Towson’s season ends at JMU
Towson (25-30, 8-11 CAA) ended its season at the hands of the James Madison Dukes (29-24, 15-5 CAA) in the 11th inning Saturday, losing a two-run lead in the tenth inning en route to a 7-6 loss at Memorial Park in Harrisonburg, Va.
On a day where Towson pitcher Kate Lingmai became the first pitcher in school history to record 200 strikeouts, the Tigers lost the decisive game in dramatic fashion.
After two losses in Friday’s double header, the Tigers found themselves tied with Delaware for the last spot in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
Delaware won in walk-off fashion, putting the pressure on Towson to clinch a postseason berth. The teams were tied 3-3 after seven innings, exchanging runs in the ninth inning,
Towson scored two runs in the tenth, but James Madison responded with two runs of its own and another in the 11th inning to take the game.
“Unfortunately we just couldn’t get everything going at once,” senior outfielder Brianna Jones said. “We never had our pitching, hitting and fielding all synced together to help us get the big games that we needed.”
After a scoreless first inning, James Madison tallied a run off of Lingmai in the second inning.
Towson needed to answer the Dukes’ rally and got one in the third inning. But two outs had gone by in the inning before the Tigers could muster up any offense.
Junior outfielder Kelli Lyons got to James Madison’s Lindsey Tomasz for the first time in the game, hitting a home run over the left field fence. The game remained tied going into the fourth inning after a quiet bottom frame.
“I am extremely proud of the way this team fought and kept fighting the entire time,” Jones said. “We had a rough season but when it came down to it no one wanted to end the season without giving it their all no matter what the outcome.”
Both teams tallied two more runs in the fourth, keeping the third inning’s momentum going.
Down 3-1 in the fourth, it did not take long for James Madison to cut the Towson lead. After a fly out to begin the inning, James Madison’s Megan Shinaberry homered to left field to cut the lead to one run.
After the busy first four innings, the pitchers took over. Both Lingmai and Tomasz were strong after the fourth inning, combining for only two hits through the seventh inning.
With their CAA tournament berth on the line, the Tigers were headed for extra innings. The eighth passed with all six batters retired in order.
The ninth inning featuring both teams scoring, but neither could take the game. With one out in the inning, Jones homered to center field, giving Towson the lead again.
James Madison began the bottom of the frame with Shinaberry’s double, putting the tying run on second base. After Tomasz advance her to third, Butler singled to save the game for the Dukes.
At 4-4, the game entered a 10th inning. Both teams exchanged runs in the inning, extending the game even further.
Junior catcher Jillian Donnelly walked to begin the inning and advanced to second on a Lyons sacrifice bunt. Seniors first baseman Andrea Stevenson and second baseman Haley Stueckler walked consecutively, which loaded the bases for freshman infielder Hailey Balk with one out.
With a 2-0 count, Balk singled to right field, scoring Stevenson and freshman Emily Miller to give Towson a two-run lead. Stueckler advanced to third on the play, but senior outfielder Erika Stasch struck out and Jones grounded out to end the rally.
Faced with a two-run deficit, James Madison responded with two singles to begin the frame. A walk loaded the bases with no outs, which led to two consecutive sacrifice fly outs to tie the game.
In the 11th inning, sophomore third baseman Delanie Dunham earned a walk, but Towson could not take advantage. This gave the Dukes a chance to win in the bottom frame.
James Madison tallied two straight one-out singles off of Lingmai, who had pitched the entire game to that point. James Madison’s Haley Widner represented the game-winning run on second base when Caitlin Sandy came to the plate.
Caitlin Sandy hit the ball to second, but a throwing error by Towson allowed her to advance to first and Widner to come home to score the game-winning run.
“We knew we had to win the game on Saturday and we weren’t going to go down without a fight,” Jones said. “Our team fought until the end and I am extremely proud of this team and how much heart they gave in the game.”