall Langford earned the win to improve to 9-6 on the season. She held her opponents to one run on eight hits and two walks while striking out one. Erin Collins pitched 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief, giving up one hit and walking two while striking out one.
Freshman right-hander Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C/North Mecklenburg) took the loss for Madison to drop to 8-10. She lasted just 1 1/3 innings, conceding three runs on two hits. The rookie struck out one and walked three. Fellow freshman right-hander Reba DePriest (Apache Junction, Ariz./Skyline) allowed two runs on two hits in 4 2/3 innings of relief. She struck out three and walked five.
Third baseman Callie Alford led the Panthers offensively, collecting two of their four hits. She went 2-for-3 with a home run and five RBIs. Designated player Ashley Christy walked four times and scored twice while catcher Taylor Scarpantonio went 1-for-2 with a walk.
The Dukes were led by senior shortstop Ashley Burnham (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) who went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Sophomore third baseman Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) collected two hits in four at-bats and scored a run while Mooney had two singles in three trips to the plate.
GSU struck for two quick runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab an early lead. After Christy worked a lead-off walk, center fielder Jessica Clifton struck out looking. Alford worked a 2-1 count before launching a two-run home run to left field.
A bases loaded walk in the bottom of the second inning helped extend the Panthers lead to 3-0. They loaded the bases on a walks by Scarpantonio and Christy and a double by second baseman Whitney Phillips before Alford battled DePriest for seven pitches before taking the free pass.
Alford stayed hot in the bottom of the fourth inning, lacing a two-out double to right-center field for two more runs. Scarpantonio led off the inning with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Christina Reed. Christy’s third walk of the game moved the runner up to second before both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch to set up Alford’s blast.
The Dukes got a run back in the sixth inning on a single by Burnham. Sandy led off the frame with a double to left field before scoring on Burnham’s drive up the middle. Madison loaded up the bases in the inning, but Collins got out of the jam by getting a popup and a groundout.
In game one, freshman right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) earned the win with a complete-game effort. She improved to 11-5 on the season by limiting the Panthers to one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out five.
Alana Thomas took the loss to drop to 11-5 on the year. She gave up two unearned runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three. Kaitlyn Medlam gave up two runs on two hits and struck out one in three innings of relief while Erin Collins retired the only batter she faced in 1/3 inning of relief.
Freshman left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) went 2-for-3 with two runs and a RBI to lead the offense. Mooney and Sandy each went 2-for-3 with a RBI while junior first baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) homered in three at-bats.
Alford and right fielder Aubrey Mason each collected two hits to pace the Panther attack. Mason added a run scored while designated player Carrie Williams went 1-for-3 with a double and a RBI.
Heath led off the game with a double to left help spark a two-run top of the first. After Burnham reached on an error, Mooney doubled to left-center to score Heath for a 1-0 lead. Four pitches later, Sandy singled up the middle to make it 2-0.
In the top of the sixth inning, Johnson homered to left field to extend the lead to 3-0. It was the junior’s second home runs this season and the 10th of her career.
Heath added her second career homer with one out in the top of the seventh before Georgia State got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on a double by Williams.
The Dukes and Panthers wrap up their three-game series on Sunday at 12 p.m. at Robert Heck Field.
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