JMU baseball splits doubleheader with Cornell

jmu logoJMU rallied to take the lead three times in the opener with a walkoff double for the 16-15 win before Cornell rebounded to claim a 17-8 triumph in game two of a non-conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

With the split, JMU’s record stands at 8-10 while CU is 6-3 on the season. The series finale on Sunday afternoon has been moved up to an 11 a.m. start in order to try to beat a winter storm warning that begins mid-afternoon.

Game 1 – James Madison 16, Cornell 15

A back-and-forth game came down to the last team batting as sophomore catcher Bobby San Martin (Fairfax, Va./Centreville) hit a one-out, bases-loaded, two-run double deep to left center in the bottom of the ninth to lift James Madison to a 16-15 win over Cornell.

The game featured six lead changes, including every half inning beginning with the bottom of the seventh when JMU plated five runs to take a 12-11 lead. Each team scored twice in their respective turns in the eighth and ninth inning.

With closer Kevin Husum (Panama City, Fla./Bay) taking the mound in the top of the ninth, Cornell got a one-out double from shortstop Tom D’Alessandro. He came around to score with two outs when Chris Cruz hit an inside-the-park home run to right center. With second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) chasing the ball well into the outfield, he was unable to make the catch and the ball trickled all the way to the wall to allow Cruz to score the go-ahead run.

In the JMU ninth, redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East), senior right fielderTyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy) and redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston (Penn Laird, Va./Spotswood) each walked to load the bases with one out.  San Martin then drilled the second pitch he saw to left center for the instant victory.

Husum earned the win while also going 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, triple, two RBIs and three runs. Senior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, hit by pitch, two RBIs and three runs scored. Brown doubled and hit a grand slam for five RBIs. Tenaglia homered, drove in three and walked twice. Weston singled, doubled and walked three times. San Martin, freshman designated hitter Josh Wyatt (Eden, Md./James M. Bennett) and freshman left fielder Ky Parrott (Herndon, Va./Herndon) each had a pair of hits.

Matt Horton took the loss for the Big Red. The sixth through eighth batters comgined for 11 hits and seven RBIs with Ryan Karl going 4-for-5 with two home runs and four runs scored. Spencer Scorza was 3-for-5 with a home run, and second baseman Kevin Tatum was 4-for-4 with three doubles. Cruz was 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Center fielder JD Whetsel and D’Alessandro each had two doubles.

JMU jumped on Cornell starter Brent Jones in the first inning, piecing together four singles, a hit batter and two walks. However, the Dukes were only able to plate two runs as they were twice thrown out at second base with aggressive base running. Tenaglia and Wyatt had RBI singles for the early 2-0 JMU lead.

Cornell responded with a four-hit inning of its own in the second with a two-run home run to left from Scorza to tie the game at 2-2.

The Dukes kept pushing in the second with a shallow fly by Parrott that found a hole for a leadoff double. Following a Husum walk, McFarland sliced one the opposite way into the corner in left to plate both for a 4-2 lead. Tenaglia then blasted his second round tripper of the season to right center to chase Jones and put the Dukes up 6-2.

Cornell mounted a rally in the fourth, as Whetsel’s two-out double made it 6-3. A walk loaded the bases and sparked a pitching change. New pitcher Brandon Withers (Manassas, Va./Osbourn) issued eight straight balls to walk in a pair of runs and make it 6-5.

The Big Red kept pushing in the fifth with a leadoff solo shot to right field from Karl. Back-to-back doubles by Scorza and Tatum gave them a 7-6 lead and forced another JMU pitching change. With one out, Whetsel slapped a singled to center to make it 8-6.

JMU responded in the sixth with doubles by Husum and Brown plating a run to make it 8-7. However, Cornell earned the run back on one swing with a leadoff shot in the seventh by Karl. After a walk by Tatum, Swinford swatted a two-run home run to left to make it 11-7.

Trailing now by four, the Dukes rallied with five in the seventh to take the lead. A single, hit batter and fielding error loaded the bases with one out. Husum beat out a potential double play for a fielder’s choice RBI. McFarland was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, and Brown followed by greeting new pitcher Eric Upton with a first-pitch grand slam belted to left field for a 12-11 lead.

However, the lead was short lived for JMU as Cornell rallied with RBI doubles by Karl and Tatum in the eighth to make it 13-12. But the back-and-forth continued in the eighth as Weston doubled with one out and came in to score when San Martin reached on a fielding error. Husum added an RBI triple to right center to plate San Martin with the go-ahead run at 14-13.

Game 2 – Cornell 17, James Madison 8

Cornell scored 17 runs over the first six innings, including innings of six, four, four and three runs to defeat James Madison 17-8 in the second game of the doubleheader.

The third through fifth spots in the order each had four hits for the Big Red. Scorza hit two home runs to give him three for the day as part of his 4-for-5 afternoon. Cruz was 4-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs while Plantier was also 4-for-6. Karl also smacked his third home run of the doubleheader.

Brown was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a double for JMU. Weston collected a pair of doubles to raise his team-high total to nine. Gregory had two hits with his fourth triple and two RBIs. Senior catcher Nick Merullo (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) hit a three-run home run.

Starter Nick Busto picked up the win for Cornell after allowing eight runs in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts.  Redshirt junior Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) took the loss after allowing six runs to start the game.

Cornell plated six runs on its first six batters of the game as Plantier hit an RBI single after two walks. Cruz followed with a three-run home run to left. Scorza and Karl made it back-to-back-to-back blasts with solo shots to right field for each to make it 6-0.

San Martin walked and Weston hit his eighth double to start the second inning for JMU. Gregory singled to drive in the first run for the Dukes. Merullo then knocked the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for a three-run home run. The Dukes kept the inning going as Husum singled with one out and scored on a two-out double by Brown to make it 6-5.

Hoover held the Big Red in check until the fourth when two singles and a walk loaded the bases. A bases-loaded walk by Karl made it 7-5 and Hall blooped a single to center to make it 9-5, still with no outs.  Cornell added its 10th run on a fielding error with two outs.

The Big Red made it two four-run innings in a row in the fifth with a two-run homer from Scorza and a two-run double by Swinford to make it 14-5. JMU got one in the fifth on Gregory’s RBI triple to left center, his fourth three bagger of the season.

In the sixth, Cornell got RBI hits from Plantier, Karl and Hall to make it 17-6. JMU scored two in the sixth on a balk and an RBI single from Brown.


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