Dukes Rally, Beat Patriots in Midweek Clash in Harrisonburg

March 6 - Logan Driscoll connected on a three-run homer, but Fox Semones, Kyle Novak, Brady Harju and Kyle Hayes combined for seven hits and six RBI as James Madison spoiled Patrick Halligan’s second career start with a 10-7 win over George Mason yesterday in Harrisonburg.

The six players players were among the 11 from Northern Virginia high schools to take the field for the in-state rivals, who now link up each spring for a two-game home-and-home series played on weekdays after the Patriots left the Colonial Athletic Association for the Atlantic-10 Conference in 2013.

An RBI ground out by Novak (Madison), the 2018 NOVA Nine Player of the Year, and a two-run single by Semones (C.D. Hylton) helped the Dukes (8-4) build a 4-0 lead in the second inning on Halligan (Marshall), who was pulled after the third.

In the top of the third, Driscoll (Lake Braddock), who hit a walk-off homer to beat Princeton in the 10th inning on Sunday, cut Mason’s deficit to 4-3 with his third homer of the season in the third. The Patriots (6-4) then took a 5-4 lead the following inning when Scott Morgan (Woodbridge) scored on a passed ball and Cam Reckling came in on a wild pitch. They would extend their advantage to 7-4 in the sixth when Brady Klein singled home Reckling and Driscoll scored on a ground out by Tim Quinn.

The Dukes (8-4), who were swept in their three-game series at No. 14 Louisville last weekend, would rally behind a two-run single by Harju in the sixth and an RBI single by Novak in the seventh, then scored their final three runs on two wild pitches and an error to provide the game’s final margin. Pitchers from the two teams combined for six wild pitches on the afternoon.

"I was extremely pleased with how our guys responded to a tough weekend last week and being down,” JMU coach Marlin Ikenberry said in a release by the school. “I thought we hit the ball well today and I am pleased with the result … there are a lot of positives we can take out of this and use heading into the weekend."

Semones, Novak and Hayes (Madison) each had two hits for the Dukes, and Driscoll, Morgan and Daniel Brooks (Spotsylvania) had two apiece for Mason. The Patriots’ lineup also included left fielder Jared Lyons (West Springfield), with relievers James Price (Patriot) and Ryan Miles (Woodgrove) entering as the 10th and 11th players from Northern Virginia. Price was charged with the loss after surrendering three runs (two earned) in 1.1 innings.

Both teams will host non-conference series this weekend, with JMU welcoming High Point and Mason hosting Manhattan.

Photo of Fox Semones courtesy of JMU Athletics