JMU baseball opens CAA play with doubleheader sweep of Hofstra

jmu logoJunior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in game one and the Dukes pounded out 18 hits in game two as the James Madison baseball team earned a doubleheader sweep over Hofstra at Veterans Memorial Park, Saturday. JMU won its Colonial Athletic Association opener 12-11, before taking game two, 18-13.

JMU ran its winning streak to six games and improved to 8-6 overall and 2-0 in CAA play. Hofstra dropped to 3-10 overall and 0-2 in the league.

In game two, Madison scored multiple runs in five different innings, including a six-run outburst in the fifth to run away with the win.

Sophomore left-hander Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) earned the win for the Dukes to improve to 1-0. He tossed four innings of shutout relief, allowing just two hits and striking out two. Sophomore right-hander Ben Garner (Burke, Va./Paul VI) took a no-decision in the start. He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Freshman J.T. Root (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) closed the game out with an inning of shutout relief. He struck out two.

John Tiedemann took the loss for the Pride, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings of work. The righty dropped to 0-4. Nick Kozlowski gave up five runs, but just one earned in 2/3 innings of relief while Gregg Sarra came in to give up 4 runs, three earned, in 1 2/3 innings. Everett Keller pitched the final two innings and ceded four runs on four hits.

Offensively, McFarland paced the Dukes with five hits, three RBIs and two runs in six trips to the plate. Redshirt junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) drove in six runs, going 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored while freshman catcher Bobby San Martin (Fairfax, Va./Centreville) finished 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and three runs.

Left fielder Kenny Jackson finished the game 3-for-3 with a double and a RBI and third baseman Robbie Cafiero added two hits, including a double, and a run scored. Second baseman Austin Nyman singled and walked twice in four trips to the plate.

Sophomore shortstop Tyler Duke (Troutville, Va./James River) opened the scoring with a solo home run to lead off the third. It was the first career home run for the second-year Duke. JMU scored twice more in the frame as senior center fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) and McFarland came in to score on a triple by senior second baseman Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby).

The Dukes scored two more in the fourth as they loaded the bases on a double by Duke, a hit-by-pitch by Bladel and an infield single by McFarland. Both Duke and Bladel came in to score as Tenaglia lofted a long fly ball to deep left-center field for a sacrifice fly.

Hofstra came back to score three runs in the top of the fifth as it loaded the bases on singles by Cafiero and catcher Matt Reistetter sandwiched around a walk by Nyman. Designated hitter Bryan Verbitsky drew a four-pitch walk to force in the first run and run Garner out of the game. Hoover limited the damage to just two more runs and Madison left the inning leading 5-3.

JMU broke the game open with a six-run fifth inning. The inning included three errors by the Pride and was highlighted by a two-run double to right-center field by San Martin.

The Dukes scored three more times in the sixth inning and four times in the eighth to reach its final margin.

In the day’s opening game, Hofstra rebounded from a 10-3 deficit after the sixth inning. It scored eight straight runs to head into the bottom of the ninth leading 11-10, but the Dukes scored twice in the ninth for the walk-off win.

Sophomore right-hander Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) picked up the win to improve to 1-1 on the year. He gave up three runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief. Sophomore pitcher Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) drew the start and picked up the no-decision. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in five innings of work. Freshman right-hander Michael Church (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) ceded five runs, three earned, on six hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Verbitsky took the loss for Hofstra to drop to 0-1. He gave up two runs on two hits in 2/3 innings of relief. Joe Burg started and allowed six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. Brett Schreiber was in line for the win after tossing two shutout innings of relief, but ultimately finished with a no-decision.

Tenaglia had two doubles, three runs and two RBIs to pace the JMU offense and senior outfielder Cole McInturff(Centreville, Va./Westfield) finished 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and a run scored. Bladel completed the game with three hits, a walk and two runs scored.

Right fielder Chris Nardo led the Pride with a 4-for-6 showing, adding two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Verbitsky and center fielder Taylor Stuart each homered and combined for five RBIs and four runs scored.

Entering the bottom of the ninth trailing by one, JMU got off to a solid start with a lead-off single to center by McInturff. Junior pinch hitter Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy (Wallace C.C.)) executed a perfect hit and run, lining a double down the left-field line and allowing McInturff to race around the bases with the tying run. After a ground-out by San Martin moved the winning run to third, McFarland powered a fly ball to deep center field and Gregory trotted home easily with the winning run.

Scoring started early in the game with HU scoring once in the top of the first before JMU responded with a three run bottom half of the inning. The Dukes loaded the bases with one out on a single and a pair of hit-by-pitches before left fielder Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) pulled a bases-clearing double down the left-field line.

Senior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale (Jefferson College)) supplied a run in the third inning with a RBI single to extend the lead to 4-1.

The Pride reduced the lead to one with a two-run home run by Verbitsky in the fifth. Reistetter scored on the blast after singling and stealing second.

Madison pushed the lead up to 10-3 with two runs in the fifth and four in the sixth.

Hofstra scored eight runs over its final three at-bats, including a five run seventh inning to get them back in the game. Stuart added a two-run home run on a full count with two outs in the top of the eighth to tie the game before Cafiero lined a two-out single up the middle in the ninth to give his team the lead.

JMU and Hofstra close out their three-game CAA series on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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