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James Madison Defeats DePaul 6-1




May 16, 2014

Box Score

Recap

James Madison plated at least one run in five-straight innings to capture a 6-1 NCAA Tournament-opening victory over DePaul to open the Lexington Regional on Friday night. Jailyn Ford pitched seven innings, yielding just one run and giving up six hits in a complete-game victory to move the Dukes to 45-13 overall on the year. DePaul falls to 41-10. JMU’s Caitlin Sandy was 2-for-3 with a run scored to lead the bats, while the Blue Demons were led by a three-hit effort from Kirsten Verdun the team’s starting pitcher. JMU will play the winner of Kentucky-Ohio at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday. DePaul faces elimination and will play the 3 p.m. ET game tomorrow.

James Madison Postgame Press Conference

James Madison Head Coach Mickey Dean

Opening statement …
“I thought it was a well-played game on both parts. I thought both teams were prepared, ready to play. You didn't see a whole lot of mistakes in that game and I thought both pitchers really went at the hitters and did a nice job. I thought our hitters did a real nice job of being patient. We were aggressive but we were patient. That's the one thing we talked about before the game, is we've seen her before, twice before, so we know how she likes to work. We just wanted to see a couple pitches before we went up there just swinging away, unless you're Caitlin Sandy, hit the first pitch for a double and so forth. But that was our game plan going in and then pitching wise we just wanted to attack and not allow their two best hitters to beat us. I felt we did a great job of that. I thought J.J. (Jailyn Ford) did a real nice job of not allowing their two best hitters to beat us." 

On how it felt to consistently keep up the runs ...
"The key thing we did today is that we moved runners. We moved runners every inning. Sometimes when you don't move runners, it costs you runs. But today we did a nice job of moving runners. We didn't strike out with runners on base. We did that very few times. What we did today is that we moved the base runners, put them in scoring position and then we got the run." 


 

 

On how it feels to get the first one under his belt ...
"Each game has its momentum and its weight that it carries. The first one is a big one. Now, it's the least important because it's on to the next one. We're going to relax, we're going to enjoy this one probably until about the third inning of the next game then we're going to try and figure out who our next opponent is going to be. Then go home and get a night's rest and get ready for tomorrow." 

On having a fan base behind the dugout ...
"It's like a home game. We came out and I was like 'Wow, there's tons of people here with purple on.’ We had an idea that we were going to have a good contingent, we have all year. We have great fans. You talk about fans in the pros and fans at different schools but our fans are great and they're loud. Loud in a good way. They make it exciting for our kids. It's a lot more exciting to come and play in front of several hundred people than it is to come play in front of ten." 

On last year's experience in the tournament helping this year ...
"Yeah, I think each year, I don't want to say comfortable, but I guess that is the word. You start to just feel comfortable with playing. It's not really new. I think you saw today offensively, our upperclassmen early on really carried us. I have to call our sophomores upperclassmen because we're so young. But I thought our upperclassmen really carried us early on in the game, it allowed our freshmen to relax a little bit and then they started playing. You see how exciting it can be." 

James Madison Student-Athletes

#22, Caitlin Sandy, Sr., SS

On the game …
“I think that the first inning, we're a pretty young team, that being said no one on our team is a freshman anymore. But I think the first inning we got a lot of jitters out and a lot of nerves out. After that, we just played like we normally do." 

On using the momentum from this win to propel them to Saturday's game ...
“I think you have to take it one game at a time. Winning the first game is always a big deal, but we just have to take it one game at a time. We have some momentum since we won the first game, but every game is different and we have to give it our all for each game." 

On how it felt to consistently keep up the runs ...
“I think that whenever you get to this part of the season, no team is easy to beat. So I think that going into each inning, each at bat, thinking 'We have to get this run or we're going to lose.' I think that's a big deal to at least try to score every inning." 

#12, Jailyn Ford, So., P

On the game …
“Pretty much the same thing. I think we came out a little bit better that second inning, took better at bats and didn't let ourselves get down. Even though we were down one run, it wasn't that big of a deal, it’s part of the game. I think we did a really good job of staying focused and into the game." 

