ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 15, 2015 – The James Madison softball team split a pair of decisions on day two of the UCF Holiday Inn Classic in Orlando, Fla., Saturday. JMU won game one 11-1 in six innings over Illinois-Chicago before losing on a walk-off error in the bottom of the seventh to drop a 3-2 decision to Central Florida in game two.
The Duke ran their record to 3-1 in the tournament and 4-5 overall. UIC dropped to 1-7 with its loss while UCF improved to 6-0 to get off to the best start in program history.
In game two, junior right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) took the loss despite not giving up an earned run. She allowed one unearned run on one hit while striking out one in one inning of work. Sophomore left-hander Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) took a no-decision after giving up two runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. She struck out two and walked one.
MacKenzie Audas picked up the win for the Knights to improve to 4-0. She limited Madison to two runs on seven hits in a complete-game effort. The right-hander struck out six and walked one.
Offensively, the Dukes were paced by freshman right fielder Tahli Moore (Sydney, Australia/Loreto Normanhurst College) going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles while sophomore catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Freshman center fielder Mimi Morris (Kenilworth, Ill./New Trier) added a hit and a run in four at-bats.
Designated player Shelby Turnier paced the UCF offense going 1-for-3 with a triple and a RBI. Shortstop Brittany Solis went 1-for-1 with a walk and a RBI and center fielder Kahley Novak had two hits and a run scored.
JMU opened the scoring in the top of the third inning on a two-run double by Field. Moore started the frame with an infield single. She was erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Morris. After a fly-out, Morris stole second ahead of a walk by Ford. Both runner’s came in to score as Field ripped a double down the line in left field.
The Knights manufactured a run to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth. Catcher Kalyn Cenal started the inning with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. She came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Solis.
A JMU fielding error with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth brought in the tying run before a JMU throwing error in the bottom of the seventh carried UCF to the walk-off win.
In game one of the day, JMU scored six runs in its first two at-bats and took advantage of six errors by UIC on its way to an 11-1 victory.
Kiefer earned her second win in as many days to improve to 2-2. She limited the Flames to one run on seven hits in six innings of work. The right-hander struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Elaine Heflin took the loss for the UIC to fall to 1-3 on the year. She lasted one inning, giving up four runs, two earned, on one hit and four walks with a pair of strikeouts. Alice Fitzpatrick relieved Heflin, giving up seven runs, four earned, on nine hits. The right-hander struck out four and walked none.
The Dukes were paced offensively by Field who went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs. Ford chipped in a double, two runs and two RBIs in four at-bats while Moore went 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
Second baseman Jacki Fletcher paced the Flames’ attack, going 3-for-3 with a run scored. Left fielder Courtney Heeley drove in a run in three at-bats and catcher Erica Hampton tripled in three trips to the plate.
Madison got off to a quick start, scoring four runs in the top of the first. Morris led off the game with a walk. She moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball before scoring on a double to left-center by Ford. Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) also scored on the double by Ford. Sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) reached on an error by the UIC pitcher that scored Ford. She stole second and third and came in to score on a sacrifice fly by freshman left fielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch.
The Dukes added two more runs to the lead in the second as both Sandy and Field came in to score on a throwing error by the Flames’ catcher.
JMU put the game away with five runs in the top of the sixth. The first two runs came in on a dropped fly ball in center field. Field then drove in two with a double to left-center field before freshman pinch hitter Sara Wright (Pulaski, Va./Pulaski County) capped the scoring with her first career hit, a RBI single down the line in left.
The Flames got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI ground-out by Heeley, but they couldn not close the gap further, ending the game after six innings due to the early termination rule.
The Dukes complete play at the UCF Holiday Inn Classic on Sunday with a rematch against Illinois-Chicago at 9:30 a.m.
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