Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)
Weekend sweep – JMU (23-6, 5-1 CAA) took three games from Towson over the weekend.
Game 1 – JMU beat Towson 5-1 in the first game of the series. Odicci Alexander pitched an inning before yielding to Payton Buresch. We’ll get to Alexander’s status in a minute. With Alexander out, Buresch stepped up. She tossed the final six innings allowing just an unearned run and striking out four. It was a solid performance from the sophomore. Megan Good and Kierstin Roadcap both knocked in two runs.
Game 2 – JMU beat Towson 4-0 behind timely hitting and a great pitching effort from Good. She threw seven shutout innings, gave up one hit and two walks. She added eight strikeouts.
Game 3 – JMU beat Towson 6-0 in nine innings. The game was scoreless through eight before the Dukes broke it open. I guess Good’s dominant Saturday performance wasn’t good enough for her. She was unreal on Sunday, striking out a program-record 17 batters across nine shutout innings.
Across the entire weekend, Good threw 16 shutout innings, allowed just three hits and struck out 25 batters. Wow.
Odicci Alexander’s status – I haven’t seen any media attention or news from JMU sports about Odicci Alexander, but the junior pitcher left after pitching the first inning of the first game and didn’t play the rest of the series. That leads me to believe there’s some sort of injury, but I’m sure someone will inquire about Alexander’s status this week. That’s worth watching moving forward. JMU needs both Good and Alexander healthy to be competitive in the NCAA Tournament.
Building a resume – JMU’s schedule places it in a difficult position nationally. The Dukes want to earn a top-16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and they’ll be in contention all season. The difficulty comes with the schedule. Power 5 teams are going to rack up top-50 RPI wins that the committee loves, while the Dukes’ schedule leaves a bit to be desired.
JMU needs top-50 RPI wins to really boost its resume. Unfortunately, teams like Towson, Elon, Hofstra, Liberty, Duke and Virginia are all competitive squads left on the schedule, but they fall closer to the 75-135 RPI range. This means the wins aren’t easy, but losses might actually look bad on the resume. It’s a tough position.
Moving forward, JMU just needs to keep winning. Two games against Virginia Tech on April 10 are going to be crucial. The Hokies are well within the RPI top 50. A sweep there would bolster the Dukes’ resume.
Up next – JMU hosts Liberty (23-13) on Wednesday before a three-game road series with Hofstra (15-15, 3-3 CAA).