JMU softball (18-6, 1-1 CAA) opened its conference schedule with a doubleheader split against Elon (17-11, 1-1 CAA), defeating the Phoenix 13-2 in six innings in Game 1 and falling 5-3 in Game 2. To finish the day, with a loss, snapped a 10-game winning streak, the Dukes’ first regular season CAA loss since falling to the College of Charleston on April 15, 2018.
JMU scored 13 runs off 17 hits in Game 1, putting up three runs in the bottom of the fifth and five runs in the sixth. JMU’s offense was powered by redshirt senior Megan Good’s two-homer, seven-RBI performance.
“She didn’t try to do too much,” head coach Loren LaPorte said. “When our hitters do that, we’re fine. But when we start doing things we don’t teach and we don’t talk about, then that’s we’re we get in trouble, that’s where we hit the balls we don’t usually hit.”
In addition to Good’s two home runs in Game 1, sophomore infielder Sara Jubas went yard with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first to give the Dukes an early 1-0 lead.
Junior pitcher/infielder Odicci Alexander started in the circle for the Dukes in Game 1. She lasted 1.2 innings, allowing two runs on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The only runs she gave up came in the top of the second, when Elon senior catcher/utility Callie Horn launched a two-run home run to left field. Sophomore pitcher Payton Buresch earned the victory in relief of Alexander, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing a hit and a walks with two strikeouts.
“Honestly, I think my teammates had a lot to do with [helping me in relief],” Buresch said. “Just because they kept that confidence on me and kept talking to me throughout the whole game, they just made sure I had the best mindset possible when I came in.”
In Game 2, Elon’s redshirt junior pitcher/outfielder Elise Walton earned the victory. She pitched a complete game and allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts.
Good started in the circle for the Dukes in the second game. The Phoenix’s bats hit Good early, when senior infielder Ashtyn Foddrell smacked a two-run to left to make it 2-0. The following inning, Horn hit a RBI triple to extend the lead to 3-0. Good finished in 3.1 innings with four strikeouts and five hits on five earned runs.
JMU battled back late in the game to make it 5-3, as junior infielder Madison Naujokas hit an RBI single in the bottom of the third and Jubas drove in a run with an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. JMU failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position for most of the game, however, leaving 10 runners on base.
“That’s something that we usually don’t leave on,” LaPorte said. “Our 1-5 hitters hit it to the defense and didn’t do what we needed them to do. You know,, I was proud of some our hitters at the bottom lineup for getting in base, so we you know we just have those that need to step up, at the right time.”
JMU plays Elon in the final game of the series Sunday at noon. Although JMU lost its first conference game, it doesn’t feel pressure going into tomorrow’s series finale and will try to execute the game plan from the first game.
“No, I don’t think there’s any pressure,” Gordon said. “Tomorrow’s a new day and the games like today are over, so I think that we focus on what we need to do to get better.”
Contact Jason Clampitt at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more softball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.