Blue Hens Use First, Sixth Inning Rallies To Defeat James Madison, 7-4, and Salvage Final Game of Weekend Series
April 15, 2012
File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The University of Delaware softball team scored four runs in the first inning and three in the sixth as the Blue Hens salvaged the final game of the weekend series with a 7-4 win over James Madison Sunday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Blue Hens, who posted their highest run total in a Colonial Athletic Association game this season, improved to 10-35-1 overall and 3-9 in league play. James Madison, which had a 12-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 24-21 overall and 10-2 in the conference.
Delaware, which was shutout twice by the Dukes on Saturday while collecting just five hits on the day, took advantage of a new batting order to explode for four runs during the top of the first inning on Sunday.
Michelle McKinnon opened the game by getting hit by a pitch, and one out later Jessica Grisler (at right) worked a walk. After a double steal moved the runners to second and third, Morgan Culver singled to rightfield to drive home McKinnon and put the Blue Hens on the board. Grisler then crossed the plate when Lara Andrews legged out a bunt single, and one out later Marisa Newman delivered a two-run double to rightcenter to give Delaware an early four-run lead.
The Dukes got a run back in the bottom half when Morgan Heath led off with a double to leftcenter and scored on a two-out single to leftcenter by Haley Johnson. Sarah Mooney then singled to center as James Madison looked for more, but Blue Hen starter Hannah Rust got Caitlin Sandy to bounce into a fielder’s choice to escape further damage.
The Dukes then loaded the bases in the second, but again Rust worked out of trouble by getting Ashley Burnham to ground out to third to end the inning. However after UD relief pitcher Chenxi Jiao stranded two runners in the third, Jasmine Butler drilled a solo homer to leftcenter in the fourth as James Madison pulled within 4-2.
After seeing their lead cut in half, the Blue Hens extended the advantage to five by pushing across three runs during the top of the sixth. Delaware loaded the bases with nobody out when Newman was hit by a pitch, Jiao singled to right and Maggie Creciun (at left) beat out a bunt single, and one out later Alicea Coy worked a walk to force home pinch runner Rachel Jones. Mooney then replaced Reba DePriest in the circle for the Dukes but the first batter she faced was Grisler, who ripped a two-run double to leftcenter to make it a 7-2 game.
James Madison looked to answer back in the bottom of the frame as Anna Klumpp and Heath led off with singles, but Jiao retired the next three Dukes to keep the Blue Hen lead at five. Two JMU runs scored during the bottom of the seventh on a single by Cassidy Clayton, but Jiao then retired Heath on a popout to first base to end the game.
Jiao improved to 3-19 for the Blue Hens after allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits in the final five innings, while Rust was charged with one earned run on four hits in the first two frames.
Dukes starter Heather Kiefer dropped to 10-4 after giving up four earned runs on six hits during five innings in the circle, while DePriest surrendered three runs in a third of an inning.
Creciun went 2 for 3 with a run scored to lead the nine-hit Blue Hen attack while Grisler added a double, run scored, two RBI and a pair of walks.
The Blue Hens resume CAA action on Saturday with a 12 noon doubleheader against Georgia State at the UD Softball Stadium.
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