The Cavalier Daily
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Baseball falls to James Madison

HARRISONBURG-Playing in the beautiful March weather at Long Field/Mauck Stadium yesterday, the Virginia baseball team fell to a scorching James Madison squad that used a strong combination of speed and pitching to down the Cavs, 14-6.

The win was the Dukes' fifth straight. During the run, James Madison (12-6) has outscored its opposition, 63-16.

The game seemed to be a mismatch from the start as the Cavs (7-9-1) sent Tommy Keiper and his 8.49 ERA to the mound to duel Chris Cochran, JMU's top pitcher. Entering the game, the freshman righthander boasted a 1.88 ERA and opponents were hitting only .176 against him. By comparison, Keiper's opponents had hit .347, a mark that only got worse as the game progressed.

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  • "Our starting pitching did not have a good day," Virginia Coach Dennis Womack said. "If you don't pitch and field well, most of the time you're going to get whipped. Somebody's going to beat up on you."

    The Dukes' superior speed on the bases baffled the Virginia defense in the early innings. James Madison, which ranked second in the nation in stolen bases last season, swiped seven bags yesterday to bring its season total to 69.

    "We didn't control the running game the way we could," Cav catcher Mark Rueffert said. "They exploited it pretty much the whole game."

    James Madison speedster Brent Metheny led the attack with three steals. The freshman infielder, who moonlights as a relief pitcher, also registered three hits and three RBIs for Coach Spanky McFarland's squad.

    "He's really come on for us," McFarland said of Metheny. "He's also got a couple of wins on the mound for us."

    Down 14-4 in the ninth, Virginia mounted a small comeback behind Wyant and shortstop Tim LaVigne, but it was too little too late. Wyant, who registered a career-high four hits, doubled and scored on a Jon Benick sacrifice fly. Two batters later, LaVigne launched a solo home run over the centerfield wall 400 feet away.

    But with the exception of the final inning, the Duke pitching kept the Virginia bats in check. James Madison lefthander Jake Gaiser (1-0) threw three innings in relief and allowed only one run to take the win. Rick McKernan relieved him to start the eighth and struck out the side.

    As if losing weren't enough for the Cavs, they also lost starting second baseman Luis Giraldo to a pulled hamstring in the top of the second inning. Womack said Giraldo's injury is unpredictable and he is listed as day-to-day.


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