FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 13, 2011 – After guiding James Madison to both the regular season and tournament titles in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2011, baseball head coach Spanky McFarland has received a contract extension through the 2015 season, as announced Tuesday by Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne.
“I’m happy that the administration is pleased with the progress that we’ve made as a program,” commented McFarland on his extension. “This is where I want to be. In the last six years we’ve won the regular season three times and won two tournaments. That’s a good success rate in this league. Combine that with the new facility and JMU is a great place to be as a baseball coach.”
McFarland received the extension after being named Regional Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and guiding the Dukes to a 42-19 overall record in 2011. The Dukes went 21-9 in the CAA and became the first top seed to win the league tournament in eight years after going 3-0 in the event.
The numbers back up JMU as the league’s top baseball program over the last six years. The Dukes have gone a combined 201-137 (.595) over that time period with a 104-60 (.634) mark in conference games. Both the overall and CAA winning percentages are the best six-year marks of any of the league’s 11 programs. JMU finished first in the league three times during those six seasons while no other CAA school finished first more than once. The Dukes are also the only conference team with as many as three seasons with 20 CAA wins during that span.
With its second CAA title in the last four years in 2011, the Dukes advanced to their eighth NCAA Division I regional appearance, third under McFarland, and earned multiple wins in a regional for the first time since 1983 after posting wins over FIU and Maine. JMU finished as runner up of the Chapel Hill Regional, its best postseason showing since reaching the College World Series in 1983.
JMU finished 48th out of 300 teams in the final RPI and was the only CAA school in the top 90. Madison was also recognized by the NCAA as the national statistical champion for slugging percentage (.517) and scoring (8.9 runs per game). The Dukes also led the nation in sacrifice flies (47) while ranking fourth in batting average (.319), sixth in hits (685), 20thth in walks (289), 19th in hit batters (85) and 20th for overall winning percentage (.689). in doubles (130), sixth in triples (27), third in home runs (80), second in stolen bases (155), 10
As a team, the Dukes established school season records for games (61), at bats (2,145), plate appearances (2,608), runs (541), RBIs (486), triples (27), hit batters (85), sacrifice flies (47), innings pitched (550 1/3), putouts (1,651) and defensive chances (2,364). Altogether, 37 team and individual school records fell during the 2011 season.
Junior catcher Jake Lowery and senior shortstop David Herbek became the first teammates in program history to achieve First Team All-America status. Lowery received seven All-American honors in all while being named the Johnny Bench Award winner as the nation’s best catcher and being recognized by CollegeBaseballInsider.com as its National Hitter of the Year. Herbek received four total All-American awards and was among 10 semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace Award as the nation’s best shortstop.
In his 14 JMU seasons, McFarland has had 24 players drafted and 35 sign a professional contract. Three Dukes signed from the 2011 team with Lowery being selected in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians. That gave JMU the highest draft selection among CAA schools for the second year in a row. Herbek was chosen in the 15th round by the Chicago White Sox. Outfielder Alex Foltz signed a free agent deal with the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League.