Eight-run eighth pushes JMU over George Washington

jmu logoSenior right fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) and junior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va/Godwin) combined for nine RBIs, including three apiece as part of an eight-run eighth inning, as James Madison pulled away from George Washington for a 14-5 non-conference baseball win on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

JMU won the weekend home-and-away series two games to one to improve to 20-23 for the season.  GW fell to 16-28.

The game was tied 5-5 after six innings when sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) led off with a drive to center field for his eighth triple of the season to tie the JMU season record.  He scored one out later on a single by McInturff to make it 6-5.

That lead stood in the eighth when the Dukes sent 12 batters to the plate, scoring eight runs on seven hits, including one stretch of seven consecutive JMU batters reaching base.  Brown started the outburst with a one-out solo home run and capped the scoring with a two-run single.  In between, McInturff blew open a 7-5 game with a bases-loaded triple to make it 10-5.

McInturff finished the afternoon 3-for-4 with a walk, five RBIs and two runs scored.  Brown was 3-for-6 with four RBIs, including his team-leading sixth homer of the season.  Altogether, four Dukes had three-hit games as part of the 17-hit performance by Madison.  Carroll was 3-for-4 with a double and his nation-leading eighth triple, tying the school season record held by Jake Lowery (2011) and Phil Fritz (1984) while also extending a hitting streak to 16 games.  Senior right fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) also had three hits with three runs scored.  Junior first baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) was 2-for-4 with two walks and two RBIs.

Junior right-hander Trent Cundiff (Roanoke, Va./Northside) was strong in relief, allowing one hit in 2 2/3 innings to improve to 2-2.  Senior Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) started and allowed all five runs, two earned, with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.  Freshman J.T. Root (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) struck out two in the ninth.

Danny O’Donnell allowed the go-ahead run in the seventh to take the loss as the fifth of seven GW pitchersw.  He was tagged for three of the JMU runs on three hits in one inning.  First baseman Derek Brown and third baseman Eric Kalman were each 2-for-4 with Kalman driving in a run and scoring twice.

Bladel got the offense started in the third with a one-out walk.  He stole second, the first of six by JMU on the day, and scored when McFarland’s grounder scooted past the diving second baseman for an RBI single, JMU’s first hit of the game.

In the fourth, Roberts led off with a single to right center and stole second base.  After advancing to third on a groundout, he scored on a two-out single by McInturff to make it 2-0.  The Dukes kept the inning going with a Bradley Shaban(Midlothian, Va./Cosby) single and a walk to load the bases.

The Colonials took advantage of a trio of JMU miscues to get on the board in the fifth with two unearned runs.  Two singles started the inning and an errant throw on a high hopper to the pitcher loaded the bases with one out.  Shaban snared a grounder to third and tried to retire the lead out at the plate but saw his throw get away for an error, which allowed a second runner to also come around to score.

JMU responded in the bottom of the inning as Roberts singled with one out followed by a steal of second with the throw getting away to allow him to reach third.  Carroll then hit a high bouncer just over the first baseman for a RBI double to make it 4-2.

In the sixth, a walk and single put two on in front of Kalman’s RBI single to center.  After the first out, Robert followed with an RBI single to knot the score at 4-4.  Both runners moved up a base to second and third after a misplay in right field.  That proved key as, after a strikeout, GW took the lead on a wild pitch.

JMU put its first two batters on in the sixth with a hit batter and a single.  A double play pushed the lead runner to third.  After a four-pitch walk, Shaban came in to score on an RBI double by Brown to make it 5-5.

Madison added to the lead in the eighth as Brown tagged a no-doubt solo shot to left field with one out for his team-leading sixth homer of the season.  The Dukes kept the inning going, loading the bases with one out on two singles and a walk.  McInturff then unloaded the bases, finding the open gap in right field for a three-run triple to make it 10-5.  Duke followed with an RBI double into the corner in left to make it 11-5 and McFarland hit an RBI double to left center for a 12-5 lead. Brown added a two-run single for the seventh and eighth runs of the inning.

JMU will break for semester exams and graduation exercises before resuming the season with a pair of 6 p.m. midweek games at North Carolina May 7-8.


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