Hempstead, NY - Jared Hammer hit a three-run home run and T.J. Thomas added a two-run shot in a eight-run eighth as Hofstra turned a 5-4 deficit into a 12-5 lead and went on to win by that score and sweep VCU in a three-game CAA series at University Field Sunday afternoon.
Hofstra improves to 8-9 overall and 4-2 in the CAA. The Pride has won four straight games. VCU drops to 11-9 overall and 2-4 in league play. The sweep of VCU was Hofstra's first since entering the league in 2002.
Hofstra had gone ahead 4-2 in the seventh, snapping a 2-2 tie. Bryan Verbitsky led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and went to second on an errant pickoff attempt. With two outs, VCU intentionally walked Matt Reistetter. The two executed a double steal and then a balk plated Verbitsky with the go ahead run. Austin Nyman then hit his second double of the afternoon to make it 4-2.
But VCU stormed back and took the lead in the top of the eighth. Taylor Buran laced a one-out single and Paul Nice followed with a double and to put runners on second and third. Bill Cullen delivered both runs with a double and tied the score. A walk and a single loaded the bases for Rams cleanup hitter Taylor Perkins, who also walked to force in the go-ahead run for the Rams and make it a 5-4 game. But Hofstra escaped further damage as reliever Cody Normand induced a double play grounder to end the threat.
Hofstra came out firing on all cylinders in its half of the eighth as Danny Poma drew a leadoff walk and Matt Ford singled to put runners on the corners. Hammer then took a Matt Lees offering deep to right field for his first homer of the season to give the Pride a 7-5 lead. Verbitsky walked and then Thomas hit his third home run of the year, also to right to make it 9-5. Nyman would add a run-scoring single and Poma a two-run double in the inning as well to make it a 12-5 game.
Normand was the winning pitcher, working 2/3 of an inning to notch his first decision of the year. Lees allowed three hits and four earned runs without recording an out to fall to 0-2 on the season.
Pride starter Dave Jesch was effective in the no decision, scattering seven hits and two runs with four strikeouts over six innings.
Hammer finished the game with the home run and four RBIs as he also had a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. Nyman was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Ford also had a three-hit afternoon.
Cullen had three hits and two RBIs for the Rams, while Nice and Buran also had three hits on the day, including a home run for Buran.
Hofstra is back in action on Wednesday afternoon at Manhattan.