No. 25 JMU softball falls to No. 21 Kentucky

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CLEARWATER, Fla. - After three Wildcat runs in the fifth inning, No. 25 James Madison was unable to overcome No. 21 Kentucky, dropping a 6-1 decision on Sunday in the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational.

In their opening weekend, the Dukes compiled a 3-2 record while Kentucky improved to 6-5.

Sophomore Hannah File led the Dukes at the plate, recording on two of JMU’s three hits in the game. She singled up the middle in the bottom of the second inning and was followed by junior Natalie Cutright who doubled to the wall in center field. A passed ball sent File home to give JMU a 1-0 lead.

With bases loaded in the fifth, Kentucky’s Alex Martens cleared the bases with a triple to right field, giving the Wildcats the 3-1 edge. With the triple, redshirt senior Megan Good received her first loss on the season (2-1) and junior Odicci Alexander took over in the circle.

The Dukes were unable to get the bats going, but the Wildcats hit two home runs in the seventh to expand their lead to 6-1. Freshman Lexi Lomax halted the Kentucky threat, catching a line drive at third and throwing out the runner at first for the double play.

Between Good, Alexander and sophomore Payton Buresch, the JMU pitching unit gave up six hits while tallying six strikeouts.

“We knew today was going to be a tough game against a Kentucky team, but I felt like our girls weren’t gritty enough to get the win. We played a lot of good, nationally ranked teams this weekend and I think this will help our team down the road this season.”

JMU will travel to Greenville, N.C. on Friday, Feb. 22 to face Seton Hall, Boston College and East Carolina in the Pirate Invitational. The tournament will last until Sunday, Feb 24.