HARRISONBURG, Va., May 5, 2012 – James Madison twice rallied from extra-inning deficits before walking off with a win in the bottom of the 11th inning to earn a 7-6 win and complete a series sweep over Towson on Senior Day at Veteran Memorial Park on Saturday.
JMU won its fourth straight game to improve to 29-24 and 15-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association. It finished as the second seed heading into next week’s CAA Championship which is the highest finish by the team since finishing tied for first in 2007. TU was eliminated from contention in next week’s tournament and finishes the season with a 25-30 record and a 8-13 mark in the league.
Junior right-hander Cara Stecher (New Castle, Del./Caravel Academy) earned the win for JMU to improve to 3-1. She allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Freshman righty Reba DePriest (Apache Junction, Ariz./Skyline) drew the start for the Dukes and went the first 9 1/3 innings. She gave up six runs, four of which were earned, on five hits and five walks while striking out three.
Katie Lingmai took the loss for Towson to drop to 13-14 on the season. She gave up seven runs, five earned, on 10 hits and five walks while striking out 10 in 10 1/3 innings of work.
Offensively, Madison was paced by junior catcher Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) who went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. Freshman left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) went 4-for-6 with a double and a run scored while sophomore shortstop Lindsey Tomasz (Newburyport, Mass./Newburyport) walked three times and scored twice.
TU shortstop Hailey Balk went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs to lead the Tiger attack. Right fielder Brianna Jones added two hits, a home run, a run and a RBI in four trips to the plate while left fielder Kelli Lyons went 1-for-4 with a home run.
JMU got the scoring started with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Tomasz got things rolling with a two-out walk. She stole second and scored on a single to center by junior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange). Butler followed with her 21st steal of the season, tying her with Chel’sea Ryan (2007-11) for the single-season school record for thefts, but got stranded there to end the threat.
Towson came back to tie the score with a big two-out hit of its own in the top of the third. After two quick outs, Lyons turned on a 2-0 offering and deposited it over the left-field fence for a home run.
The Tigers scored two unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. They loaded the bases on an error, an infield single and a walk before designated player Lindsey Kent battled DePriest for a seven-pitch walk to drive in a run. Third baseman Delanie Dunham’s popup in the ensuing at-bat landed between a trio of Madison defenders to score another run, but the Dukes were able to throw to third to get the force out on the play and avoid further trouble.
JMU pulled within a run in the bottom half of the inning on Shinaberry’s fourth home run of the season. The junior worked a 3-1 count before driving Lingmai’s next offering out over the fence in left. Tomasz followed with her second walk of the game and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and tied the game on a Towson fielding error.
TU grabbed the 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth inning on a solo home run by Jones. It was the senior’s fifth home run of the season.
The Dukes tied the score in the bottom half of the inning on a single by Butler. Shinaberry led off the inning with a double down the right-field line. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt to set up the single into shallow left by the junior center fielder.
Towson loaded the bases in the top of the 10th inning on three walks before Balk delivered a two-run single to right field to put her team ahead. Madison responded with a pair of sacrifice flies in the bottom half of the inning to send the game to the 11th. Junior first baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) hit the first sacrifice fly to tie the school record for a career at eight.
After coming back from two extra inning deficits, Madison walked off with the win in the 11th. The Dukes put a pair of runners on with back-to-back singles by sophomore right fielder Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough) and Heath. Sandy followed with a sharp ground ball to second, but TU second baseman Haley Stueckler’s throw eluded the shortstop, allowing freshman pinch runner Haley Widner (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Ready) to slide home with the winning run.
JMU returns to action next week as it travels up to Hempstead, N.Y., for the CAA Championship. The second-seeded Dukes take on third-seeded Georgia State on Wednesday in the opening round of the double elimination tournament.
# # #