HARRISONBURG, Va., – Sophomore infielder Sarah Mooney (Huntersville, N.C./North Mecklenburg) collected six runs batted in to break the school record for RBIs in a season while leading the James Madison softball team to a doubleheader sweep over Liberty at Veterans Memorial Park on Wednesday. JMU won game one 5-1 before taking the nightcap, 12-2 in six innings.
The Dukes extended their winning streak to six games, improving to 11-2 at home and 33-10 overall. Liberty dropped to 19-25 on the season.
Mooney finished the day going 5-for-8 with two doubles, six RBIs, three runs scored and two steals. The second-year Duke broke Jenn Chavez’s (2005-08) record for single-season RBIs and now has 49 on the season.
Freshman pitcher Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) earned the win in game two to improve to 17-2. She limited the Flames to two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six in six innings pitched. She also helped herself out at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, five RBIs and two runs scored. The five RBIs were a personal best and tied the JMU rookie record for runs batted in in a single game.
Chandler Ball lasted just 1/3 of an inning in taking the loss. She dropped to 8-11 while allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits. Annah Joe Brittingham ceded four runs on six hits in four innings of relief while Alyssa Dimartino allowed four runs on three hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings or work.
Four players joined Mooney and Ford with multiple hits as sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton) went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored while senior center fielder Jasmine Butler (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) was 2-for-4 with two runs, a RBI and a stolen base. Freshman third baseman Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) contributed two hits and two runs and junior shortstop Caitlin Sandy (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) went 2-for-3 with a RBI.
Designated player Sammi Shivock paced the Liberty attack, going 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and two RBIs. Center fielder Katie Zavodny was the only other player with a hit, finishing 1-for-3 with a single and a run scored.
The Dukes wasted little time jumping out to a lead, scoring four times in the bottom of the first. Madison started the frame with back-to-back bunt singles by Heath and Butler. Both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch before Mooney smacked a single through the hole on the left side for a pair of runs. Mooney stole second and moved third on a Liberty throwing error before scoring on a single by Ford. A bunt single by Sandy advanced the runner to second and Liberty’s second throwing error of the inning allowed Ford to race around third for Madison’s fourth run.
Heath and Butler combined to help JMU push the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Heath started the rally with a single through the left side. She moved to second on a wild pitch and stole third. The sophomore came in to score when Butler lined a 3-2 pitch into left field for a single.
Liberty got on the board with a two-run homer by Shivock in the top of the third. Zavodny started the rally with a one-out bunt single and moved to second on a stolen base. After a strikeout, Shivock worked a 1-1 count before driving the third offering from Ford out to center field for her sixth home run of the season.
Freshman second baseman Hannah Hayes (LaCrosse, Va./Kenston Forest) extend the lead back up to four with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. It was the rookie’s second home run of the season.
The JMU rookie duo of Field and Ford combined to increase the lead to 7-2 in the fifth. Field led off with a single through the left side and moved to second on a ground-out by Mooney. Ford plated the runner with double of the wall in left and junior pinch runner Brittany Jeans (Camano Island, Wash./Stanwood) came in to score on a single up the middle by Sandy.
The Dukes put the game away in the sixth inning, scoring four times, including a walk-off three-run homer by Ford. It was the freshman’s 12th homer of the season.
Sophomore pitcher Heather Kiefer (Potomac Falls, Va./Potomac Falls) earned the win in game one for Madison. She collected her third straight win to improve 12-5 on the year. The right-hander limited the Flames to one run on three hits. She struck out three and did not walk a batter.
Kenzie Friesen took the loss for Liberty, dropping to 3-2. She allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings of work. Chandler Ball gave up a run on five hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings of relief.
The Dukes were paced offensively by Mooney who went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored. Butler reached base four times with two singles and two walks to go with a run and two stolen bases while Heath went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Two players recorded hits for LU led by left fielder Jill Stephens who went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Shivock had a hit in three at-bats and first baseman Hanna Nicols contributed an RBI in three trips to the plate.
JMU jumped in front of the Flames with two runs in the bottom of the first. Field started the two-out rally with a walk and scored from first when Mooney blasted a double into the right-center gap. Mooney came in to score on a single to center by Ford.
Madison strung together another two-out rally for three more runs in the second inning. Heath started ignited the inning with a double to left-center. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Liberty attempted to catch Butler stealing second. Another wild pitch moved Butler to third and allowed Field to reach on a walk before Mooney lined a double down the left-field line, scoring both runners.
Liberty got a run back in the top of the fourth and Stephen led off the inning with a double to left-center field. She moved to third on a ground-out and came in to score when Nichols hit a copper to third.
Next up for JMU is a trip to Delaware this weekend as it begins an eight-game road trip with a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series against the Blue Hens.