College baseball: James Madison earns walk-off win in 19-inning marathon
HARRISONBURG, Va. - Sophomore second baseman Kyle McPherson laced a first-pitch double off the right-center field fence to bring senior third baseman Chad Carroll around to score and give James Madison a 7-6 win over Northeastern on Friday night in a 19-inning marathon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
The contest, which marked both teams' 2016 Colonial Athletic Association opener, marked the longest game in the 47-season history of JMU baseball, snapping the previous record of 15 innings, set against Coastal Carolina on Feb. 12, 2000. The Dukes improved to 10-12 (1-0 CAA) in the win, while Northeastern dropped to 9-10 (0-1 CAA).
Good morning! Did you miss Kyle McPherson's 19th-inning walk-off double vs. Northeastern last night? Check it out: https://t.co/Mitudx4kcI— JMU Baseball (@JMUBaseball) March 26, 2016
The two teams had traded scoreless innings in every frame from the ninth to the 18th before Carroll and junior left fielder Ky Parrott opened the 19th with consecutive walks. After a strikeout, McPherson drilled the first pitch he saw to the opposite field, hitting the wall on the fly and bringing Carroll in to score easily.
Senior right-hander Ben Garner was brilliant in relief for the Dukes, entering the game to start the ninth inning and holding Northeastern scoreless for the next eight frames. The Burke, Va., native needed just 99 pitches to rack up seven strikeouts while yielding just four hits and a walk.
Parrott and junior first baseman Brett Johnson provided a jolt of power in the sixth inning after the Dukes had fallen behind, 4-1. The duo launched back-to-back one-out home runs, with Parrott blasting a two-run shot to right and Johnson following on the next pitch to right-center, to erase the deficit and level things at 4-4. It marked the first time the Dukes had picked up back-to-back homers since David Herbek and Matt Tenaglia vs. Georgia State on April 10, 2011.
In the eighth, after Northeastern had gone up 6-4 on a two-run homer to left, JMU rallied for a pair of crucial runs with two outs to extend the contest. Senior designated hitter Kyle Weston drove in Parrott with a first-pitch single to right before senior pinch runner Tyler Carroll took advantage of a wild pitch to scoot home from third and knot things at 6-6.
Garner was stellar throughout his relief appearance, allowing just four runners to reach scoring position across his eight frames, before giving way to freshman Christian Leckert to start the 17th. Leckert yielded just one hit across the final three innings, striking out two to pick up the win and improve to 2-0 on the year.
Parrott would finish with his first career four-hit night, going 4-for-8 with two RBIs and three runs while finishing a triple short of the cycle. Junior catcher Zach Tondi and McPherson added a pair of hits each, with McPherson's sixth double of the season putting the exclamation point on the game.
Center fielder Charlie McConnell and catcher Josh Treff each had three hits to pace the Northeastern offense on the day. Aaron Civale, the reigning CAA Pitcher of the Week, was tagged for four runs on eight hits across his seven-inning start, despite striking out 10 batters, while Nate Borges took the loss to fall to 1-1 on the season.