Baseball: College takes 2 of 3 from JMU, goes to 8-4 in CAA

__Team has won 6 of its last 7 games; travels to Maryland today__

Last weekend the Tribe went on the road riding a four-game winning streak into Harrisonburg to face the James Madison University Dukes and came away successful, taking the series 2-1. The two wins push the College’s record to 15-12 overall and 8-4 in the CAA.

p. “Our offense was pretty relentless all weekend,” Head Coach Frank Leoni said. “We’re very happy with where we are offensively.”

p. The College stretched its winning streak to five games after defeating JMU 11-8 in the first contest. The Tribe broke through a 3-3 knot in the top of the sixth inning when senior designated hitter Brent McWhorter singled to score junior center fielder Paul Juliano. Senior third baseman Greg Sexton followed with a homer to left field, sending home McWhorter and junior catcher Tim Park.

p. The College also played big in the eighth, starting with a school record-breaking double from Sexton — the 60th double of his career. Junior left fielder Greg Maliniak capped the inning with a grand slam to put the Tribe ahead 11-5. The Dukes rallied in the ninth to bring in three runs, but they were unable to surpass the Tribe advantage. Junior Pete Vernon (4-2) earned the win in relief.

p. “Vernon did an outstanding job in relief for us,” Leoni said. “He came into a situation where we were ahead but JMU was making a comeback at the time and he delivered the victory.”

p. In the second game, JMU broke the Tribe winning streak by a score of 6-7. Freshman Kevin Landry (3-3) took the loss. The Tribe kicked off the contest with a strong 2-0 start as Park and second baseman McWhorter batted consecutive singles en route to scoring in the inning. Both Park and McWhorter smashed solo home runs in the third to push the Tribe lead to 4-0, but the College could not hold the advantage as the Dukes plated six in the next three innings. Sophomore right fielder Robbie Nickle doubled and scored in the eighth and McWhorter homered again in the ninth, but the effort was not enough to overtake the JMU lead. The Tribe finished with 10 hits and McWhorter went 3-for-5 on the day with two solo home runs, three runs scored, and a stolen base. McWhorter’s impressive weekend earned him the CAA Player of the Week award.

p. “McWhorter really carried the weekend for us, but it was a team effort away up and down the lineup,” Leoni said.

p. The Tribe ended the series against the Dukes with a 12-6 win in the third game, scoring in every inning but one. Junior Pat Kantakevich (2-0) pitched 6.2 innings and threw six strikeouts, and Vernon entered in relief totaling four strikeouts.

p. “Kantakevich pitched as well as I’ve seen him pitch since I’ve been here,” Leoni said.

p. The College started strong, bringing in four runs in the first. After Park was hit by a pitch, McWhorter doubled, and a double down the right field line from Sexton scored Park and McWhorter on an error. Sophomore first baseman Mike Sheridan singled, advancing Sexton to third. After Nickle drew a walk, Maliniak grounded into a double play and Sheridan advanced as Sexton scored.

p. Sheridan then scored on a double from sophomore shortstop Lanny Stanfield. JMU responded to the College’s 7-0 lead in the fourth with three runs, but Nickle led off with a home run to right field in the next inning to quiet the Dukes. The Tribe finished with 13 hits and seven stolen bases. Sexton led the Tribe going 3-for-4 with four RBI.

p. The College will face VMI at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m.


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