On using the momentum from this win to propel them to Saturday's game ...
"Like Coach Dean preaches to us, it's a process and this is just a step towards our goal. We want to get to that Sunday championship game. We want to move further on into our season, we don't want this to be our last weekend. I think this is just a step, getting past the first game and then now, just focusing on tomorrow and what's at stake there." 

On how it felt to consistently keep up the runs ...
“You don't want to give a little late when you put up a bunch of runs in one inning, sometimes you can fall back, don't put the pedal to the medal but I think we did a real good job of staying focused each inning and taking care of our at bats." 

DePaul Postgame Press Conference

DePaul Head Coach Eugene Lenti

Opening statement …
“It was a tough day out there all the way around. Typically we say the formula for success at this time of the year is you want to pitch well, you want to defend well and you want to have timely hitting. James Madison had all of it. We didn’t really have any of it today. Those days happen. We’ve done really well for the last month and a half. This was our first bad game in a long, long time. It’s just a bad time to have a bad game. That falls on the coaching and the coaching staff. We didn’t have them quite ready, and Mickey (Dean) had them more ready than we were. That’s why you end up with the score the way we did. Somebody has to show up on Sunday, so it might as well be us. That’s what we’re aiming for at this point. We have to take it one out at a time from this point and see if we can show up on Sunday and work some magic.”

On what James Madison was having success with …
“I just think that they were ready, and we weren’t ready. It was tough out there balls-and-strikes wise. The strike zone was a little different and both pitchers had to adjust to. When you see 10 walks between two pretty good pitchers, 10 walks – that’s Kirsten’s (Verdun) career high (for walks). That’s usually what she has in a week pitching four or five games. You have to adjust to that. That’s the most important strike zone that matters. It doesn’t matter what the hitters’ is (strike zone), it doesn’t matter what the pitchers’ is, it matters what the umpire’s is. We didn’t do a good job of adjusting to it either offensively or defensively. I think that was the big difference in the game.”

On planning for two games tomorrow …
“She’s done it before (Verdun pitching more than one game). At this stage, she’s been very fortunate that she hasn’t thrown a ton of innings this year. We’ve had some good backup for her. She’s the one we’re going to go with. She’s the one you came to the dance with, so you’re going to have to dance with her. That’s just how it’s going to be. She’s used to it. She knows what it’s all about. She knows she’s going to have to get mentally tougher and go to work. The fewer pitches she throws, the more runs we score the less she has to work. That will be our goal tomorrow.”

On what adjustments they’ll make if they see JMU again tomorrow …
“You’re going to have to hit good pitches. We had the wind blowing out today and we didn’t really hit the ball very well other than Mary (Connolly) and Kirsten (Verdun) who had five of our six hits. So somebody else has to hit. That’s the thing, in order to win the game you usually have to have three hitters going. We had two hitters going, but nobody around them going. So, we have some older kids around them that need to step up. We have some seniors that need to step up at that point. Even our No. 4 hitter (Dylan Christensen) she is a freshman, but she’s not a freshman anymore. You’ve played over 50 games, you’re a sophomore at that point once you get past about 30. Everybody around those kids, everyone around Kirsten and Mary, need to step up and hit the ball also.”

DePaul Student-Athletes

#7, Kirsten Verdun, Sr., P

On the adjustments they’ll have to make going into Saturday …
“For me especially, the biggest thing is having a short memory, getting rid of today’s game, learning from it and moving on. I’m going to pitch tomorrow, and I’m going to work to fix the things that I was just like mentally latching on and come back tomorrow and get the ‘W’ for my team.”

#10, Mary Connolly, Jr., 1B

On the adjustments they’ll have to make going into Saturday …
“I think this tournament is about bouncing back. The real team that overcomes adversity and plays all seven innings is the team that is going to win. I know that we’re definitely capable of that. DePaul softball is what we live and die by. We’re going to come out tomorrow and we’re going to play hard and give it our best shot.”

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