JMU loses, eliminates from CAA Tourney contention
Starter Michael Trionfo limited James Madison to two runs in eight innings while left fielder Kurt Wertz homered and drove in four runs as Towson won 8-3 in the opening game of a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Thursday afternoon at John B. Schuerholz Park.
TU improved to 24-29 overall and remained in the CAA tournament hunt with a 13-15 league slate. JMU fell to 16-33-2 overall and was officially eliminated from the tournament picture with a 10-18 CAA mark.
Staked to an early lead thanks to a four-run first inning, Trionfo scattered eight JMU hits over eight innings to improve to 9-3. He allowed two runs and walked two with five strikeouts.
Freshman Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) took the loss to fall to 2-3 after allowing six runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Wertz went 3-for-4 with four RBIs on a single, double and home run. He was joined in Towson’s 13-hit attack by designated hitter Brandon Gonnella, who went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Third baseman Zach Fisher and second baseman Pat Fitzgerald each had two hits.
JMU had six extra-base hits in the game compared to three for Towson, but the Dukes could not piece enough together for any significant rallies.
Junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) singled and homered with a walk. Sophomore third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) doubled twice and walked. Junior center fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) also had two hits with a double. Senior designated hitter Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) hit a solo shot for his team-leading sixth home run of the season.
Scott’s homer came in the first to give JMU the early lead. However, it didn’t last long as the Tigers responded with four in the bottom of the frame. First baseman Brendan Butler’s single with the bases loaded tied the score. A throwing error on a grounder to the pitcher gave the Tigers the lead. Andrew Parker’s sacrifice fly and Ben Winter’s bunt single each brought in runs to make it 4-1.
An RBI double by Wertz scored Butler in the third to make it 5-1 and Gonnella added an RBI single to plate Gonnella in the fourth to make it 6-1.
JMU earned one run in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by McFarland and McInturff.
Towson collected its final two scores in the seventh as Butler walked and Wertz homered down the right field line.
The final run for the Dukes came in the ninth on Shaban’s leadoff solo home run. Madison stranded the bases loaded in the inning for a total of 10 left on base in the game.
Game two of the series will be 3 p.m. Friday.