JMU Drops Heartbreaker, 9-6, to NC State Saturday Afternoon

Brett Ayer walks off the field after three straight strikeouts to escape a jam against No. 16 N.C. State. (Photo Courtesy: ACC Network Extra)
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RALEIGH, N.C. (JMU Athletics) -- The James Madison baseball team took a 5-4 lead into the eighth inning, but could not hang on and fell ,9-6, to the No. 16 NC State Wolfpack Saturday afternoon.
Senior Brett Ayer (0-1) came out of the bullpen for JMU (0-2) and took the loss. Freshman Hunter Entsminger was a bright spot for the Dukes, coming out of the bullpen as well and throwing 2.1 shutout innings, allowing three hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.
In the batter's box, the Dukes were led by freshman Chase DeLauter, who went 3-for-4 on the day with a walk and three RBIs. Sophomore Kyle Novak put together a standout day at the plate as well, going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Senior DaVonn Griffin also helped out for JMU, putting together two hits in two trips to the plate while adding a walk.
Trailing 4-0 after the first two innings, the Dukes had a big, four run inning in the third to tie the game. After DeLauter scored the first run of the game for the Dukes, Novak lauched a two-run double into right field. They would score a fourth run on a strikeout passed ball.
The game remained tied until the very next inning, when the Dukes got going again on offense. JMU scored once on an RBI single off the bat of DeLauter, which brought the Dukes lead to 5-4.
JMU kept NC State quiet over the next four innings before adding another run in the eighth inning to make the score 6-4. The Dukes picked up a run when DeLauter drew a walk that scored senior Fox Semones. NC State however put together a five run inning in the bottom half of the eighth, to take the game 9-6.
» DeLauter led the Dukes, amassing three hits in the ballgame.
» Ayer and Entsminger both struck out five NC State hitters .
» JMU's highest scoring inning was the third, when it pushed four runs across.
» Four JMU hitters had multiple base hits in the ballgame.
» JMU went 4-for-11 (.364) with runners in scoring position.
» NC State was led offensively by junior Austin Murr, who went 3-for-5 with a double, a home run
"I'm proud of our guys for coming back and tying the game up in the third, taking the lead, and then extending it later on in the eighth," said head coach Marlin Ikenberry. "I thought overall we played well. We just gave NC State too many opportunities in the eighth. We needed to play better defense in the eighth to minimize the big inning. Hunter Entsminger was exceptional in his first collegiate appearance and Brett Ayer was outstanding. Chase DeLauter, Kyle Novak, and DaVonn Griffin all had big at bats for us and this game will be a game we can learn from moving forward."
The Dukes are back in action tomorrow, Sunday, February 16, when they finish their series with NC State. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.