Dukes Split Sunday to Take Series Against Lafayette

By  | 

HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- The James Madison baseball team split the Sunday doubleheader against the Lafayette Leopards to improve to 6-1 on the season. The Dukes dropped the first game 9-6, before rebounding in game two scoring six in the second inning in route to a 14-4 victory in the night cap. Brett Ayer picked up his second win of the season in game two, improving to 2-0 on the season. Brady Harju posted the first home run for the Dukes this season and collected three RBIs on the day.

JMU will host one final game at home in the month of February on Tuesday against VMI, before heading out to Louisville to face off against the No. 8 ranked Louisville Cardinals.

GAME ONE

GAME FACTS
- JMU used seven pitchers in the first game of the series on a very windy afternoon at VMP.
- Brady Harju collected two RBIs in game one, one of five Dukes to do so in the front half of the doubleheader.
- Nick Stewart went 4.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and struck out six.
- The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for JMU and was the first of the season.
- It was only the second time this season that the Dukes trailed at any point in a ballgame.

SCORING SUMMARY
Top 3rd| JMU 0 – LAF 2 | Lafayette took an early 2-0 lead when they homered to left center field.
Top 5th| JMU 0 – LAF 3 | The Leopards added a third in the top half of the fifth increasing their lead to 3-0 on a bunt single to third.
Bottom 5th| JMU 2 – LAF 3 | Brady Harju doubled to left center scoring Michael Morgan and Fox Semones. The Dukes cut the lead to 3-2 heading to the sixth.
Top 6th| JMU 2 – LAF 6 | Lafayette stretched their lead to 6-2, collecting a couple of hard infield singles.
Bottom 6th| JMU 5 – LAF 6 |The Dukes answered in the bottom half of the sixth, cutting the lead to 6-5. Kyle Hayes, Nick Zona and Conor Hartigan all singled scoring JMU baserunners in the frame.
Top 7th| JMU 5 – LAF 7 | The Leopards continued to increase their lead in the seventh adding to the scoring on a single to left.
Bottom 7th| JMU 6 – LAF 7 | Harry Brown doubled to right center in the bottom half of the frame, scoring Trevon Dabney.
Top 8th| JMU 6 – LAF 8 | Lafayette added another run in the eighth on a single to right.
Top 9th| JMU 6 – LAF 9 |The Leopards closed the door in the top half of the ninth, homering to left to push the score to 9-6.

GAME TWO

GAME FACTS
- Brett Ayer picked up his second victory of the season, taking over for Joe Williams in the fifth and finishing the game for the Dukes.
- Brady Harju picked up the first home run for JMU this season, smashing a ball to center field and increasing the Dukes lead in the fifth.
- Ayer and Williams combined for 14 strikeouts on the night, increasing the JMU pitching staff's total to 89 on the season. Ayer currently leads the team with 19 strikeouts in three appearances.
- Michael Morgan and Conor Hartigan lead James Madison in the second game with three RBIs a piece in route to a 14-4 victory.

SCORING SUMMARY
Top 1st| JMU 0 – LAF 1 | Lafayette scored early to take a 1-0 lead after they homered to right center to start the ballgame.
Bottom 2nd| JMU 6 – LAF 1 | JMU exploded for six runs in the second inning of the night cap. Kyle Novak drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game before Morgan singled through the right side to score two. Moments later the wind carried a fly ball to the wall allowing Hartigan to triple, clearing the bases and giving the Dukes a 6-1 lead.
Top 3rd| JMU 6 – LAF 4 | Lafayette chipped away at the scoring in the third, collecting three runs to make the score 6-4.
Bottom 4th| JMU 7 – LAF 4 | Morgan doubled to right field allowing Kyle Novak to score increasing the Dukes lead to 7-4.
Bottom 5th| JMU 9 – LAF 4 | Harju homered to center field to start the inning and Novak would follow a couple of batters later, singling up the middle to score Harry Brown.
Bottom 7th| JMU 13 – LAF 4 | The Dukes added another four runs in the seventh when Fox Semones singled to left field. Dom Cepullio joined the part singling to center allowing Semones and Nick Zona to score.
Bottom 8th| JMU 14 – LAF 4 | JMU capped off their scoring off of a Dallas Jackson groundout. Tre would come around to score and the Dukes would defeat the Leopards 14-4.

WHAT COACH IKE HAD TO SAY
"The first game might have been one of the most bizzar baseball games I have ever coached in. We left a lot of guys on base and were unable to get the big hit when we needed it most. I was pleased with how our guys came out and responded in game two. The wind was defiantly playing a roll all day. The biggest thing I got out of tonight was how we handled the adversity of losing our first game this season and responding in a big way putting up 14 runs in the second game. Brett came out of the bullpen in the fifth and threw zeros to end the game. We were able to keep extending the lead and the bats really came alive."

UP NEXT
The Dukes will host VMI on Tuesday, February 26 at 3:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.