JMU rips Hofstra in series opener
Freshman right-hander Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) was staked to an early 9-0 lead and worked a career-high eight innings on the mound to lead James Madison to a 13-2 win over Hofstra in the opener of a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Friday afternoon at University Field.
JMU improved to 12-25-1 overall and 7-12 in the CAA with its sixth win it the last seven league games. HU dropped to 20-16 overall and 10-6 in the league.
Toohers worked the best outing of his young career, going eight innings, and limited the top offense in the CAA to one run on seven hits. He struck out two and issued one walk with 106 pitches delivered. He previously had worked as many as six innings on three occasions.
The Dukes provided Toohers all the support he needed in the early innings. They scored three runs before the second out of the game as part of a four-run first inning. JMU then added two in the second and three in the third for a 9-0 advantage before Hofstra’s third turn at bat. The Dukes added three more in the sixth and one in the eighth en route to the 13-2 win.
Offensively, JMU pounded out 18 hits for its third-best total of the season and received eight walks as well as three hit batters. Freshman shortstop Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) posted the first four-hit game of his career with two RBIs. Senior designated hitter Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) drove in four runs on two hits, including his third home run of the season, a three-run shot in the third.
Additionally for the Dukes, junior center fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) drove in three runs on two hits and walked twice. Junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) extended his hitting streak to 20 games with his team-best 17th multiple-hit game of the season. Sophomore third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) and junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) had two hits apiece. Freshman first baseman Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) drove in three runs on one hit and a trio of hit by pitches.
Jared Rogers took the loss for Hofstra after lasting just one out as the starter and allowing four runs on five hits and a walk. He was the first of seven Pride pitchers in the game.
Right fielder Danny Poma was the lone Pride player with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Dukes got off to a hot start out of the gate with five singles, all up the middle, to chase starter Rogers. After a leadoff out, singles by junior outfielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) and McFarland were followed by a Scott RBI single for the first run. After a walk to load the bases, McInturff delivered a two-run single and Carroll singled to reload the bases and chase Rogers from the game with just one retired. Hoover was hit by a pitch with a three-ball, one-strike count to force in the fourth run of the inning.
The second inning started fairly quietly for the Dukes with a runner on first and two outs. However, consecutive walks of junior outfielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) and McInturff loaded the bases and Carroll came through with his second single in as many innings to score a pair for a 6-0 advantage.
In the third inning, the Dukes again faced one runner on base with two outs. With first base open, McFarland, who was already 2-for-2, received a four-pitch walk. Scott then delivered a three-run home run to left to stake JMU to a 9-0 lead.
Roberts and McInturff hit back-to-back doubles to begin the sixth inning and score the 10th JMU run. Shaban reached on an error with an RBI and Hoover reached on a fielder’s choice for another RBI to make it 12-1. The final run for the Dukes came on Hoover’s double in the eighth.
Hofstra’s runs came on Poma’s RBI single in the third and an RBI groundout by Kevin Flynn in the ninth off JMU reliever Tyler Thornton (Merrick, N.Y./Calhoun).
The eight-inning effort by Toohers provides a lift to the JMU pitching staff, which now faces an 11 a.m. doubleheader on Saturday thanks to forecasted rain on Sunday.