UNC-W takes Game 2 from JMU

In a back-and-forth contest, UNCW pushed in front with two runs in the fifth, padded the lead with two more in the seventh and held on in the ninth inning to defeat James Madison 8-7 in a Colonial Athletic Association baseball game Saturday afternoon at Brooks Field.

UNCW improved to 5-9 overall and 2-0 in the CAA while JMU fell to 5-9-1 overall and sits at 0-2 in the CAA for the first time since 2007.

Mat Batts did enough in his start to earn his first win of the season to improve to 1-2.  He allowed five runs on eight hits with six strikeouts in five innings while finishing his outing just prior to the Seahawks scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for good.  Ricky Holden earned the extended save by allowing two runs on six hits in four innings.

Freshman right-hander Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) started and allowed four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.  Redshirt freshman Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) took the loss after allowing the two fifth-inning runs in one inning of work.

Second baseman Michael Bass had two hits with a double and three RBIs for the Seahawks.  Shortstop Jake Koenig also had two hits with a double and two RBIs.  Third baseman Matt Campbell and first baseman Hunter Ridge each had three hits.

JMU led UNCW in hits 14-12 with sophomore third baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) posting three singles, a run scored and two RBIs.  Junior center fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) and senior right fielder Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) each had two hits with two RBIs.  Junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) and junior left fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) also had two hits apiece.

The teams traded runs in the early going as UNCW scored in the first on a triple by Campbell and a balk while JMU responded in the second with a McInturff RBI single and a single by Haynes to plate a pair.

UNCW scored two to tie in the second on a Bass single, but JMU came right back to retake the lead on a McInturff single in the fourth.  The Seahawks tied it again on a Bass RBI double in the fourth and the Dukes answered again on a run-scoring double by junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby).

Yet again, the homestanding Seahawks fought right back but this time to take the lead for good.  With two outs and the bases empty, Ridge doubled, moved to third on a balk and scored on left fielder Thomas Pope’s triple.  Pope then scored what proved to be the game winner on a wild pitch for a 6-5 lead.

The Seahawks added two in the seventh thanks to a two-run double by Koenig to make it 8-5.  JMU made one last push as a single by Goss and a double by Roberts put two in scoring position before Brown drove in both  However, on the next pitch, junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) fouled out to the catcher to end the game.

The Dukes and Seahawks close the series on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.


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