JMU wins fifth straight in CAA
Freshman shortstop Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) tied the game with a two-run single in the ninth and James Madison scored twice in the 10th inning before holding on to defeat Old Dominion 7-6 in game two of a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Saturday afternoon at the Bud Metheny Complex.
JMU won its fifth straight CAA game to improve to 11-23-1 overall and 6-11 in the league. ODU fell to 12-23 overall and 3-11 in conference play.
The Dukes trailed 4-2 after five innings and 5-3 going into the ninth. With one out, junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) reached on an error and junior outfielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) doubled to the corner in right field. Carroll stepped to the plate and singled to left field with Roberts sliding in safely just ahead of the catcher’s tag.
After ODU couldn’t cash in on a pair of walks in the bottom of the ninth, JMU put its first two runners on with a walk and an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by senior Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall). Sophomore first baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) sacrificed both runners into scoring position. After a walk loaded the bases, Shaban hit a slow bouncer to second and beat the double-play relay throw at first for the RBI fielder’s choice. Roberts added an important insurance run with a single to right to make it 7-5.
In the home half of the 10th, shortstop Josh Wright led off by reaching on an error. A single with a misplay in center field put runners on second and third with one out. An intentional walk loaded the bases and set up the force play at home. Brent Frazier lined out into a sacrifice fly to make it a one-run ballgame, but freshman Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) induced a grounder to second to end the game.
Huffman followed a save in Friday’s game with the win in Saturday’s contest with two innings pitched and one unearned run allowed on one hit.
Reliever Dean Ali took the loss for Old Dominion after allowing the two unearned runs in the 10th with Roberts’ single being the only hit against him in 1 1/3 innings. ODU starter Ben Tomchick limited JMU to two runs, one earned, on four hits with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Offensively, sophomore third baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) and Carroll each had two hits and two RBIs for the Dukes. Roberts also had two hits as the trio accounted for six of the team’s eight base knocks. Junior right fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) also doubled, walked three times and scored three runs. Bladel and junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) each extended hitting streaks to 17 games.
ODU packed in its production at the top of the order with the first four batters combining for eight of the nine hits. Designated hitter Josh Tutwiler had two home runs, a solo shot and a two-run blast, to lead the way. Left fielder Josh Eldridge and right fielder Chris Baker each had two hits and an RBI. Wright had two hits and scored twice.
The early innings of the game were played in back-and-forth fashion with ODU striking first on an RBI double by Eldridge in the first inning.
JMU mounted a two-out rally in the third as Carroll and Goss reached on consecutive singles and Carroll scored on a passed ball to tie it.
The Monarchs reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning on the first of Tutwiler’s round trippers, but JMU responded to tie it on consecutive doubles by Bladel and Brown.
ODU went in front again on a Tutwiler blast, this time a two-run shot to right in the fifth. The Dukes made it a one-run game briefly in the eighth on an RBI single by Brown, but the Monarchs reclaimed the two-run advantage on a fielder’s choice grounder by Baker to set up the 5-3 lead heading into Carroll’s tying single in the ninth.
Game three of the series will be Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. The Dukes will try for their first road sweep since last May at Northeastern, their first sweep of the Monarchs since 2003 and their first three-game road sweep at ODU in program history.