Maryland downs JMU baseball in 3-0 pitchers’ duel

jmu logoThe James Madison baseball team held the Big Ten Conference’s best offense to just four hits on Wednesday afternoon, but ran up against an equally formidable pitching performance en route to a tough, 3-0 loss at Maryland in non-conference action at Shipley Field.

Three Terrapins pitchers combined to yield just one hit on the evening as the Dukes fell to 10-16 on the season. Maryland improved to 19-7 on the year, despite a trio of JMU arms limiting the Terps to their lowest hitting output of the season.

Freshman left-hander Tucker McCoy took the mound for the Dukes, shining in his first collegiate start. The Penn Laird, Va., native surrendered just two runs on two hits across his career-best 4.2 innings of work.

Maryland’s only damage against the rookie southpaw came on a solo home run from second baseman Brandon Lowe in the third inning that bounced off the top of the right-field fence and a run in the third that was manufactured with a walk, a sacrifice bunt, a deep flyout and a wild pitch.

Sophomore right-hander Brandon Withers took over for McCoy, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and yielding just two hits and a run across his 2.1 innings, striking out a pair for good measure. Freshman left-hander Andrew Scarpelli threw the eighth and final inning for JMU, picking up a strikeout without giving up a hit.

Junior right-hander Kevin Mooney, ordinarily the Maryland closer, started on the hill for Maryland, throwing two innings without allowing a hit and working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning before giving way to Brian Shaffer.

The freshman right-hander threw the next six innings, striking out six while surrendering the only JMU hit of the day, before junior left-hander Alex Robinson closed things out with a perfect ninth inning.

Sophomore first baseman Brett Johnson had the Dukes’ only base hit of the afternoon, a one-out single to center field in the sixth inning that followed a seven-pitch walk from senior designated hitter Kevin Husum, but the rally was quickly quieted on an inning-ending double play.

In all, five Dukes reached base on the evening, as JMU drew a pair of walks and three hit-by-pitches, one of which came in Johnson’s 1-for-3 day at the plate. McCoy took the hard-luck loss for JMU, falling to 1-2 on the year, while Shaffer improved to 2-0 in 2015 with the win.

JMU will be back in action this weekend, when it welcomes sixth-place Delaware to Harrisonburg for a three-game, Colonial Athletic Association series on April 3-5. The Dukes will play on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 6:30 p.m. before wrapping up the series with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday afternoon.

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