HARRISONBURG, Va. – Playing in the final game of the regular season Saturday, the Tigers (25-30, 8-13 CAA) fell to the James Madison Dukes 7-6 in 11 innings at Veterans Memorial Park in Colonial Athletic Association play. The winning run was scored by Haley Widner, who was pinch-running for Catherine Clavin.
A back and forth game was broken open in the top of the 10th inning when two straight walks loaded the bases for the Tigers. Towson freshman shortstop Hailey Balk, the team’s leading hitter this season with a .350 average, then singled to right field, scoring two runs and giving the Tigers a 6-4 lead. The Tigers had three walks in the inning.
But the Dukes came back with two of their own runs in the 10th inning on a pair of sacrifice flies to tie the game at 6-6 before winning the game in the 11th.
After Dukes centerfielder Jasmine Butler singled in the game’s first run in the bottom of the second inning, the Tigers responded in the third when Kelli Lyons hit her first home run of the season, a solo shot that evened the score at 1-1.
The Tigers offense continued to get on base in the fourth inning as Towson tacked on a pair of runs to take a 3-1 lead. Senior Lindsey Kent worked a bases-loaded walk that scored classmate Haley Stueckler to put Towson in front 2-1. Stueckler led off the inning by reaching first base on an error by James Madison’s Lindsey Tomasz. Then, third baseman Delanie Dunham hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing Balk to score and give Towson the 3-1 lead.
After Megan Shinaberry hit a solo home run to bring the Dukes within a run in the fourth, Tomasz walked and advanced to second base on a groundout. She then came around to score the tying run when Caitlen Manning reached on an error.
The score would remain 3-3 as the teams went into the extra innings.
In the ninth inning, Tigers senior outfielder Brianna Jones hit a long home run to centerfield, giving Towson a 4-3 lead with her sixth homer of the year.
The Dukes answered in the bottom of the inning when Butler hit an RBI single that scored Shinaberry to send the game to the 10th frame with the score 4-4.
Jones and Balk each had two hits for the Tigers, while the Dukes were led by Morgan Heath, who went 4-for-6 at the plate. Butler and Shinaberry each had two hits and two RBI's.
Balk and senior centerfielder Erika Stasch each hit over .300 this season for the Tigers. Stasch finished her final season batting .318 with a team-high seven home runs and 37 runs batted in.
Katie Lingmai, a junior pitcher who threw all 10.1 innings Saturday, became the first pitcher in school history with 200 strikeouts in a single season for Towson. She finished the year with 203 in 192.2 innings and won a team-best 13 games in the circle.