Sophomore pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) struck out 16 batters over nine innings pitched to lead the James Madison softball team to a doubleheader sweep of North Carolina at Veterans Memorial Park, Wednesday. JMU won game one 5-1 and took the nightcap, 7-2.
The Dukes improved to 4-0 against the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, sweeping both Virginia Tech and North Carolina. They’ve won four straight games to improve to 33-13 on the year. UNC dropped to 22-22 with the losses.
Ford came out of the bullpen in both outings for JMU and dominated the Tar Heel lineup. She limited her opponent to one hit and one hit-by-pitch in nine innings of shutout relief work. Between her two appearances, she retired the first 21 batters she faced and 27 of 29 overall.
In game two, Ford struck out 11 and earned the win to improve to 17-6. She held UNC to one hit in her six innings pitched. She relieved junior Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) who gave up two runs on four hits in one inning. The right-hander struck out one and did not walk a batter.
Ashley Bone took the loss for North Carolina to fall to 1-1 on the year. She gave up seven runs, but just two earned runs, on six hits and three walks in six innings pitched.
Offensively, Madison was paced by freshman right fielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) who went 1-for-2 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. Senior first baseman Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough) went 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs while senior pinch hitter Catherine Clavin (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson) had a two-run home run in her only at-bat.
Shortstop Kristen Brown had two of the five UNC hits, going 2-for-3 with a RBI. Second baseman Erin Satterfield had a home run in three trips to the plate while center fielder Aquilla Mateen went 1-for-2 with a run.
The Tar Heels opened the scoring in the top of the first inning on Brown’s RBI single. She plated Mateen who led off with a single and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt.
The Dukes responded with four unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning. The first three batters reached safely to load the bases for Madison before Bone got the next two batters to pop out. Newton delivered the clutch hit for Madison, lining a two-out single up the middle for two RBIs. Clayton followed with a double to right-center field that scored sophomore catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) from second and Newton from first.
Satterfield led off the second inning with a solo home run that chased Kiefer from the game. Ford came in and struck out seven of the first nine hitters she faced to cool off the Tar Heel attack.
The score remained 4-2 until UNC fielding error allowed Newton to score in the bottom of the sixth. Clavin followed the error with a pinch-hit, two-run homer to left field to cap the scoring. It was the senior’s third home run of the season and her second pinch-hit homer in the last three games.
In game one, it was Kiefer that earned the win as she held North Carolina to one run on four hits in four innings of work. She improved to 16-7 on the season after striking out three and walking one. The two starts on the day for Kiefer gave her 66 in her career, tying her with Liz George (2002-05) for third on the all-time list. Ford picked up her third save of the season after striking out five over three innings of perfect relief.
Kendra Lynch was saddled with the loss for UNC, falling to 1-6. She gave up five runs, but just one earned run, on eight hits and two walks in six innings of work. The right-hander struck out three.
Freshman third baseman Madyson Moran (Taylor Mill, Ky./Holy Crss) went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run to drive the Dukes’ attack. Freshman outfielder Niki Prince (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) homered and walked in four trips to the plate and Clayton went 1-for-2 with a double, two runs and a walk.
Four players had hits for the Tar Heels led by Satterfield going 1-for-3 with a double and a RBI. Left fielder Amy Neece, first baseman Jenna Kelly and third baseman Tracy Chandless all were 1-for-3 with a single.
Prince opened the scoring with her second lead-off home run in as many games for Madison. It was the freshman’s third lead-off homer of the season and her fifth of the season. She is tied for the fourth-most four-baggers by a JMU freshman with Courtney Simons (2007-10).
A lead-off double by Clayton followed by a UNC throwing error made it 2-0 JMU after two innings, before Satterfield’s third-inning double cut the deficit in half. Madison broke the game open with three runs in the top of the sixth run-scoring doubles by Moran and Clavin.
JMU takes a break from Colonial Athletic Association play as it has this weekend off. The Dukes return to the field on Tuesday, April 22 to play a doubleheader at Virginia.