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App State can’t quite rally back after JMU’s five first inning HRs in 13-9 loss

By David Rogers. HARRISONBURG, Va. — Take away the first inning and App State won the baseball game on April 5 at James Madison. But when the Dukes opened the game with three consecutive home runs off the bats of Fenwick Trimble, Mike Mancini, and Coleman Calabrese, and then added two more solo shots at the bottom of the batting order (Jason Schiavone and Wyatt Peifer) as JMU batted around in the bottom of the first for a 7-0 start… well, it just proved to much of a deficit for the Mountaineers to overcome in losing, 13-9 on a chilly, cloudy day at Eagle Field in front of announced attendance of 434.

After the first inning long ball explosion, James Madison primarily played small ball to manufacture another run in the second inning and three more in the third frame while starting pitcher Jaden Kinsler kept the App State bats all but silenced. The 6-4, 210 lb. sophomore hurler from Glen Allen, Va. retired the side, three up-three down, in each of the first three innings as the Dukes built an 11-0 early lead.

Mountaineer fans know, however, that the 2024 edition of App State baseball is a dangerous bunch, offensively, and they began to cut into the 11-run deficit in the top of the fourth. Austin St. Laurent drove a single to left, then Banks Tolley drew a 4-pitch walk. Kinsler appeared to be in some discomfort on the mound, favoring his left throwing shoulder. And after he hit two consecutive batters — Braxton Church to load the bases and Drew Holderbach to force in the Mountaineers’ first run — JMU head coach Marlin Ikenberry and an entourage believed to have included pitching coach Travis Ferrick and athletic trainer Jonathan Leonard hurried out to the mound to talk with Kinsler, eventually pulling him.

The Dukes brought in junior righthander Todd Mozoki to face the Mountaineers. He promptly walked App State shortstop Adam Quintero, forcing Tolley home for a second run. Then, with runners in scoring position at second and third, APP rightfielder Hunter Wilder laced a single through the right side. Church and Holderbach both scored on the play. Although Mozoki got the final two outs to end the Mountaineer rally, the top of the fourth had breathed new life into the App State lineup.

APP scored three more runs in the top of the fifth inning. C J Boyd singled up the middle, Tolley doubled down the left field line with Boyd beating a wild,relay throw home by the shortstop with Tolley advancing to third on the throwing error. Church followed with an RBI ground-out, scoring Tolley. Holderbach kept the inning alive with a single to left, setting up an RBI double by Quintero down the left field line that died in the outfield corner (Holderbach scoring).

Meanwhile, the Mountaineers were getting some strong pitching help from reliever Grey LaSpaluto, blanking the Dukes in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings. The senior righthander struck out five while walking five of the dozen batters he faced, with one wild pitch, but allowing no runs on no hits in the 2.2 innings on the rubber.

The Dukes did score their final two runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, but App State countered with their final two runs in the top of the 8th.

With the loss, the Mountaineers fall to 18-9 overall, 5-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. James Madison’s record improves to 17-12 overall, 4-6 in SBC play.

The teams look to complete the 3-game weekend series on April 6 (first pitch at 4 p.m.) and April 7 (1 p.m.).

TOP PERFORMERS

  • JMU – Fenwick Trimble: 3-4, 3 runs scored, 2 RBIs, HR, walk, stolen base
  • JMU – Mike Mancini: 2-4, 2 runs scored, 3 RBIs, HR, sacrifice fly, stolen base
  • JMU – Kyle Langley: 1-3, 1 run scored, 2 RBIs, HR, walk
  • JMU – Jason Schiavone: 1-2, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, HR, 2 walks, stolen base
  • JMU – Wyatt Peifer: 1-2, 3 runs scored, 1 RBI, HR, walk, hit by pitch
  • APP – Austin St. Laurent: 2-5, 1 run scored, 2 RBIs, 2B
  • APP – Banks Tolley: 1-4, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, 2B, walk
  • APP – C J Boyd: 2-5, 1 run scored
  • APP – Braxton Church: 0-3, 1 run scored, 1 RBI, hit by pitch
  • APP – Drew Holderbach: 1-4, 2 runs scored, 1 RBI, hit by pitch
  • APP – Adam Quintero: 1-4, 2 RBIs, 2B, walk
  • APP – Hunter Wilder: 1-4, 2 RBIs
  • APP – Grey LaSpaluto: pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in relief, 5 strikeouts, 5 walks
  • APP – Max Tramontana: pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief, 3 strikeouts, one wild pitch, 16 of 20 total pitches were strikes
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