Redshirt sophomore left-hander Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) fired his first career complete game, limiting Towson to a pair of first-inning runs as James Madison charged to a 7-2 Colonial Athletic Association baseball victory on Saturday afternoon at John B. Schuerholz Park.
JMU snapped a six-game skid and evened the series at 1-1 while improving to 13-26 overall and 5-8 in the CAA. Head coach Spanky McFarland earned his 499th win in 17 seasons at JMU. TU fell to 20-18 overall and 2-8 in the CAA.
Hoover tossed 132 pitches in his longest outing since he worked seven innings in his first career appearance on Feb. 18, 2012 against Boston College. He struck out one and allowed eight hits while facing 36 total batters.
The Dukes stranded seven runners in the first three innings and trailed 2-0 heading into the sixth when they finally broke through with a two-out, four-run rally. They added three insurance runs in the ninth to finish the 7-2 victory.
Senior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) was 3-for-4 with a double, walk, run scored and two RBIs. Senior catcher Nick Merullo (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) also had three hits with a double, a run and an RBI. Sophomore designated hitter Bobby San Martin (Fairfax, Va./Centreville) was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.
Starter Lee Lawler took the loss for Towson after allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Right fielder Dominic Frantantuono and shortstop Pat Fitzgerald each had two hits for the Tigers.
The Tigers got an RBI single from Kurt Wertz and a sacrifice fly from Peter Bowles in the first inning to grab the lead while the Dukes stranded the bases loaded in each the first and second innings.
After a pair of leadoff outs in the sixth, a San Martin single, Merullo double and a single by freshman Josh Wyatt (Eden, Md./James M. Bennett) loaded the bases. After a pitching change, senior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) earned a walk to drive in the first JMU run. Brown followed with a two-run single to give the Dukes their first lead. Redshirt senior Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) added a single for his 162nd RBI, one shy of the JMU career top 10.
Hoover retired 12 of the final 15 batters to finish the game and the Tigers never got a runner past first base after the fifth inning.
JMU added three big insurance runs in the ninth as San Martin picked up a two-out, two-run single up the middle and Merullo capped the scoring with an RBI single to make it 7-2.
The teams will decide the series on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.