Seton Hall accumulated 24 hits while scoring in eight of nine innings to defeat James Madison 19-4 in the final game of a three-game baseball series on Monday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
SHU, ranked 22nd in the Collegiate Baseball national poll, improved to 9-3 while JMU fell to 7-8 one day after beating the Pirates for its first win over a ranked team since 2009.
The afternoon for the Dukes was highlighted by redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) going 4-for-5 with his seventh double and 20th RBI. Redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston’s (Penn Laird, Va./Spotswood) first career home run was an inside-the-park hit in the second. Senior right fielder Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy) had two hits for the Dukes.
Joe DiBenedetto earned the victory in relief for the Pirates after allowing three hits and no runs in 2 2/3 innings of work. Sophomore starter Mark Gunst (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI) took the loss for JMU after allowing seven runs, four earned, on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
For the second time in the series, Seton Hall scored at least 15 runs with better than 20 hits. Of the 24 hits by the Pirates, 13 came on grounders either on infield singles or singles through the holes of the infield. Only six of SHU’s hits went for extra bases.
Eight of nine position starters for the Pirates had multiple-hit games, led by third baseman Kyle Grimm at 4-for-6 with a home run, four runs scored and two RBIs. Center fielder Zack Weigel was 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Shortstop D.J. Ruhlman also had three hits with a home run, and right fielder Chris Selden joined the three-hit attack with two RBIs and three runs scored.
The Pirates broke on top in the first as the second batter of the game, Ruhlman, sliced a solo shot to right center. The next batter, Grimm, lofted a high fly to center that carried over the fence in the steady breeze for another solo shot and a 2-0 advantage. Seton Hall added another quick run in the second as catcher Alex Falconi led off with a high fly that carried deep to the warning track in left center for a triple. One batter later Selden lifted a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
JMU put its first run on the board in the second as Weston led off with a sharp ball to right center that fell amid two diving outfielder and caromed all the way to the wall, allowing him to dive into home plate ahead of the throw for the inside-the-park round tripper.
The Dukes kept pushing in the third to tie the score as junior center fielder Kevin Husum (Panama City, Fla./Bay) hit a one-out triple to right field and scored one pitch later on a sharp double to right center by senior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby). After a groundout, Tenaglia blooped a single to center off the end of the bat to plate McFarland and tie the score at 3-3.
SHU took advantage of a pair of errors to plate three unearned runs in the fourth and reclaim the lead for good. With two outs and a runner on second, a fielding error at shortstop extended the inning and put runners on the corners. Second baseman Chris Chiaradio then singled to second base with JMU senior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) making a diving stop and attempting an off-balance throw for the out. The runner on third scored and both runners advanced to scoring position when the throw to first got away. The Pirates took advantage again with left fielder Jackson Martin singling through the right side to make it 6-3.
The Pirates struck again with two outs in the fifth. With a runner on first, designated hitter Tyler Boyd smacked a sharp double to right center to score Grimm all the way from first and make it 7-3. Then in the sixth, a single followed by a perfect hit-and-run single put runners on the corners and a stolen base made it two in scoring position with nobody out. After a strikeout, Weigel singled through the right side to score both for a 9-3 lead. Ruhlman singled and Grimm singled for the fifth hit of the inning to make it 10-3, still with one out. After a pitching change, Seton Hall capped the five-run frame with a two-run single up the middle by first baseman Sal Annunziata. It was the sixth hit of the inning, all on ground balls through the infield.
Seton Hall added one more run in the seventh on a flare RBI single to left center by Weigel. The Pirates then plated two in the eighth on Falconi’s RBI single as well as a wild pitch. JMU ended four straight scoreless frames with one in the eighth on an RBI single by Gregory. In the ninth, Seton Hall got an RBI groundout from new shortstop Joe Poduslenko and a two-run home run to left by new first baseman Mikael-Ali Mogues to make it 18-4.
JMU closes its stretch of four games in four days against ranked foes with a 4 p.m. game on Tuesday at No. 3 Virginai.