Terps Top Madison, 10-5
Seven-Run Inning Dooms Dukes, Who Are Off To Another Slow Start
Posted: February 28, 2013
HARRISONBURG — Ben Garner was in and out of trouble through the first four innings Wednesday afternoon. The James Madison pitcher allowed runners in every inning but minimized damage and made it to the fifth inning.
But that was as far as he and the Dukes got.
LaMonte Wade had a bases-loaded triple to blow open what had been a close game and power a seven-run inning to lead Maryland to a 10-5 win over JMU on a cold day at Veterans Memorial Park.
“It looked like they were having trouble hitting my slider,” said Garner, a 6-foot, 175-pound right-hander who fell to 0-1. “That’s always usually there, usually a struggle for the hitters. I struggled with the changeup a little bit and leaving pitches up, but they’re an aggressive team, so when you leave pitches up, they crush them.”
JMU, which had won six of eight against Maryland, never recovered after the top of the fifth. The Dukes, now 2-6 and off to a slow start for a second consecutive season, had only one hit — a double from Johnny Bladel — in the fifth through the eighth innings. They went just 1-for-13 during that span.
Madison came alive only in the bottom of the ninth, scoring two late runs on a pinch-hit triple by Tyler Gregory and an error by Maryland second baseman Kyle Convissar. But the rally died shortly after when hard-throwing 6-4, 202-pound Terps closer Jake Stinnett, who, with the radar guns and video cameras of the five or so scouts aimed at him, got Ty McFarland to ground out with the bases loaded to end the game.
Chad Carroll led the Dukes, going 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, which came on a groundout to the shortstop in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3. He also scored on Gregory’s triple in the ninth.
“I felt like I’ve been swinging pretty good up until last game — I didn’t swing too hot — but I’ve been in the cage with coaches and everything,” Gregory said. “They just put me in a situation they feel like I can have success in. He was trying to throw it by guys, so I knew a fastball was coming. He left it in a little bit over the plate, and I just went with it.”
Casey Goss went 1-for-4 with two RBIs, both coming on a single in the second inning that tied the game at 2-2. He also hit the groundball to Convissar in the ninth to help the too-short rally.
“Just came down to one big inning,” said Goss, a senior second baseman. “… But we battled back toward the end. But the main thing is, when we get down like that, we need to have a sense of urgency and come back in the next inning and scratch and claw our way back instead of waiting till the ninth inning to try to make a run.”
Garner went four innings and gave up five runs (all earned) and six hits on 75 pitches. But the sophomore struck out six. He came out after the first two batters of the fifth reached on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
After that, JMU burned two pitchers in the inning before finally getting out of it, trailing 10-3. The Terrapins (5-3) — picked to finish fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s six-team Atlantic division — sent 11 men to the plate and scored all seven runs before Madison recorded an out.
Blake Schmit led Maryland, going 2-for-3 with three runs and a solo home run off the foul pole in left field in the second inning that put the Terps ahead 2-0.
Madison coach Spanky McFarland said pitching has been the Dukes’ biggest issue this season — an issue the 16th-year coach hopes to have fixed when Colonial Athletic Association play starts March 8 against Hofstra. JMU’s team ERA is 5.29, but of the three starters who have started two games, all of them have ERAs over 8.22.
“We haven’t been able to get much consistency,” McFarland said. “Our pitchers have been up and down. A lot of good spots, but then, just really haven’t been real consistent, yet. Hopefully, that’s the kind of thing that will get better with time out there, so we’ll just keep running guys out there. At some point — the season’s young — we’ll figure out what we’re gonna do. We’ve got to have all this pitching stuff straightened out by conference time.”
Maryland 110 170 000 – 10 10 1
James Madison 020 100 002 – 5 7 1
Drossner, Ruse (5), Hatch (7), Price (9), Stinnett (9) and Cleary, Martir; Garner, Hoover (5), Cundiff (5), Roberts (6), Huffman (7), Gunst (9) and San Martin. W—Ruse (2-0). L—Garner (0-1). Sv—Stinnett (1). HRs—Maryland: Schmit (1).