Longwood outlasts Dukes

James Madison committed a season-high six errors and Longwood used a fielder’s choice ground ball in the 11th inning to pull out a 9-8 win in a non-conference baseball game Tuesday afternoon at Bolding Stadium.

Longwood improved to 19-10 while JMU fell to 18-8.

JMU entered the game leading the Colonial Athletic Association with a .976 fielding percentage. However, the Dukes matched their season-high for errors with three in the first inning. The team’s exchanged leads four times in the game before JMU tied it at 8-8 in the eighth to send it to extra innings.

In the 11th, the final JMU error came back to bite the Dukes. Two Lancers went down in order before a grounder to shortstop resulted in a high throw to extend the inning. That was followed by a pair of walks to load the bases. Second baseman Brant Jones then bounced a sharp grounder to third with freshman Tyler McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) making a lunging stop. He stepped on third base but field umpire John Thomas ruled that shortstop Matt Dickason slid in safely, allowing the winning run to score.

Matt Gwaltney earned the win in relief for Longwood after allowing one hit in the final three innings to improve to 4-3. Mark Montgomery blew the save in the eighth for the Lancers with one run allowed after having not allowed a run and just seven hits in his 18 innings of work this season.

Sophomore Nick Slogik (Strongsville, Ohio/St. Edward) took the loss for the Dukes. He allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits in the final 4 2/3 innings. JMU used four pitchers in the game while issuing 10 walks. The first four walks each came around to score while the last two contributed to loading the bases for the game-winning run.

Senior shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) drove in five runs for the Dukes while going 3-for-5 with his 10th double. Junior catcher Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) walked four times and hit his national-leading 12th home run of the season. Sophomore designated hitter Billy Logan (Greenup, Ky./Greenup County) had two hits with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored.

Center fielder Chris Briere was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run for the Lancers and three runs scored. Left fielder Michael Sims and catcher Scott Burkett each had two hits with a run, walk and RBI.

Lowery put the Dukes on the board quickly in the first inning as he nailed the first pitch he saw to center for a solo home run, his 12th of the season.

Longwood answered in the first as JMU committed three errors in the inning, matching its season high for miscues in a game. Dickason walked and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. The first error put runners on the corners. Burkett then sent a bouncer to shortstop for a difficult double-play chance. The Dukes got the out at second but the hurried throw to first sailed high for an error with the run scoring from third. An error by freshman starting pitcher Luke Munson (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) on a tapper back to the mound put runners on the corners again, but a strikeout ended the frame with a 1-1 tie.

The Lancers came back again in the second with a leadoff walk coming around to score for the second straight inning. First baseman Robby Newman walked and after a strikeout, Briere hit a ball up the middle that just glanced off the diving glove of Shaban. Another single by Dickason drove in a run to make it 2-1 before a double play ended the inning.

JMU loaded the bases with one out in the third on an error and a pair of walks, but Longwood pitcher Troy Dickman, making his first start of the season, came back with a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Longwood started its third straight inning with a leadoff walk and a single put runners on the corners. A double-play groundout brought in the third Longwood run.

Longwood made it four straight walked batters coming around to score in the fourth. Briere drew a one-out free pass and was sacrificed to second. Sims then singled to left to drive in the fourth run.

In the fifth, junior center fielder Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) floated a single over the shortstop with one out. He stole a pair of bases and Lowery drew a full-count walk. Herbek then doubled to the corner in left to drive in both runners and move into the top 10 in career doubles at JMU with 52.

In the sixth, JMU loaded the bases with one out on a single by Logan, a hit batter, and a walk. After a strikeout, Herbek singled through the right side for his third and fourth RBIs of the game to put the Dukes ahead 5-4.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Sims walked and Burkett singled. Designated hitter Justin Lacy then laced a double to the gap in left center to score both for a 6-5 advantage.

Sophomore first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) led off the JMU seventh with a single. He advanced on a sacrifice bunt by McFarland and came around to tie the game on the first career triple by Logan to the gap in left center. Sophomore right fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) lifted a fly ball to left for a sacrifice fly to reclaim the lead at 7-6.

The lead exchanged again as Briere smacked a two-run home run in the seventh following a single by Newman.

Longwood turned to closer Montgomery in the eighth. Lowery drew a one-out walk and used a delayed steal to move to second. Herbek lofted a soft single into left field to score Lowery for the first run of the season allowed by Montgomery.

After two outs in the ninth, JMU got a walk and a single to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. However, a lined bunt back to the pitcher ended the inning. Longwood got a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth and a sacrifice bunt to push the runner to second. A dribbler to third could have ended the inning but McFarland bobbled it for the fifth JMU error. However, Slogik recovered to get another groundout and send it to extra innings, where Longwood pulled out the win in 11.

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