Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)
Blowout wins – The Dukes (15-5) took care of business against a less-than-great schedule this weekend. JMU played St. Joseph’s, Rutgers, Binghamton and Morgan State. The Dukes won those games 14-2, 10-1, 15-0 and 15-1.
The schedule wasn’t difficult, but the Dukes looked good. Odicci Alexander, Megan Good and Payton Buresch all picked up wins in the circle.
The keys to success – The whole lineup is clicking, and Megan Good and Odicci Alexander are pitching like two of the country’s best pitchers. Alexander sits at 8-0 on the year with a 1.40 ERA, while Good is 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA. Payton Buresch allowed one run in five innings yesterday to drop her ERA to 3.09. She’s 1-1 and has only tossed 11 1/3 innings, but will provide rest to Alexander and Good against easier competition.
I’m most impressed with the lineup. Of the eight players meeting the minimum batting requirement on JMU softball’s web page, six of those hitters are hitting over .300. Megan Good and Kate Gordon both have 9 home runs, and the No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in JMU’s lineup are both batting over .435. From top to bottom, this lineup is really good. In previous seasons, the pitching has led JMU, but the hitting sometimes lagged behind. This year, the Dukes might have their best offensive team since the 2016 season. In 2016, the Dukes hosted a Super Regional and were one out away from the first College World Series appearance in program history.
Up next – Good and company travel to Longwood (14-9, 2-1 Big South) for a Wednesday doubleheader before hosting Elon (15-10-1) for a three-game series over the weekend. The series with the Phoenix starts the Dukes’ CAA schedule.