Sophomore pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) twirled her second shutout of the weekend to help the James Madison softball team win its first outright Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship with a 1-0 win over UNCW at Boseman Field in Wilmington, N.C., Saturday.
JMU completes the regular season with a 41-13 overall record and a 15-3 mark in CAA play. The regular season crown is the second in school history after tying with Hofstra for the title in 2007, but is the Dukes’ first outright title. They’ll host next week's conference tournament with Hofstra, Charleston and Towson joining them at Veterans Memorial Park starting Wednesday, May 7.. UNCW completes its season with an 18-34 mark and 4-13 league record.
For earned the win to improve to 21-6 on the season after limiting the Seahawks to five hits in seven innings pitched. The left-hander struck out eight and did not walk a batter while tossing her eighth shutout of the season.
Casey Rowland took the loss for UNCW to complete the year with a 10-15 record. She pitched well, allowing four hits and one run in seven innings of work. The left-hander struck out five and walked three.
Ford led the Dukes at the plate as well, going 2-for-2 with a walk in three plate appearances. She picked up her 30th walk of the season, becoming the second player in school history to walk 30 or more times in a season. She trails only Julia Dominguez (2006-09) on the program’s single-season list. Sophomore catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) went 1-for-3 with a double while freshman right fielder Taylor Newton (Bradenton, Fla./Lakewood Ranch) was 1-for-3 with a single.
Four players combined for five hits for the Seahawks led by center fielder Brittany Gamby going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Catcher Casey Shue, first baseman Erin Brown and Rowland all went 1-for-3 with a single.
The game’s only run came in the top of the sixth inning as Field ignited the rally with a double into the right-center gap. Freshman pinch runner Carli Lemelin (Richmond, Va./Godwin) subbed in for the Dukes and moved to third on a wild pitch. The Seahawks elected to intentionally walk Ford at the plate, but Rowland’s offering was wild allowing Lemelin to race home.
Ford was masterful all day in the circle and closed out the game by retiring the side in order in the seventh. She did not allow a runner to advance beyond second and only twice had a Seahawk advance into scoring position
The 2014 CAA Softball Championship gets underway at noon on Wednesday, May 7 from Veterans Memorial Park. The Dukes take on Towson in the noon game with Charleston and Hofstra playing at 3 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for noon on Friday, May 9.