James Madison became the first team ever to shutout Cal State Fullerton in back-to-back home games. Yes, the first team ever.
In fact, the Titans have had a very impressive history. Since being introduced to Division 1 baseball in 1975, Cal State has never finished a season with a losing record. Their program is considered as one of the best Division I programs in college baseball history. With an invitation to every single NCAA Tournament since 1992, the Titans have appeared in 18 College World Series with four national titles (1979, 1984, 1995 and 2004).
Winning this series is a major boost for the Dukes who have already played solid baseball in 23 games. More than 2,500 miles from home, JMU scored half as many runs than the Titans on the series, but still left the west coast on the victorious side of the story. Our purple and gold scored six while Cal scored 12. But those 12 were just in the final game, as I said previously, JMU pitched two combined shutouts to begin the series.
On Friday, the Dukes plated one in the top of the first inning on a ground ball struck through the whole on the left side by Fox Semones and that was enough to pick up the first shutout win. Starting pitcher, Kevin Kelly, threw for 5.2 innings with six strikeouts to improve his win-loss record to 4-1. Shelton Perkins came in to relieve Kelly and he was nearly perfect — pitching three and a third, striking out six and allowing just one hit.
Collectively, both managed to keep the Titans at zero even when they had four batters reach third and four batters reach second in nine innings. Thankfully, when your team is playing good ball, one run in the first 10 minutes of the usual three hours could be enough to pick up the 'W.'
In Game 2, freshman Trevon Dabney scored both runs. Like the night before, he scored on a ground ball to the left side in the top of the first. Then in the sixth, he launched a homer to left. Responsible for all three runs scored in the first two games of the series in addition to his performance the entire week, Dabney earned his second Colonial Athletic Association player of the week honor.
Nick Stewart started the contest and pitched five full on four hits. Brett Ayer relieved Stewart in the sixth and pitched three full with three strikeouts on one hit. Finally, Nick Robertson struck out two in the ninth to pick up his fifth save of the year.
To close out the series, the Dukes surrendered 12 runs on 14 hits and took the loss 12-3.
The Dukes return home to play Delaware in their first CAA series of the season. The 'Fightin Blue Hens are sitting at the bottom of the CAA at 4-15. Yet to win an away game on the season, Delaware also has not played a CAA matchup in 2019. This rivalry runs deep; from football and basketball, to lacrosse and soccer, and conference matchups are always competitive.
Tune in to MadiZone at 4 pm on Friday to catch the Dukes battle it out with Delaware.