Eight James Madison pitchers combined to limit Maryland to seven hits in a 6-3 non-conference baseball victory on Tuesday afternoon at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium/Shipley Field.
JMU won its third straight game to improve to 15-26 while UM dropped its fourth in a row to fall to 25-19. The Dukes have posted a 2.17 ERA during the three consecutive victories. It was Madison’s best RPI win (37) of the season to begin a week of four games against top-50 opponents according to Monday’s most recent RPI report.
Redshirt junior Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) earned the win (2-2) as the pitcher of record when the Dukes took the lead in the fifth. He was one of six JMU pitchers in the game to not allow a run. Senior Trent Cundiff (Roanoke, Va./Northside) picked up his third save with 1 1/3 innings while also becoming the seventh pitcher in JMU history to reach 80 career appearances.
Junior starter Patrick Toohers (Florham, Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) was unscathed for the first two innings as the longest pitcher of the day. Freshman Michael Evans (Falls Church, Va./George C. Marshall) marked his team-best 20th appearance of the season with a scoreless fifth inning.
The Dukes led the Terps in hits 10-7 with three of their top four batters posting multiple hits. Senior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) doubled, tripled, walked, scored twice and drove in a run. Redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston (Penn Laird, Va./Spotswood) had two singles with two RBIs.
Junior center fielder Kevin Husum (Panama City, Fla./Bay) also singled twice and scored a run for the Dukes. Senior right fielder Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy) doubled, walked twice, scored a run and drove in a run.
Starter Zach Morris suffered the loss for Maryland with three runs allowed, two earned, on six hits in six innings. First baseman LaMonte Wade and shortstop Blake Schmit each had a pair of hits for the Terps.
With the game knotted at 1-1 through four innings, JMU picked up a two-run single from Weston in the fifth to claim the lead for good. The Dukes made it 4-1 on Brown’s RBI double in the seventh and added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on redshirt sophomore Chris Hanson’s (Fairfax, Va./Oakton) RBI groundout and redshirt freshman Brett Johnson’s (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield) run-scoring double.
After four straight empty turns at the plate, Maryland finally struck for a pair of runs in the eighth on RBI singles by right fielder Anthony Papio and catcher Kevin Martir. The Terrapins brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate with the bases loaded but Cundiff entered in relief and induced a groundout.
JMU’s first run scored in the third inning on Gregory’s RBI double to left before Maryland tied it in the bottom of the frame on Wade’s RBI single.
JMU will be in South Carolina over the weekend for a trio of games against opponents ranked in the top 30. The Dukes face No. 26 Clemson on Friday at 7 p.m. as well as on Saturday at 4 p.m. sandwiched around a battle with No. 27 UNLV on Saturday at noon.