JMU Softball Wins CAA Championship Beating Towson 8-0Posted: Updated:
HARRISONBURG, Va. – Senior Jailyn Ford tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts as top-seeded James Madison shut out second-seeded Towson 8-0 in the decisive game of the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Softball Championship on Friday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU captured its third CAA title in program history and improved to 46-4 for the season, extending an active winning streak to six games. With the victory, the Dukes earned the league’s automatic qualification to the 2016 NCAA Softball Championship. Towson fell to 37-17 with the loss.
Ford limited Towson to one hit in the third inning and one walk in six innings of work while striking out 11 of the 20 batters she faced. She improved to 17-2 on the season while lowering her ERA to 0.92. At the plate, she went 1-for-3 and drew the game-ending RBI walk in the bottom of the sixth.
Right fielder Taylor Newton had a game-high four RBIs on two hits, including a bases-clearing triple in the fifth inning that gave JMU a 6-0 lead.
JMU took command as it began its second time through the lineup in the third inning. After a single, sacrifice bunt and another single put runners on the corners, Morgan Tolle singled to left to plate the first run of the day. Ford reached on an error with two outs as the ball trickled away from the second baseman, allowing a run to score. The Dukes capped the three-run burst with an RBI single up the middle by Newton.
Newton’s three-run triple in the fifth doubled JMU’s run total to break the game open. A fourth run of the frame scored on an illegal pitch. In the sixth, the Dukes loaded the bases with no outs thanks to two walks and a single. Ford then walked on four pitches to clinch the run-rule decision.
Starting pitcher Jailyn Ford, the 2016 CAA Player of the Year, continued her recent strikeout tear. The 11 strikeouts in the game gave her 58 over her last six starts. It was her fourth double-digit strikeout effort during that stretch and second in as many starts in the tournament. Today’s performance gave her two one-hitters in her last three games. Ford pitched 13 full innings during the CAA Championship without allowing a run, yielding four hits and striking out 22 batters. She had allowed four runs, three earned, in her only appearance against Towson on April 2.
JMU – Jailyn Ford (Most Outstanding Player), Megan Good, Taylor Newton, Erica Field
Towson – Ambar Hickman, Brook Miko, Kendyl Scott
College of Charleston – Rebecca Mueller, Sara Garcia
Delaware – Hannah George
JMU dominated both in the circle and at the plate, leading the tournament with a .373 team batting average and a 0.78 team ERA. The other four teams in the field hit .237 with a 4.57 ERA. JMU outscored its competition 24-2 in the tournament. Jailyn Ford led all pitchers with 22 strikeouts while the other four teams combined to strike out 36 during the week. Elon’s Alaina Hall led the tournament in batting average, going 5-for-9 (.556). Jessica Mrozek had an efficient week, going 3-for-6 with four RBIs and a homer. Prince was third in total bases with eight.
The 2016 CAA Championship is the third in program history (2009, 2014) in six appearances in the title game and the second in Mickey Dean’s four seasons as head coach at James Madison. By claiming the CAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, the Dukes will be making their fourth straight NCAA appearance under Dean’s leadership.
NCAA Selection Show
The 2016 NCAA Division I Softball Championshp bracket will be revealed on Sunday, May 15 at 10 p.m. live on ESPNU. JMU will host a watch party at O’Neill’s Grill, open to the public. Regionals will be held May 20-22 at 16 campus sites with a few sites having live coverage on ESPN’s family of networks. The top eight teams in the 64-team bracket will be seeded with those teams hosting Super Regional sites should they advance from their regional.