The Dukes have begun 2019 with an undefeated record. Sitting at 4-0 on the season, the players in purple and gold have proven worthy of recognition on both sides of the ball. James Madison pitchers have surrendered just 28 hits in 36 innings, while batters have produced 44 hits in four fewer innings.
Of course, we have to take into account that the long homestand to begin the season is a part of the machine that has fueled two double-digit victories so far, but this is nothing that should be held against the Dukes of JMU.
With the away game versus Richmond Tuesday being postponed due to inclement weather, another four games of baseball are scheduled at Veterans Memorial Park before bags have to be thrown on the bus en route to Louisville.
With a mixture of vets and noobs, this team has truly shown their capabilities. Even though we are less than one-sixth of the way through the season, the freshman batters are in charge. Infielder Trevon Dabney is first in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in runs batted in (7), second in hits (7), and tied for fifth in batting average (.500). Infielder and right-handed pitcher Nick Zona is tied for fifth in hits (6).
Dabney's efforts this past week have earned him Player of the Week honors in the conference.
A number of JMU pitchers have been unstoppable in the small sample of innings pitched in the season so far. Junior starting pitcher Kevin Kelly and relief pitcher Brett Ayer have combined for 9.1 innings pitched and have collectively struck out 18, allowed seven hits and have not let one runner cross home plate. Brett Ayer leads the CAA in strikeouts (11).
Sophomore Michael Morgan is tied for first in the conference in runs scored (7). This statistic is awesome, Morgan has scored almost 20% of the runs scored this entire season. He is tied for first (with Dabney) in total bases (11) and is tied for first in triples (2). Morgan is also tenth in slugging percentage (.688).
Junior first baseman Brady Harju has also made his mark on the season. Harju is tied for first with Morgan in runs scored (7), which means that these two upperclassmen have scored nearly 40% of all the runs scored this season. Harju is also tied for second in doubles (3).
The Dukes host the Lafayette Leopards starting Fri. Feb 22 at 3 pm. The Leopards are 0-3 on the season, scoring just two runs in a three-game series in which Elon scored 22 total. In a limited sample size and a poor first series, it is no surprise that Lafayette has a team batting average of .100 and a team earned run average of 7.13.
With this first series sparking an upsetting start to the season for the Leopards, Duke fans should keep in mind that no team should be underestimated in college baseball.