Dukes Split with Phoenix in CAA Opening Doubleheader

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- On the opening day of Colonial Athletic Association action, No. 19 James Madison split its doubleheader with Elon, defeating the Phoenix 13-2 in six innings before falling 5-3 in the second game on Saturday afternoon.

JMU snapped its 10-game win streak as the Dukes move to 18-6 on the season and Elon slides to 17-11 overall while both teams have a 1-1 start in conference play.

On the first pitch of the game, sophomore Sara Jubas gave the Dukes an early 1-0 lead as she hit a long ball over the right field wall. Hannah File followed with a single to left and would score later in the frame on a passed ball, giving JMU a 2-0 advantage.

Elon made it a 2-2 game in the second with a two-run homer by Callie Horn, but those were the only two runs the Phoenix would put on the board. The Dukes added two more runs in the third as Megan Good wacked a two-run shot to right field (5-2).

A double from Kierstin Roadcap brought another Duke across the plate in the fourth before the Dukes would tack on three runs on three hits in the fifth frame (8-2). Good secured the JMU win with her second grand slam of the season as the Dukes would win 13-2 in six innings.

With two home runs on the day, Good is only seven shy of passing Jailyn Ford, the all-time home run leader, with 46.

Junior Odicci Alexander got the start in the circle, pitching 1 2/3 innings before giving up two earned runs. Sophomore Payton Buresch entered in the second frame where she would only give up one hit for her second win of the season (2-1).

The Dukes' offense was limited to three runs on six hits in game two as JMU scored single runs in the third, fourth and sixth frames.

Elon got out to an early 2-0 lead in the first with a two RBI home run to left field. The Phoenix expanded their lead to 3-0 after a triple in the top of the second (3-0). Jubas reached on a fielder's choice in the third and tagged on a ball sent to left by Alexander, putting the first run on the board for JMU (3-1).

The Phoenix added two more in the fourth, but the Dukes answered as Sydney LaScola scored on a single to right field by Madison Naujokas (5-2). A big double by Jubas in the sixth scored Roadcap, closing in on Elon's 5-3 advantage. JMU looked for a late surge in the final frame, but left two runners on to fall 5-3 to the Phoenix.

Good picked up her fifth loss of the season (7-5) after giving up five hits through 3 2/3 innings. Buresch made another relief appearance in the circle, holding the Phoenix to only five hits while picking up a season-high four strikeouts.

"We need to focus on coming out with intensity from the start. We were able to bounce back in the first game with a strong effort, but we couldn't recover or gain momentum in game two. It's a lesson to learn from moving forward as we face other tough teams in the league."

The Dukes are back in action tomorrow as they look to take the series from the Phoenix. First pitch is set for noon at Veterans Memorial Park.