HARRISONBURG, Va., March 28, 2013 – After sweeping a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Towson last weekend, the James Madison softball team returns home this Friday to open up a series with Drexel at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Dukes and Dragons play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 3 p.m. before closing the series with a single game beginning at noon on Saturday. Friday’s doubleheader is available as a free video broadcast on MadiZONE with pregame starting at 2:45 p.m.
JMU’s 3-0 start to CAA play last weekend is the first time in the program’s 12-year history that it has won its first three conference games. The Dukes are also off to their best 28-game record in school history at 21-7, besting the 2009 team by one game (20-8).
Madison was paced by its pitching staff last weekend as sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) and freshman left-hander Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) combined to go 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA and a save against Towson. Kiefer earned CAA Pitcher of the Week accolades after shutting out the Tiger attack over 9 1/3 innings pitched. The second-year Duke only allowed two runners to reach base and didn’t allow a single base runner over her final 8 1/3 innings of work.
After starting the year 2-3, Kiefer has won five consecutive decisions to improve to 7-3. She has allowed only one earned run over her last seven appearances, including 31 2/3 innings of work.
Senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) went 5-for-5 last week in steal attempts, bringing her season total up to 21 steals in 22 tries. She is tied for her career-high in steals and is just one shy of tying Chel’sea Ryan’s (2007-11) single-season school record. In addition to her proficiency on the base paths, Butler also became just the third player in school history to record her 200th career hit last week, joining former shortstops Katie George (2004-07) and Ashley Burnham (2009-12).
Junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) became the 21st player in school history to amass 100 hits, doing so with her three hits last weekend against Towson.
Sophomore pitcher/utility Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) has hit eight home runs in her last 13 games, giving her nine on the season. She joins Burnham as the only players in JMU history to hit nine or more home runs in two difference seasons. Mooney already ranks fourth on JMU’s all-time list and is two shy of tying Katie Spitzer (2008-11) for third all-time.
The Dragons are 10-18 overall after sweeping a doubleheader against Bucknell on Wednesday. They dropped three-game series against Delaware last weekend to begin conference play at 0-3.
The Dragons have struggled at the plate this season, batting .229 with three home runs and 87 runs in 28 games. Senior Jenn Reading leads the Dragons in several offensive categories, batting .314 with two home runs, 13 RBIs and 12 walks. Senior Hanna Parrish is hitting .269 on a team-best 25 hits, adding 11 runs scored.
The Dragons featured three different pitchers to open CAA play against Delaware. Freshman Tara Konopka leads the Dragons staff with 13 starts, recording a 6-8 record with a 4.24 ERA and .251 opponent’s batting average. Junior Shelby Taylor is 3-8 with a 5.21 ERA, after giving up six runs and three earned runs to open the weekend against Delaware. Junior Rose Portiolli made her second career start in the series finale against Delaware, pitching six innings, giving up three runs with just one of them earned.
Drexel is led by first year head coach Miranda Ervin.
The Dukes hold a 26-9 advantage all-time against the Dragons. JMU won two of three games in last year’s series at Drexel.
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