The James Madison softball team continued its rise on the national stage this week as the Dukes were ranked in both major softball polls for the first time in program history, coming in at No. 24 in the USA Today/National Fast Pitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I Top 25 Poll and No. 25 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll on Tuesday.
The No. 24 ranking in the NFCA poll is the highest in the 14-year history of the program after being No. 25 a week ago. The Dukes entered the USA Softball poll for the first time in program history after hovering outside the top 25 late last season.
Oregon moved up to the No. 1 slot in both the NFCA and USA Softball polls this week, becoming the first non-SEC team to hold the nation’s top ranking in 2015.
The Dukes are riding an 18-game win streak, the longest in school history, after improving to 27-6 overall and 6-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play after winning a pair at North Carolina and sweeping the home conference series against the College of Charleston. In addition to the national rankings, the team also moved up to 28th in the latest NCAA rating percentage index (RPI) rankings on Monday.
Madison ranks eighth in the country in earned run average (1.74), third in triples per game (0.39), 29th in stolen bases (1.70) and 30th in batting average (.325). The Dukes lead the CAA in a plethora of offensive statistical categories, including batting average (.325), slugging percentage (.506), runs (171), hits (282), doubles (46), triples and home runs (29).
JMU’s pitching staff is also one of the best in the league, pacing CAA foes in ERA (1.74). The Dukes are also tops in opposing batting average (.185), strikeouts (238) and hits per game (4.5).
The No. 24/25 Dukes head north to Hempstead, N.Y., where they will face rival Hofstra April 3-4 at the Hofstra Softball Stadium. Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 2 p.m. while Sunday’s finale is set for a noon start.