No. 21 JMU softball defeats Marshall, 8-5

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Led by three players with multi-hit games, No. 21 James Madison softball defeated Marshall 8-5 on Wednesday evening at Veterans Memorial Park.

JMU improves to 20-6 (2-1 in CAA) while Marshall falls to 21-11.

The Thundering Herd took an early 2-0 lead with a home run to right center, but the Dukes answered in the bottom of the frame with three runs and two hits from juniors Kate Gordon and Odicci Alexander. Alexander helped her cause with a two-run shot over the center field wall to put JMU up 3-2 as she garnered her fifth of the season.

Kierstin Roadcap, Cambry Arnold and Madison Naujokas hit three straight singles to load the bases in the bottom of the fourth. Sara Jubas brought one run across the plate on a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Dukes a 4-2 lead.

Marshall rallied to take back the lead in the fifth, scoring three runs on back-to-back hit by pitches, two hits and a JMU error for a 5-4 lead. It’s was the Dukes’ turn to rally in the bottom of the frame as Megan Good doubled to left center. Logan Newton launched her sixth long ball of the season, ripping a two-run homer to right center for a 6-5 advantage.

Still in the fifth, Roadcap drew a walk and earned her first stolen base of the season as she beat the throw at second. Arnold singled up the middle and a hit from Jubas brought Roadcap across the plate for a 7-5 JMU lead. The Dukes plated their final run in the sixth with an RBI single from Roadcap.

Alexander got the start in the circle and racked up six strikeouts through 4 2/3 innings in which she only gave up one earned run. Sophomore Payton Buresch took over in the top of the fifth, pitching 2 1/3 innings while only letting up two hits en route to her third win of the season.

“I don’t think we played our best today, but it’s important to get a win when you’re not at your best. Hard wins are good for the team mentally and I’m proud of our hitters for bouncing back when we were down today. We need to tighten up our defense and have the mindset of being ready after every pitch.”

The Dukes will travel to Towson for a Colonial Athletic Association series, starting with a doubleheader at noon on Saturday, March 30 at the Tigers Softball Complex.