JMU routs Bucknell 37-7 in baseball season opener

James Madison set the early tone with a 15-run first inning and broke the program mark for runs in a game with an opening-day 37-7 victory over Bucknell on Friday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

After a scoreless first for Bucknell, JMU sent 20 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first. The Dukes collected 13 hits, including six home runs, while staking the early 15-0 lead. JMU went on to add runs in each of the first seven innings, including seven-spots in each the third and fourth innings.

The 37 runs established a new JMU record, topping the previous high of 35 set in a 35-3 home win over Wagner on March 4, 2006. The Dukes also set a new standard with 18 extra-base hits (seven doubles, one triple, and 10 home runs) to shatter the previous mark of 13. JMU hit back-to-back-to-back home runs three different times, including twice in the first inning and again in the third. That was part of a total of 10 round trippers in the game, one shy of the JMU record.

JMU was led by its Preseason All-CAA trio of junior catcher Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby), senior shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield), and senior second baseman Trevor Knight (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield).

Lowery and Herbek became the eighth and ninth players in JMU history to hit three home runs in a game as each was a factor in all three back-to-back-to-back jacks. Lowery finished 3-for-3 with three runs and eight RBIs, one shy of the school record. Herbek went 3-for-4 with his three solo blasts. Knight went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, four walks, seven RBIs, and a record-tying six runs scored.

Sophomore first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) went 4-for-6 with a pair of home runs, four runs, and five RBIs. Sophomores Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) and Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) had three hits apiece.

Not to be overshadowed by the gaudy offensive numbers, junior right-hander Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) picked up the win to begin the season 1-0. He struck out a career-high 11 batters while allowing three runs on four hits in five innings.

Freshman Connor Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) hit a two-run home run in his first collegiate at bat and later added a double. Fellow freshman Tyler McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) had an RBI single in his first JMU at bat and finished with two hits while freshman Nick Merullo (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) also posted his first collegiate hit.

Dylan Seeley took the loss for Bucknell after lasting 1/3 of an inning to start the ballgame and allowing eight runs, six earned, on seven hits.

Center fielder Bob Donato led the Bison with three hits. Right fielder Gerry Runyan had a pair of hits and drove in three. Catcher Scott Reed added a solo home run.

In the first inning, senior center fielder Alex Foltz (Mathias, W.Va./East Hardy) singled on the first pitch he saw after missing all of the 2010 season. After a walk, Knight smacked a three-run home run. Lowery and Herbek followed with solo shots for a the quick 5-0 lead. McFarland added his RBI single and then scored when sophomore left fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) reached on an error. After a walk, Lowery smacked his second homer of the inning to start the second back-to-back-to-back sequence of the frame. McFarland added an RBI double and Foltz capped the 15-run spot with an RBI single to stake the Dukes to the early commanding lead.

JMU added a run in the second on a Tenaglia RBI double. A bases-loaded walk in the third was followed by Lowery’s grand slam, an estimated 500-foot blast to right center for the second-ever slam in Veterans Memorial Park. Herbek and Tenaglia again followed with solo shots for a 23-0 lead.

The Dukes added another seven spot in the fourth, Brown’s two-run jack in the sixth, and four more in the seventh to cap the night.

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