HARRISONBURG, VA. (Press Release) -- Northeastern struck for all eight of its runs in the final three innings and got a complete game from Chris Carmain in an 8-4 win over James Madison in the middle game of a Colonial Athletic Association baseball series on Saturday night at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
NU improved to 22-25 overall and 7-10 in the CAA while JMU drops to 16-30 overall and 7-9 in the league. With four league games remaining, the loss leaves the Dukes in fifth place in the CAA, one game back of a tie for third and a half game in front of Northeastern and Hofstra, which are tied for sixth.
It was a scoreless ballgame until the bottom of the seventh when JMU got a two-run single from senior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin). The Dukes led 3-1 after seven innings, but the Huskies struck for five runs in the eighth to take the lead and added two runs in the ninth to make it 8-3. The Dukes added a final run in the ninth on freshman left fielder Josh Wyatt’s (Eden, Md./James M. Bennett) first career home run.
Carmain improved to 6-2 with a 2.23 ERA after allowing seven hits and a walk in his first complete game of the season. He struck out seven and threw 124 pitches. Junior reliever Kevin Husum (Panama City, Fla./Bay) took the loss after allowing five runs, four earned, in two innings. Redshirt sophomore starter Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings with four strikeouts. He retired nine consecutive batters spanning the middle innings.
Wyatt was 2-for-4 with a double and the round tripper. Sophomore center fielder Tyler Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) had the other RBI aside from Wyatt and Brown with the only other JMU extra-base hit on an RBI double.
The heart of the order did much of the damage for the Huskies as shortstop Jason Vosler was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. First baseman Brad Burcroff and left fielder Gabe Levanti each had a pair of hits with Levanti scoring twice and driving in a pair. Right fielder Sean Lyons also drove in a pair of runs.
After being limited to one hit through the first five innings, JMU finally broke through in the sixth as one-out singles by Husum and senior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) put runners on the corners. A groundout pushed McFarland to second. With two outs, Brown hit a sharp single to center field to plate both for the first runs of the game.
The Huskies were also held silent until breaking through in response in the seventh. Following a leadoff single by Levanti, Sean Lyons smacked a one-out double to right center to score Levanti all the way from first to cut the deficit to 2-1.
JMU earned the run back in the bottom of the frame on a pair of doubles. Wyatt bounced one over the third baseman’s head and down the left field line. With two outs, Carroll came through with his first RBI of the season on a double deep into the corner in left to make it 3-1.
Northeastern put runners on the corners to lead off the eighth with a walk and a single. Husum entered in relief and got a strikeout but NU’s Levanti reached on a fielder’s choice towards second base to drive in the run and make it 3-2, still with two on and one out. The Huskies loaded the bases on a bloop single to left and tied the score on a bases-loaded walk. Another bases-loaded walk by pinch hitter Keith Kelly gave NU the lead 4-3. A fielder’s choice groundout by catcher Josh Treff made it a 5-3 NU lead. The fifth Huskies’ run of the inning came in when a fly ball to left center landed between two JMU outfielders.
NU added two more runs in the ninth on a sacrifice fly to right field by Levanti and an error. Wyatt homered with two outs in the ninth for JMU.
Prior to Saturday’s game, JMU recognized its six seniors playing in their final home series of the season. The seniors, who all played in the game, included Brown, pitcher Trent Cundiff (Roanoke, Va./Northside), right fielder Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy), McFarland, catcher Nick Merullo (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) and first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East).
Sunday’s series finale begins at 1 p.m. in a time change from the originally published 2 p.m. start time.