JMU baseball defeats Longwood in extras

jmu logoThree pitchers combined to limit Longwood to five hits and JMU plated two unearned runs in the 10th inning to pull out a 6-4 win in a non-conference baseball game on Wednesday evening at Bolding Stadium.

JMU won its second game in a row to improve to 16-20 overall.  The Dukes wrapped up a six-game road swing by improving to 4-11 on the road.  They also won for just the second time in 20 tries when tied or trailing after six innings of play with the first such victory one night earlier at Radford.  LU fell to 17-21.

The game was tied 3-3 after JMU scored twice in the sixth and 4-4 after each team scored in the eighth.  After a scoreless ninth, the Dukes broke on top in the 10th with a two-out rally.

Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) singled and moved to third when redshirt freshman catcher Chris Hanson (Fairfax, Va./Oakton) evaded the third out by reaching on an error.  Tenaglia then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and senior Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) followed with an RBI single for the 6-4 lead.

JMU turned to closer Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) in the bottom of the 10th.  Longwood got a leadoff single with two groundouts advancing the runner to third.  A walk brought the potential winning run to the plate, but Huffman was able to retire the final batter on a flyout.

Freshman J.T. Root (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) picked up his first collegiate victory with four stellar innings of relief.  The right-hander allowed one run on one hit with three strikeouts while seeing that the game extend into extra innings.  Huffman picked up his second save in as many nights and sixth overall this season.  He moved into fifth on the JMU season saves list and sixth on the career saves list with eight. Redshirt sophomore Luke Drayer (Hummelstown, Pa./Hershey) allowed three runs on just three hits in five innings as the starter.

Travis Burnette took the loss as the sixth pitcher in the game for the Lancers.  He fell to 3-6 after surrendering the two unearned runs on two hits in the 10th.  The LU loss came after starter Tyler Wislocki held JMU to one run on three hits in three innings and reliever Dylan Caruso kept the Dukes hitless the next two innings.

Bladel had his second two-hit game in as many nights with an RBI, hit by pitch and a walk to reach base in four of six plate appearances.  Sophomore left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) singled, doubled and scored a run.  One night after his heroics at Radford, senior outfielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) was 1-for-2 with a run scored and three walks.

The Lancers had just nine total base runners in the game on five hits and a walk.  Left fielder Kyri Washington had a two-run home run.  Center fielder Colton Konvicka singled, scored a run, drove in a run and walked twice.

Longwood scored in the first without a hit as Konvicka walked, stole a pair of bases and scored on second baseman Matt Dickason’s RBI groundout.

In the second, junior Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) led off with a single and moved to third on a single by senior outfielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield).  Brown scored one batter later as junior third baseman Ty McFarland(Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) lifted a sacrifice fly to left field.

Washington’s two-run shot to left put the Lancers back in front in the fourth.  However, JMU had a response in the sixth.  The Dukes loaded the bases with one out and Brown was hit by a pitch to drive in a run.  McInturff’s sacrifice fly then tied the score at 3-3.

Madison briefly took the lead in the eighth when Longwood attempted a double play with two on with the throw to first getting away to allow Roberts to score.  The Lancers responded, though, with a leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt and a tying RBI single by Konvicka.

The Dukes had a chance to push ahead in the ninth but left the bases loaded for three of their 11 runners left on base for the game.  Longwood had just four left on for the game.

JMU returns home for the first time in two weeks to host Georgia State in an important three-game Colonial Athletic Association series.  Friday and Saturday will be 6:30 p.m. start times followed by a 1 p.m. finale on Sunday.

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