Davenport gem pushes W&M past JMU

Senior right-hander Matt Davenport allowed just three base runners and retired the final 19 batters faced in a complete-game effort as William and Mary shut out James Madison 5-0 in the opening game of a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series Friday night at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

W&M improved to 13-7 overall and 2-2 in the league while snapping a six-game losing streak in the series against James Madison.  JMU dropped its seventh contest in a row to fall to 5-12-1 overall and 0-4 in the CAA.

Davenport allowed just two hits and hit a batter while facing just two batters over the minimum thanks to a runner caught stealing.  He struck out eight and threw 116 total pitches with 79 for strikes while improving to 4-0 for the season with a 1.03 ERA in 43 2/3 innings.  It was the second shutout of his four-year career.

It was a scoreless game with three combined hits between the two teams until the sixth inning.  Senior right-hander Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) was cruising into the sixth inning until a pair of walks and wild pitches put runners on the corners with one out.  Freshman Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) entered in relief and issued a third walk to load the bases.

With little margin for error thanks to Davenport’s performance, it was a JMU miscue that got the Tribe started.  On a swing and miss, the Dukes got left fielder Tadd Bower caught in a rundown off third base.  However the throw from third to home plate sailed high, allowing two runs to score and the runner from first to advance all the way to third.  After a strikeout, shortstop Ryan Williams singled through the left side for the first hit of the inning and a 3-0 lead with all three runs unearned.

W&M went on to add a run each in the eighth and ninth innings to post the 5-0 victory.  Williams and center fielder Ryan Brown had the only RBI hits as part of a five-hit day for the Tribe, who benefitted from 10 walks issued by JMU pitchers.

Scott limited W&M to just one hit in his 5 1/3 innings of work but toiled through seven walks while striking out six.  He allowed the first two unearned runs in the sixth to be tagged with his third loss of the season.

W&M had the game’s first threat in the top of the third as second baseman Kevin Nutter singled and moved to second on a throwing error on the play.  A wild pitch and a walk put runners on the corners.  Third baseman Ryan Lindemuth sent a hard grounder towards third that sophomore third baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) was able to stab on a dive and narrowly retire the final out at first.

After the missed opportunity in the third, the Tribe finally broke through in the three-run sixth. The Tribe added to the lead in the eighth as Bower singled through the left side, advanced all the way to third on a wild pitch and scored on a deep sacrifice fly to center field by first baseman Michael Katz to make it 4-0. In the ninth, Nutter led off with a walk and came all the way around to just beat the throw at the plate on a double by Brown to make it 5-0.

JMU and W&M will meet for game two in the series Saturday night at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Combined with Wednesday’s 9-0 loss at Liberty, JMU has been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since 2002 with a 4-0 loss to VCU in the CAA championship game and a 5-0 loss to North Carolina to open the Columbia NCAA Regional… the Dukes fell to 0-4 in the CAA for the first time since 1987… the seven-game losing streak for JMU is the longest since dropping 10 in a row early in the 2007 campaign… with complete program records not immediately available, three total hits were the lowest combined total for consecutive games since at least the 1999 season.


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