HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Second-seeded James Madison softball tied a school record with 18 hits on its way to scoring 10 runs as it knocked off third-seeded Delaware 10-2 in six innings in the opening round of the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Championship in Hempstead, N.Y., Wednesday.
JMU advances to Thursday’s winner’s bracket game where it will meet top-seeded Hofstra in a noon game at Hofstra Softball Stadium. The Dukes improved to 40-13 overall, reaching the 40-win plateau for the first time in school history. Delaware drops to 35-21 and faces fourth-seeded Towson in the tournament’s first elimination game at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Freshman pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) earned the win for the Dukes. She improved to 22-4 after limiting the Blue Hens to two runs on seven hits in six innings of work. The left-hander struck out four and walked one.
Taylor Curran took the loss for UD, dropping to 6-6 on the season. She allowed five runs on 13 hits and three walks while striking out one in 5 1/3 innings of work. Kiersten Coffman gave up five runs on five hits and a walk while recording just one out in relief.
All nine starters recorded hits for the Dukes for the first time all season, including three players with three or more hits. Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) reached base five times, going 4-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, a RBI and two stolen bases. Senior designated player Megan Shinaberry (Davie, Fla./McCarthy) went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs while freshman second baseman Hannah Hayes (Lacrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) had three hits, a run and a RBI in four trips to the plate. Sophomore third baseman and CAA Player of the Year Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) went 1-for-1 with a career-best three walks and a RBI.
Delaware left fielder Shelby Jones went 2-for-3 to pace the UD attack. Pinch hitter Amanda Stacevicz had a triple and a run scored and center fielder Hannah George and second baseman Tori Conrad each had a RBI in one official at-bat.
After leaving five runners in scoring position through their first three at-bats, the Dukes broke through on the Blue Hens in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring seven runs on eight hits. They started the inning with back-to-back singles by Shinaberry and sophomore right fielder Anna Klumpp (Culpeper, Va./Eastern View). Hayes moved both runners up a base with a single to right field, but was picked off after making too big a turn around the bag. A walk by Heath loaded the bases before senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) broke up the shutout with a single through the left side that scored Shinaberry. Mooney added to her school record with her 64th RBI, driving a single through the left side to score Klumpp. Ford made it 3-0 with a fielder’s choice and junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) followed with single up the middle to score junior pinch runner Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) from second. JMU capped the inning with a RBI single by freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) and a two-run double by Shinaberry.
Delaware got a run back in the top of the fifth by taking advantage of a Madison fielding miscue. Stacevicz led off the inning with a triple to center field that fell in when the outfielder fell down. Ford got the next batter to fly out to shallow right field, but the run came home on a well-executed suicide squeeze play by George.
UD added another run with a bases loaded walk in the top of the sixth, but Ford left the bases full by inducing a pop-out to end the threat.
The Dukes tacked put the game away in the bottom of the sixth on five straight two-out, singles. Hayes third hit of the game plated Shinaberry before Heath beat out an infield single to score Klumpp. Butler ended the game by way of the early-termination rule by legging out an infield single and scoring Hayes.