UL Softball Preview: James Madison
The 22nd-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team will take on the James Madison Dukes on Friday, in their second game in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida.
The Louisiana/James Madison match-up is scheduled for Friday at 1:30 pm (cdt).
James Madison, members of the Colonial Athletic Association, is 5-5 on the season, with single wins over Winthrop, Florida A&M, and Middle Tennessee, along with two over Illinois-Chicago, while suffering two losses to Georgia, and single setbacks to Winthrop, North Texas, and UCF.
Offensively, the Dukes are hitting a .258 with one home run and 29 RBI's, along with 16 stolen bases.
Sophomore second baseman Hannah Hayes leads the way for James Madison, hitting a .435 on the season. Hayes, who hit a .256 as a freshman, is a threat to run when she gets on base, swiping six bases in seven tries.
Sophomore Jailyn Ford, who is also the top pitcher for the Dukes, hit 15 homers a season ago, and it currently hitting a .333.
Last season, James Madison hit 48 home runs, but lost Sarah Mooney, who belted 17 last year, so they likely won't hit that many this year, but they will still run. They stole 139 bases last year, and with 16 in ten games this year, they've showed no signs of slowing down.
In the circle, the Dukes feature Ford, a left-hander, who is 3-2 on the year, with a 1.34 ERA., after going 24-6 with a 1.61 ERA. last year, along with junior right-hander Heather Kiefer, who is 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA., after going 14-8 with a 1.65 ERA. as a sophomore a year ago.
Coming off of a 42-17 record in 2013, James Madison is a solid team that will likely get better as the season progresses. They don't have great power, but they have quality hitters, and athletes that can create havoc on the base paths.
Of course, all good teams have good pitching, and the Dukes feature two that both had sub 2.00 ERA.'s a season ago.
Last year, the Cajuns defeated James Madison, 9-1, in the NFCA Leadoff Classic, as UL capped off a 4-1 tournament.
Louisiana will play twice on Friday, against Illinois St. at 11 am, and against James Madison at 1:30 pm.
The Cajuns will play twice more on Saturday, taking on Hofstra at 1:30 pm, and USF at 4 pm.
UL wraps-up play in the tournament on Sunday at 10 am, when they face Rutgers.
You can hear all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420, and espn1420.com, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes prior to first-pitch for each game.