Senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) hit two home runs, driving in six and James Madison’s pitching limited Delaware to five hits in a Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader sweep at Veterans Memorial Park, Saturday afternoon. JMU won game one 10-0 in five innings and took the nightcap, 7-0.
The Dukes extended their winning streak to eight games, improving to 37-13 on the season and 11-3 in the CAA. They clinched a spot in the upcoming CAA Championship. Delaware dropped its sixth straight league game, falling to 5-11 in the league and 23-24 overall.
Sandy finished her day 5-for-7 with two home runs, six RBIs and three runs scored. She moved into fourth on the school’s games played list with 213, fifth in career hits (176) and 10th in career home runs (13).
Junior pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) and sophomore pitcher/first baseman Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) combined to hold the Blue Hens to five hits and a walk in 12 shutout innings.
Ford earned the win in game two with her sixth shutout of the season and the 15th of her career. She improved to 19-6 overall after allowing two hits and a walk in seven innings of work. The left-hander struck out 10 in the game.
Carolyn Szymanski fell to 12-12 with the loss. She gave up seven runs, six earned, on seven hits in five innings pitched. The right-hander walked five and struck out one. Abby Cline tossed a shutout inning in relief, allowing one hit and a walk.
Offensively, the Dukes were paced by Sandy with two hits and a RBI while Ford went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Freshman center fielder Niki Prince (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) extended her reached base streak to 19 games, tied for the fifth-longest in school history, by going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a RBI.
Second baseman Michelle McKinnon had one of the two Delaware hits, finishing the game 1-for-3 with a single. Shelby Jones added a base hit in two at-bats while third baseman Giovanna Kolofer drew a walk in three plate appearances.
The Dukes opened the scoring on a two-out RBI single by Sandy in the top of the first. Sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) started the rally with a double down the left-field line before scoring when Sandy laced the first pitch of her at-bat back up the middle for a single.
The lead grew to 2-0 in the second inning on a two-out double by Prince before freshman right fielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood) smacked a solo home run in the third to make it 3-0. It was Prince’s sixth home run of the season.
Four more Madison runs crossed the plate in the fourth inning, on just one hit as two walks, two hit-by-pitches and two errors doomed the Blue Hens.
Ford handled the rest for the Dukes, as she retired 21 of the 24 batters she faced. No base runner advanced beyond first against the left-hander who at one point retired 15 straight batters.
In game one, Kiefer improved to 18-7 with her fourth shutout of the season. She limited her foe to three hits in five innings. The right-hander struck out one and walked none.
Kelly Lupton took the loss for UD, dropping to 7-8. She gave up nine runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. Lupton struck out one and walked one. Kiersten Coffman ceded one run on two hits in 1/3 innings of relief.
Sandy went 3-for-3 with two home runs, five RBIs and three runs to drive to Madison attack. Newton added two hits, including a triple and a RBI while rookie left fielder Mimi Morris (Kenilworth, Ill./New Trier) went 2-for-2 with a run and a RBI.
Dwlaware’s hits came from McKinnon, center fielder Gabby Klecko and catcher Danielle Wissinger all in two at-bats. Wissinger had the lone extra-base hit with a double.
Sandy’s first home run of the game, a two-run shot in the bottom of the second opened the scoring. Ford led off the frame with a walk and came around as Sandy blasted her sixth home run of the season. Senior first baseman Cassidy Clayton (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough) kept the rally going with a double to center and senior pinch runner Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) came in to score on an infield single by Morris.
Sandy’s second home run of the game, her third of the week and seventh of the season came in the third inning, pushing the lead to 5-0. It was her 13th career blast, tying her with Caitlen Manning (2009-12) for tenth all-time.
The Dukes put the game away with five more runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by Newton’s second triple of the season.
JMU and Delaware close out their series on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 2 p.m.