WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — Second-seeded James Madison banged out 16 hits to wipe out an early 6-3 deficit and roll to a 13-7 victory over No. 3 UNCW in a winner’s bracket game of the CAA Baseball Championship Friday at Brooks Field.
The Dukes, ranked 30th nationally, improved to 39-17 overall and stands as the lone unbeaten unit in the four-team tournament with the convincing win. JMU advanced to the CAA championship game on Saturday against the winner of Friday night’s late pairing between top-seeded Old Dominion and the Seahawks.
UNCW, now 31-27, battles ODU at 7:15 p.m. and the winner must knock off the Dukes twice on Saturday to claim the title.
CAA Player-of-the-Year Jake Lowery went 4-for-5 and scored three runs and second-teamer Johnny Bladel went 4-for-5 and scored four times to pace the Dukes. Senior shortstop David Herbek added a pair of hits and five runs batted in for JMU.
Senior lefthander James Weiner picked up the win in relief for JMU after working two innings and allowing just one run on three hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three of the nine batters he faced.
Junior righty Tyler McSwain took the loss for UNCW. He surrendered nine runs – seven earned – on 11 hits, walking one and fanning three.
Sophomore outfielder Michael Bass and junior third baseman Matt Campbell had two hits apiece for the Seahawks, who blanked Old Dominion, 7-0, in Thursday’s second game.
Trailing 6-3 in the day’s second game, JMU pushed across three runs in the fourth and fifth innings and then pulled away with a four-run outburst in the eighth inning to become the first No. 1 seed to reach the championship game since 2003.
In Friday’s opener, ODU stayed alive with a 7-3 decision over fourth-seeded Georgia State.