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Softball: Around the Horn — Mar. 18

Mar 18, 2014, 5:46 PM EST

Exciting things happening in CAA Softball! James Madison hands No. 2 Oregon a 3-0 loss as the Dukes take the 2014 Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic tournament title in Hawai’i last week. Both JMU and Hofstra continue to receive votes in both national polls and this weekend opens conference play for six of the seven league teams.

Taking a look back … James Madison continued its strong play in Hawai’i as they finished the trip 9-1, falling only to nationally-ranked No.2/4 Oregon – which they also defeated. The Dukes advanced to the championship game of the Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic and Jailyn Ford tossed a complete-game shutout to help the Dukes post a 3-0 victory over the Ducks. Ford became the first pitcher this season to shutout the Ducks and the win over Oregon is the highest-ranked opponent JMU softball has ever defeated and is its fourth win overall against a ranked foe. The previous highest-ranked opponent to fall to Madison was No. 14 USF, last season.

Senior pitcher/outfielder Shelby Taylor led the Dragons to a 3-1 week at the UMBC Dawg Pound Classic as she started in all four contests for Drexel.  The senior assisted on both the offensive and defensive sides of the plate, as she hit .455, recording three RBI and scoring three runs for the Dragons.  Taylor also tossed a pair of complete-game shutout victories, while fanning 12 batters in 12 innings to go 2-0 in the circle.  She earned CAA Softball Player of the Week honors for her efforts.

James Madison’s  Ford earned CAA Softball Pitcher of the Week after her strong efforts at the Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic. The sophomore was a key component in the Dukes’ 3-0 win over #2 Oregon, as she became the first pitcher this season to shutout the Ducks. Ford finished the week with a perfect ERA after tossing 25.1 innings, fanning 25 batters, while giving up 19 hits and just one unearned run. She earned co-Most Valuable Pitcher at the tournament.

The Dukes’ Madyson Moran was honored as CAA Softball Rookie of the Week for her performance helping James Madison to a 5-1 record and the tournament title in Hawai’i. The infielder hit .308 with a double and scored a pair of runs in six starts. She also added a RBI and drew a walk in 13 at-bats. Moran’s best outing came in JMU’s 8-0 win over Hawai’i when she went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run and a RBI.

You can read more about each of the honorees in the weekly report on CAASports.com, which also includes stats and results from the past week.

National Attention … James Madison, with its most recent upset win over nationally-ranked Oregon, sits at the cusp of the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll receiving 24 votes and are the first out of the Top 25. Hofstra earned 18 votes and follow just three teams behind the Dukes in receiving votes in the Coaches Poll. Both the Dukes and the Pride also earned votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll on March 18, as they tied with four votes apiece.

Did you know that Drexel’s Laticia Matsuoka is one of the toughest Division I softball player to strike out at the plate this season.  She is tied with 11 players at #1 in this stat category as she has yet to mark a “K” in the score book during her 46 at-bats thus far this season.  Towson’s Missy McCormick ranks fourth in RBI per game as she averages 1.50 per contest. The full conference ranking summary can be found on NCAA.com or in the CAA Softball Weekly Report (Page 3).

Play Ball! Six conference squads will open their conference schedules this weekend. The battle of the two teams receiving votes in the national polls open conference play in Harrisonburg as James Madison welcomes Hofstra for a three-game series. The two teams most recently met in last season’s CAA Championship game when the Pride took the title in a 2-1 victory. Drexel will play their first home games of the season when they host UNCW in Philadelphia and Delaware will host league newcomer College of Charleston in Newark.