JMU baseball rips UNC Wilmington, 17-5
James Madison took advantage of 10 walks from UNCW pitchers and broke a 2-2 tie with seven runs in the fourth and five in the fifth en route to a 17-5 win in the opener of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series on Friday evening at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU won its ninth straight game to improve to 11-6 overall while remaining in first place in the CAA at 4-0. The Dukes reached 10 runs scored for the eighth time in the nine-game run with an average of 11.8 runs per game over that stretch. UNCW dropped to 11-7 overall and 0-1 in the CAA.
Freshman catcher Bobby San Martin’s (Fairfax, Va./Centreville) bases-loaded single to left broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth and scored two. That opened the floodgates for a seven-run inning, which was capped by a bases-clearing triple on a high fly by redshirt junior Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East).
UNCW wildness in the fifth added to the lead as six walks helped the Dukes tack on three runs before sophomore Chad Carroll’s (Oakton, Va./Oakton) two-run single made it 14-2. Madison added three runs in the seven on Conner Brown’s (Richmond, Va./Godwin) three-run home run to right center.
Tenaglia finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Carroll also drove in four with two hits while senior center fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and four runs scored while junior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) added three runs, two RBIs
Sophomore right-hander Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) earned the win after allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings. Mat Batts took his first loss of the year after allowing eight runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Second baseman Michael Bass reached in all five plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch.
UNCW quickly manufactured a run in business-like fashion in the first with a leadoff single by Bass. He stole second then moved around the bases on a pair of groundouts, the latter a RBI grounder to second by Hunter Ridge.
JMU responded in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double off the wall in right center by Bladel. With two outs, he moved to third on an infield single by Tenaglia. Both runners came around to score on a triple to left that landed in front of a diving Luke Dunlap.
In the second, UNCW had two outs and a runner on third when Toohers had trouble finding the strike zone. Three consecutive walks, the last by Bass, brought in the tying run for the Seahawks to make it 2-2.
After cruising through two innings, Batts ran into some trouble in the fourth. With one out and Tenaglia on first, Batts hit senior right fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) and walked sophomore shortstop Tyler Duke (Troutville, Va./James River) on five pitches to load the bases. On a two-ball, two-strike pitch, San Martin singled safely to left to drive in Tenaglia and McInturff, staking the Dukes to a 4-2 lead. Bladel then drove a full-count pitch to center to plate Duke and make it 5-2. On a 1-2 pitch, McFarland looped a single over the second baseman for another run and a 6-2 advantage. After a pitching change and a walk to load the bases, Tenaglia lifted a high sky ball to right field that the right fielder never picked up. The second baseman was unable to make the over-the-shoulder catch as Tenaglia cleared the bases with a triple for a 9-2 JMU lead, completing a seven-run inning.
After an out to begin the fifth by new UNCW pitcher Ryan Mayhew, he issued four consecutive walks to bring in the 10th JMU run. After a pitching change, Ryan Foster made it five straight walks issued for an 11-2 score. Following a strikeout, a sixth walk in the inning made it 12-2. Carroll then greeted the next pitch with a single through the left side for the first hit of the inning, a two-run grounder for a14-2 lead.
JMU picked up three more runs in the seventh on its first home run of the game, a three-run shot to right center field by Brown, his first round tripper of the season.
UNCW picked up a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly and one in the eighth on a solo home run by Corey Dick. The final run scored in the ninth on an RBI double by Ridge.
Game two of the series will be Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m.