JMU completes sweep of Northeastern

Junior center fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) and sophomore third baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) each had career highs with four hits to pace James Madison’s 20-hit attack in a 16-7 win to complete a Colonial Athletic Association weekend sweep on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

JMU improved to 9-22-1 overall and 4-11 in the CAA after completing its first sweep since the first weekend of March and its first CAA sweep since taking three from Northeastern last May in Brookline.  The Dukes have now won 10 of their last 11 games against the Huskies, who fell to 12-14 overall and 3-9 in the league.

The 20 hits for JMU matched a season high dating back to the fifth game of the season against Bucknell.  The Dukes grabbed the early lead with four runs before the second out of the game and maintained a margin between one and three runs until breaking the game open with a seven-run eighth inning.  That outburst matched a seven-run inning in Friday’s opener for Madison’s biggest inning of the season.

Brown went 4-for-6 with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBIs, which came as JMU’s last three runs in the game on a bases-loaded double in the eighth.  McInturff was 4-for-5 with a double, a steal and three runs scored.

In addition for JMU, senior outfielder Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.  Junior outfielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) and junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) each had two hits with a double and two RBIs.  Freshman shortstop Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) had two hits and three runs scored with a double.  Bladel and junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) each extended active hitting streaks to 14 games.

Senior Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) fought through five innings on the mound to earn his first win of the season (1-3).  He allowed six runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three.  He also supported his own effort on the mound with a two-run home run in the first inning.  Freshman Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) worked two scoreless innings of relief while freshman Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) worked a perfect ninth.

Nick Berger took the loss in his first career start on the mound for the Huskies.  He allowed six runs on nine hits in three innings of work.

Second baseman Jason Vosler was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a home run for the Huskies.  Shortstop Oliver Hart and pinch hitter/first baseman Tucker Roeder each had two hits.  Pete Castoldi hit a solo home run.

Northeastern got things started with a pair of two-out hits in the first.  Designated hitter John Puttress walked with one out and reached second on a wild pitch.  With two outs, catcher Jon Leroux doubled to the gap in left center to score the first run.  Vosler singled to center to plate Leroux and make it 2-0.

JMU answered right back in the bottom of the first with a walk by Goss and a single to left by Brown.  Bladel doubled to the gap in deep left center to score Goss and make it 2-1.  Shaban smashed a liner up the middle for an RBI single to score Brown, though Bladel was thrown out at home on the play.  Scott kept things going with a two-run blast to left center for a 4-2 JMU lead.

Hart led off the NU second with a double to the gap in left center.  He stole third and scored on a one-out infield single by Lyons.

McInturff started a two-out rally in the third with a double to right field.  Carroll followed with a double to left to score McInturff and Hoover added an RBI single through the right side for a 6-3 advantage.

The Huskies took advantage of free bases in the fourth as first baseman Jason Roth walked and Lyons was hit by a pitch.  With both in scoring position, Putress singled through the left side on a one-ball, two-strike pitch to pull NU within a run at 6-5.

Brown singled with one out for the Dukes in the fourth.  He traded places with Bladel on a fielder’s choice, and Bladel scored on a double lined off the wall in right field by Shaban for a 7-5 advantage.

In the fifth, the Dukes added an RBI single by Haynes to score McInturff to make it 8-6.  A single by Goss resulted in runners on second and third but Lyons ran down a deep ball on the warning track in right center to end the inning.

In the eighth, Bladel came in for his first pitching appearance since the opening weekend of the season and pinch hitter Pete Castoldi greeted him with a solo home run to left to make it 9-7.

In the eighth, the Dukes offense broke through to blow open a close game.  Brown led off the JMU eighth with a double down the left field line.  He scored one batter later as Bladel singled up the middle to make it 10-7.  After a walk of Shaban, McInturff reached on an infield single with the fielder misplaying the ball to allow Shaban to score.  A walk loaded the bases and Haynes reached on a slowly-tapped infield single to score a run and make it 12-7.  Goss received a bases loaded walk to bring in a run and Brown cleared the bases with a double to left to make it 16-7.

JMU is on the road on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game at Liberty.


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