ATHENS, Ga., Feb. 8, 2014 – The James Madison softball team put its first victory on the board for the 2014 season on Saturday, defeating Winthrop 1-0 as part of a split of a doubleheader split at Jack Turner Stadium in Athens, Ga. JMU fell to No. 23/21 Georgia, 8-2, in the day’s other action.
The Dukes are now 1-3 on the season and in the Red and Black Showcase. Winthrop’s record fell to 1-2 while UGA improved to 4-0 this season.
Madison was done in by four errors, leading to three unearned runs in the day’s second game. Junior right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) suffered her second loss of the season, falling to 0-2. She allowed seven runs, four earned, on five hits in 2 2/3 innings. The two-time All-CAA selection struck out two and walked two. Freshman Kelly Wishard (Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough) pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief. She allowed one run on two hits and three walks with one strikeout.
Chelsea Wilkinson earned the start for Georgia and picked up the win to improve to 3-0. She held the Dukes scoreless and without a hit in four innings of work. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one. Bekah Farris pitched the final three innings. She gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
Senior first baseman Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough) paced the offensive attack, going 1-for-3 with a double and a RBI. Freshman left fielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) went 1-for-3 with a RBI while sophomore designated player Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) went 1-for-3 with a single.
Third baseman Alex Hugo powered the UGA offense, going 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run and three RBIs. First baseman Geri Ann Glasco walked twice and double in two official at-bats and designated player Tina Iosefa was 1-for-3 with a double and a RBI.
Iosefa helped spark the scoring in the bottom of the second, leading off the inning with a double to right. Pinch runner Katie Sowers moved to third on a passed ball and came in to score on a sacrifice fly to right by catcher Katie Browne. Kiefer recorded the second out of the inning on a fielder’s choice, but could not end the inning as Hugo smacked a three-run homer to left field for a 4-0 Bulldog lead.
UGA added three more runs to the lead in the bottom of the third on three JMU errors to push the advantage to 7-0.
The Dukes got a run back in the top of the fifth with Clayton broke up the no-hit bid with a double to right field, scoring freshman right fielder Tahli Moore (Sydney, Australia/Loreto Normanhurst College). In the sixth inning, it was Newton singling to drive in freshman catcher Casie Hill (Buchanan, Va./James River) who had reached earlier in the inning on an error.
Georgia completed the margin of victory with a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Iosefa.
In the day’s first game, Ford tossed her 10th career shutout and her first of the season in leading Madison to a 1-0 win over Winthrop. Ford limited the Eagles to three hits and struck out eight while not walking a batter in seven innings of work. She improved to 1-1 on the season.
Six players recorded hits for the Dukes led by Newton who went 1-for-3 with a double. Moore went 1-for-3 with a RBI while sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) went 1-for-2 with a walk.
Two players recorded hits for the Winthrop led by left fielder McKenzi Corn going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Shortstop Naomi Stevens recorded the only other hit of the day for the Eagles, smacking a triple in two at-bats.
The lone run of the game came in the top of the fourth inning. Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) reached on a one-out error. Freshman pinch runner Caitlin Viafora (Stanley, Va./Page County) stole second and came in to score on a two-out single to right field by Moore.
Winthrop only put a runner in scoring position three times, including their most dangerous threat in the top of the first. Stevens hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the first. Ford worked out of trouble by getting Corn and right fielder Mel Andrea to strikeout.
The Dukes conclude their trip to Georgia on Sunday with a rematch against the Bulldogs. JMU and Georgia square off at 12:30 p.m. from Jack Turner Stadium.
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