Bourne, Ikenberry share positive takeaways from James Madison baseball season

James Madison pitcher Matt Leikus on the mound against Virginia on May 3, 2023
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 6:13 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - After the James Madison baseball program concluded the 2023 season, head coach Marlin Ikenberry believes there’s many positives to takeaway from the season.

The Dukes finished 31-25, marking the first time an Ikenberry led program at JMU has won at least 30 games. The 2023 season also marked the first time JMU finished at least six games above .500 since the 2011 season.

“I’m proud of how tough we played and more importantly how we approached the game,” said Ikenberry. “What this team’s been through over the last three seasons coming into this league and competing every pitch. As a coach, I’m really proud of them for doing that.”

The most important component of the 2023 season for JMU Baseball was playing a Sun Belt Conference schedule for the first time. Athletic director Jeff Bourne liked how the program competed in 2023.

“I’ve been really pleased with baseball,” said Bourne. “That was an area I was concerned about going into the season. This is a tough baseball league. Can we hang in there and compete. I think our kids played really hard and did a good job. Our coaches have done a good job coaching them.”

Although the Dukes were bounced from the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with losses to Southern Miss and Old Dominion, the fact the program was able to compete in the tournament is a sign of progress. JMU was banned from postseason play last season by the Colonial Athletic Association after The University announced its move to the Sun Belt.

Ikenberry says he’s most proud of the character his team showed this season.

“I wouldn’t say we’re the most talented team but I’d say we’re probably one of the toughest,” said Ikenberry. “You saw that in the way we approached every game this year.”