Dukes Slay Dragons in Doubleheader

By: JMU Sports Information
By: JMU Sports Information

HARRISONBURG, Va., -- Freshman pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) tossed a one-hit shutout and hit two home runs to help guide the James Madison softball team to a Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader sweep over Drexel on Friday. JMU won game one at Veterans Memorial Park 8-0 in six innings and followed that with an 11-1, six-inning win in game two.

The sweep ran the Dukes winning streak to seven games and improved them to 23-7 overall and 5-0 in the CAA. Drexel dropped to 10-20 and 0-5 in the league.

Ford finished her day going 3-for-6 with two homers, seven RBI and three runs scored. She added her sixth shutout of the year in the circle and struck out seven to pick up her 11th win.

JMU also received a complete-game effort from sophomore right-hander Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) as she picked up the win in game two. She won her sixth straight decision to improve 8-3 on the season, allowing one unearned run on five hits and two walks. The Potomac Falls, Va., native extended her streak without allowing an earned run 22 2/3 innings.

Rose Portiolli took the loss for the Dragons to drop to 1-3 on the year. She allowed six runs on nine hits and a walk. Jess O’Hara gave up five runs on four hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

Offensively, Madison racked up 13 hits in 27 at-bats and stole a school-record eight bases in the game. Senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) led the way on the base paths with three steals. She improved her season total to 25 and broke the previous single-season school record held by Chel’sea Ryan (2007-11). Butler also went 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and two walks. Ford finished 2-for-4 with a grand slam, two runs and four RBIs while freshman second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) went 3-for-3 with a run and a RBI. Sophomore right fielder Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) reached base four times with two singles, two walks, adding three runs and a RBI.

Portiolli and left fielder Hanna Parrish each went 2-for-3 to pace the Dragons. Right fielder Maggy Fermo had the only other hit for Drexel, going 1-for-2 with a walk.

JMU grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Mooney and junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) provided run scoring hits. Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) led of the game with a single. She stole second ahead of a walk by Butler that put two on with nobody out. After a fielder’s choice, Mooney hit a sharp grounder through the hole on the right side that scored Butler from second and advanced freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) to third. Mooney stole second in the ensuing at bat and Sandy capped the inning with a two-run single up the middle.

The Dukes extended the lead to 6-0 in the third inning, receiving a two-out, two run single by senior third baseman Haley Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) that was followed by an RBI single from Hayes.

Drexel capitalized on three Madison errors in the top of the sixth to get a run back. Center fielder Comfort Ahonkhai scored the run after the Dukes threw the ball away in a run down.

Ford’s first career grand slam in the bottom half of the sixth put the game away for Madison. Hayes ignited the inning with a lead-off bunt single. She moved to third on a ground-out and a single by Butler and scored on a single through the left side by Field. A walk to Mooney loaded the bases before Ford blasted a 1-1 pitch out to center field for her seventh home run of the season.

Ford was in control from the start in game one, limiting Drexel to one hit and two walks. She struck out seven in six innings of work to improve to 11-1 on the season. Her six shutouts are the third-most by a JMU pitcher in a season.

Tara Konopka took the loss, dropping to 6-9. She allowed five runs on seven hits. The right-hander struck out three and walked two. Shyann Beach pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief. She gave up three runs on three hits and two walks.

Field paced the Madison attack in game one, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Sandy added a triple, a single, a run and a RBI in three at-bats while Ford went 1-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored.

Ahonkhai recorded the only Dragon hit of the game. She went 1-for-1 with a walk. Fermo was the only other player to reach base, drawing a walk in three trips to the plate.

The Dukes were on the board with a run before recording an out in the bottom of the first. Heath worked a lead-off walk and stole second. After an infield single by Butler and a double steal by the base runners, Field beat out an infield single to bring in Heath. She stole second before Ford lofted a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Butler. Sandy capped the inning with an infield single that chased home Field and put the Dukes in front 3-0.

Two more runs came in for Madison in the third inning as Mooney led off with a double to center and came in to score on a home run to center by Ford.

JMU put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sandy started the inning with a triple to right-center. After senior designated player Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) walked, she stole second and Sandy stole home on the thrown down. Junior pinch hitter Catherine Clavin (Puquoson, Va./Puquoson) contributed a run-scoring single up the middle before Field ended the game with a single up the middle that scored Hayes.

JMU and Drexel wrap up their series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for noon at Veterans Memorial Park.

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