JMU 13, ODU 8
James Madison took a commanding early lead with a seven-run third inning and benefitted from 13 walks by Old Dominion pitchers in a 13-8 victory to open a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Friday night at the Bud Metheny Complex.
JMU improved to 10-23-1 overall and won its fourth straight CAA game to improve to 5-11 in the league. ODU fell to 12-22 overall and 3-10 in the conference.
The Dukes broke open an early 8-0 lead with a seven-run third inning, their third inning of as many runs in the last five games. The Monarchs closed to within 9-6 after five innings, but Madison added two in the eighth and two in the ninth to secure the 13-8 win.
The 14-hit attack was led by the fourth through sixth spots in the order and boosted by the return of sophomore first baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby). After missing 23 games with a broken hand, he reached base in all six plate appearances with three singles, three walks, two RBIs and a steal.
In addition to McFarland in the six spot, senior designated hitter Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) singled, doubled, tripled for the first time in his career, drove in a pair of runs and scored a career-high four runs. Sophomore third baseman and cleanup hitter Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) also had three hits with a double and three runs scored.
In addition, junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) and junior right fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) each extended hitting streaks to 16 games.
Sophomore Trent Cundiff (Roanoke, Va./Northside) worked out of a jam in relief in the fifth and worked an inning with no runs charged against him to improve to 4-1. Freshman Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) worked 1 2/3 innings for his second save in JMU’s last three CAA games.
Starter Phil McCarthy took the loss to fall to 0-5 for the Monarchs. He allowed six runs on six walks and just three hits with 2 1/3 innings. He was the first of eight ODU pitchers in the game.
Right fielder Chris Baker had two hits with a double and three RBIs for Old Dominion. Left fielder Josh Eldridge was 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs and two RBIs. Shortstop Josh Wright was also 2-for-4.
JMU took the lead on an RBI groundout by freshman shortstop Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) in the second before breaking things open with the seven-run outburst in the third.
A bases-loaded single by McFarland started the outbreak. Junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) walked with the bases loaded to force a pitching change. With two outs, junior outfielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) singled in a pair of runs to make it 5-0. Goss added another two-run single to make it 7-0 and completed the uprising when he scored on a wild pitch.
A two-run double by Baker put the Monarchs on the board in the third.
JMU went ahead 9-2 with an RBI single by Bladel in the fifth before the Monarchs climbed back with a four-run fifth, started by a two-run triple by Eldridge. Baker added an RBI single and another hit chased JMU freshman starter Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep). Cundiff entered and allowed an RBI single before ending the jam.
The Dukes scored twice in the eighth with a Scott RBI double and a McFarland RBI single.
ODU posted an RBI triple by Michael Perez in the eighth and an RBI groundout by Shawn Sizemore to bring Huffman into the game. He recorded the final two outs of the eighth and worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save. Meanwhile, JMU added insurance runs in the ninth with an RBI triple by Scott, who later scored on a passed ball.
Game two of the series will be Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.