Junior left-hander Aaron Hoover threw his third complete game of the season to carry the James Madison baseball team over Towson on Friday evening as the Dukes earned a 9-3 win in Colonial Athletic Association play at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU got hits from eight of its nine starters as it snapped a seven-game CAA losing streak and moved to 14-24 (3-13 CAA) on the year. The Tigers tallied nine hits on the evening, but stranded eight runners on base and fell to 11-28-2 (5-11 CAA).
Hoover threw all nine innings for the Dukes, his longest outing since a March 7 start against Canisius, to improve to 4-3 on the season. The Centreville, Va., native struck out seven on the evening and allowed just two earned runs to lower his season ERA to 5.11.
McPherson drove in a game-high three runs in a 2-for-4 evening, while Johnson extended his reached-base streak to 21 games with a 2-for-5 performance. Senior right fielder Kevin Husum went 2-for-3 and walked twice, scoring three runs from the leadoff spot for the Dukes.
JMU got on the board early, scoring its first run with its first two batters. Husum led off the bottom of the first by slamming a triple off the fence in right-center field and sophomore left fielder Ky Parrott bounced the next pitch to second base to bring home the run and put the Dukes up, 1-0.
The Tigers tied things with an unearned run in the third before JMU went up for good in the bottom half of the frame. Husum walked to start the inning and, after an out, McPherson crushed a 2-1 fastball that left the park mere feet to the right of the 400′ sign in center field. It marked the freshman’s fourth home run of the year, the third-highest total on the team.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Dukes plated at least one run in each of the remaining four frames to pull away. McPherson drove in his third run of the game with an RBI single in the fifth and sophomore third baseman Josh Wyatt singled home a run in the sixth.
Johnson blasted his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to left field with one out, in the seventh inning before the Dukes plated three runs on just two hits, including an RBI single to from Parrott, in the eighth inning to finish the scoring and give JMU the 9-3 win.
Towson had scored two runs in the sixth that cut JMU’s lead to 5-3, but never got closer, as Hoover pitched out of multiple jams with runners in scoring position. Hoover picked up his first win since April 4, while sophomore Bruce Zimmermann fell to 3-3, throwing 5 1/3 innings for the Tigers in the loss.
JMU and Towson will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, when they play the second contest of their three-game CAA series at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast with live audio on MadiZone HD SportsNet presented by the JMU Alumni Association.