UNC-W completes weekend sweep of JMU baseball
UNCW grabbed a commanding early lead with five runs in the second and accumulated 16 hits to top James Madison 14-3 and complete a three-game Colonial Athletic Association baseball series sweep on Sunday afternoon at Brooks Field.
UNCW improved to 6-9 overall and 3-0 atop the CAA with the win. JMU lost its fifth game in a row to drop to 5-10-1 overall and sits 0-3 in the CAA for the first time since a season-opening sweep at the hands of East Carolina in 2000.
Six consecutive batters in the UNCW order, spots one through five plus the No. 9 hitter, combined for 15 of the 16 hits for the Seahawks. Second baseman Michael Bass, first baseman Hunter Ridge and left fielder Thomas Pope each posted three hits. Third baseman Matt Campbell, right fielder Tyler Molinaro and center fielder Andrew Cain each had two hits with Molinaro and Cain each connecting on home runs.
Tyler DeLoach earned the win in relief for UNCW after working the fifth and first two outs in the sixth. Kelly Secrest entered in a 7-3 game with the tying run on deck and limited JMU to one hit over the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his first save.
Senior right-hander Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) took the loss for JMU after allowing five runs on four hits with two walks in 1 2/3 innings.
The Dukes had eight hits in the game and had eight additional runners on base thanks to walks and hit batters. However, JMU left 12 runners on the bases, including stranding the bases loaded in the fourth and the sixth. Senior right fielder Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) was the lone player with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
Each team scored once in the first, JMU on an RBI single by junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) and UNCW when Cain scored in the midst of a caught stealing rundown play at second.
After the Dukes couldn’t convert a pair of walks in the second, the Seahawks broke the game open with a five-spot in the bottom of the frame. Pope scored on a wild pitch before Bass and Campbell followed with RBI singles. After Scott was pulled, Molinaro greeted freshman Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) with a first-pitch two-run home run to make it 6-1.
With two outs in the fourth, three straight JMU batters drew walks to force a UNCW pitching change before a fielder’s choice groundout ended the threat. The Seahawks responded with an RBI single by Molinaro to make it 7-1.
Singles by redshirt freshman first baseman Ryan Kilmon (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) and Haynes were followed by a walk to load the bases with one out in the sixth. After a strikeout, Kilmon scored on a balk and the Dukes reloaded the bases on a hit batter before a ground out again ended the inning with the bags full.
Haynes plated the final JMU run in the seventh before UNCW put the game away with four in the seventh and three in the eighth. Cain led off the seventh with a home run. Two runners scored later in the inning on a JMU error and Bass added an RBI single.
In the eighth, the Seahawks posted their final runs on an RBI single by Pope and a two-run double by Jarrett.
JMU will be on the road again on Wednesday at Liberty, which had opened the season 16-1 with nine straight wins before falling to St. John’s on Sunday 3-1. Despite the loss, the Flames still own the eighth-best record in the nation and are tied for the most wins.