Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)
Bad weather – In Friday’s newsletter we said, “Bonus note: The weather for Sunday looks iffy. This could throw off the flow of the Regional final.”
Kudos to us for trusting the inconsistent Weather Channel app. Torrential rain kept the Dukes off the field Sunday for the Regional final. The Dukes and Wolverines will square off today at noon on ESPN2. If JMU wins, the two teams will play again 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Rewind – Let’s take a step back. JMU got here by beating DePaul 5-2 on Friday before losing to Michigan 1-0 in 12 innings in Saturday. The Dukes kept their season alive with a 3-0 win over DePaul on Friday night.
Game 1 – This was peak JMU. The Dukes beat DePaul 5-2 after trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. Sara Jubas tied the game with a homer before Kate Gordon added a two-run shot to help the Dukes pull away. The pitching was solid and the Dukes hit home runs. That’s JMU softball.
Game 2 – There’s a lot to unpack with this one. Megan Good threw over 180 (!) pitches in the loss. She threw 11 shutout innings before finally allowing a run with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning.
- Mistakes – JMU played well enough to win, but the Dukes also made too many mistakes. The Dukes struggled on the bases and had way too many passed balls. Michigan won by playing stellar defense and executing in a clutch spot. The Wolverines looked like the slightly better team.
- Missed call – The Dukes had a solid rally going in the 12th inning before an outrageously bad call. Sara Jubas laid down a bunt with a runner on first and no outs. She beat the throw to first but was called out. Instead of having runners on first and second base with no outs, JMU had a runner on second base and one out. If Jubas was called safe, the Dukes could’ve bunted the runners to second and third base. Granted, that would’ve required a solid bunt from Kierstin Roadcap, but it was still a missed call that changed the game.
- JMU’s offense sputtered – The Dukes failed to score in 12 innings. Enough said.
Game 3 – JMU looked tired and not all that excited to be playing in Saturday’s second game. Can you blame the Dukes? After losing in 12 innings they had to play a DePaul team they beat just one day before. That’s frustrating.
JMU got over the frustration to beat the Blue Demons 3-0. DePaul loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh before Payton Buresch struck out the final batter. Bringing in Buresch in the first place was a questionable decision by head coach Loren LaPorte, but it worked out. Odicci Alexander had been cruising through 6 1/3 innings. Kate Gordon hit two homers in the win and Roadcap added one as well.
Michigan rematch – It won’t be easy, but the Dukes are capable of beating Michigan. For that to happen, JMU’s offense needs to wake up. JMU is averaging eight runs per game this season, but only has eight total runs through three Regional games. That needs to change for JMU to have any chance.