May 27, 2016, 12:13 AM EDT
Entering the HUGE weekend ahead in Harrisonburg, it’s clear pitching is going to be one of the keys, if not THE biggest key for the Dukes.
Let’s start with the obvious, looking at JMU’s go-to dangerous tandem of senior lefty Jailyn Ford and sophomore righty Megan Good. Together, the two have combined to account for all of Madison’s 49 wins on the year, as well as its lone four losses. Though both pitchers have switched back and forth pretty much all spring between whose ERA is lower, it’s Ford that enters the Super Regionals with a stout 0.88 mark, compared to Good’s 0.90 effort.
For comparison’s sake, here’s the current stat line for each player.
Ford: 18-2 record; 0.88 ERA; 28 appearances, 21 starts; 14 complete games; seven shutouts; 142.2 innings pitched; 76 hits; 18 earned runs allowed; 38 walks; 173 strikeouts; .154 average against.
Good: 31-2 record (tops in Division I); 0.90 ERA; 38 appearances, 31 starts; 19 complete games; 10 shutouts; 203.0 innings pitched; 107 hits; 26 earned runs allowed; 37 walks; 217 strikeouts; .150 average against.
When it comes to choosing which hurler will take the circle for each game, JMU head coach Mickey Dean explained in an interview on Thursday that all season long he has stuck with the same, but unique approach.
“A lot goes into it … and then a lot of it is just a gut feeling,” Dean said. “I mean, isn’t that a great problem to have? Give the ball to Jailyn or Megan?. Sometimes it’s about matchups, sometimes it’s about, ‘we can start with her, finish with her’. I don’t tell them (who will start) ahead of time simply because I want them both preparing as if they are going to start that game.”
No matter which player Dean decides to go with in Game 1 on Friday, Madison has shown all season long that it really doesn’t matter that much. Keep in mind, Ford owns a 6-2 record versus ranked foes in 2016, highlighted by wins against Auburn, Tennessee, Arizona and Arizona State. At the same time, Good is credited with victories over UCF, Arizona, Arizona State and Ohio State, to name just a few of her 30-plus wins on the year.
Good entered the weekend having the best career ERA (0.97) among all Division I pitchers still playing in the Super Regionals. Also of note, Ford and Good’s 17 combined shutouts are more than LSU’s 15 as a team and also are the most among any other pitching duos in the tournament.
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