James Madison and Hofstra combined for 62 runs and 59 hits during seven and a half hours of offensive baseball as the teams split a doubleheader with JMU taking game one 20-14 and HU claiming the finale 15-13 in Colonial Athletic Association action on Saturday afternoon at University Field.
JMU improved to 13-26-1 overall and won its third straight CAA series to improve to 8-13 in the conference. HU now stands at 21-17 overall and 11-7 in the CAA. The Pride had started the year 9-0 at home before dropping two out of three to the Dukes.
JMU 20, Hofstra 14
In the opener, the Dukes vaulted out to a 13-5 lead thanks to a six-run third and a four-run fifth. However, the Pride fought back to tie it in the blink of an eye with an eight-run sixth inning. JMU pushed on with six more runs in the eighth to reclaim the lead and added one in the ninth to pull out the 20-14 decision. The Dukes received 14 walks in the game.
Freshman Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) allowed an unearned run in 3 1/3 innings with four strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 3-3. Bryan Verbitsky was tagged with the loss after allowing all six runs in the eighth, albeit with five being unearned.
Senior designated hitter Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) doubled his previous career high with six RBIs by going 3-for-4 with two walks, a double and a home run. Junior Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) also had three hits, a home run, and two walks for the Dukes while scoring four times.
Also for James Madison, sophomore Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) had a pair of hits and walks with three RBIs and four runs scored. Freshman shortstop Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) was 2-for-4 with two walks, two runs and two RBIs. Junior outfielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) also had two hits;. Junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) doubled to extend his hitting streak to 21 games before then having the streak snapped in the second game.
Austin Nyman was 4-for-5 with three runs scored to lead the Pride. Kevin Flynn drove in five runs with a grand slam. Danny Poma was 3-for-5 while Matt Ford, Jared Hammer and Kenny Jackson each collected two hits.
Hofstra 15, JMU 13
James Madison grabbed an 11-6 lead at the turn in the fifth inning, but Hofstra rallied from behind to avoid the series sweep. The Pride struck for four unearned runs in the sixth to pull within a run.
JMU scored once in the seventh but Hofstra struck twice to tie it at 12-12. The Dukes momentarily regained the lead with a run in the eighth before the Pride added three more runs in the eighth to pull out the win.
Andrew Barbarino earned the win in relief with no runs against him in the eighth inning. John Tiedemann picked up his first save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth. Junior Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) took the loss with five runs allowed, three earned, over the last two innings for the Dukes.
Colby Roberts drove in six runs for the Dukes, which was twice his previous season high, on three hits, including two doubles. Bradley Shaban and senior Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) each went 2-for-4 with Shaban smacking a solo home run, his second round tripper of the day.
Matt Ford and Kevin Flynn each had three hits for the Pride. Bryan Verbitsky doubled and homered while Dalton Rouleau, Jared Hammer and Kenny Jackson each had two hits in Hofstra's 17-hit attack.
For the three-game series, JMU hit .370 and scored 46 runs on 44 hits, including 13 for extra bases. The Dukes posted a .546 slugging percentage and reached on 29 walks and six hit batters for a .510 on-base percentage.
After nine straight contests on the road, the Dukes will be home on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. game against Liberty in a rescheduled contest from a Feb. 29 rainout. JMU also travels to VMI on Wednesday evening for a 6 p.m. game.