Hempstead, NY - Jared Hammer's two-run single in the top of the seventh gave Hofstra a 5-4 lead and the Pride would tack on two more runs in the eighth to post a 7-4 win over Virginia Commonwealth Friday afternoon in the opener of a three-game CAA series at University Field.
David D'Errico went 7 1/3 innings for the Pride, scattering 11 hits and allowing four runs to improve to 2-1 on the year. Bryan Verbitsky recorded the final five outs of the game without allowing a base runner to notch his first save of the season.
Hofstra improves to 6-9 on the season and evens its CAA record at 2-2. VCU drops to 11-7 overall and 2-2 in league play.
The Rams got on the board first with three runs in the second. Brent Mikionis led off with a double and moved to third on an infield out. Landon Prentiss then knocked home the first run with a single through the left side. After another infield out, Bill Cullen doubled to right field to score Prentiss for a 2-0 lead. Jordan Weymouth followed with a single up the middle that plated Cullen for a 3-0 advantage.
Hofstra got one run back in the bottom of the inning as Verbitsky, who started the game as the Pride's designated hitter, reached on a fielder's choice and came all the way around to score when Cullen dropped Matt Reistetter's fly ball for a two-base error.
VCU got an unearned run in the fourth as Prentiss opened the inning by reaching on an error and later came in to score on a Joey Cujas sacrifice fly.
But D'Errico settled down after that inning and allowed just two base runners over the next three innings. The Pride offense picked up a run in the fifth as Austin Nyman led off with a triple and scored on a Dalton Rouleau ground out.
Hofstra then broke through in the seventh against VCU starter Kyle Haynes (2-2). Nyman led off with a single and Rouleau followed with a double to put men on second and third. Danny Poma walked to load the bases and end Haynes' day. Lefty Matt Lees came on to pitch to lefty Matt Ford and Ford delivered a single to left to make the score 4-3 and kept the bases loaded for Hammer. Another pitching change brought Seth Cutler-Voltz to the hill and Hammer delivered a two-run single to give Hofstra the lead. But Cutler-Voltz escaped further damage with a strikeout and double play ball.
However, in the eighth Hofstra pushed two more runs across as Reistetter laced a one-out single and stole second. Nyman delivered a double to drive in the first insurance run and went to third on an infield single from Rouleau. The pair then pulled off a double steal with Nyman scoring on the back end for a 7-4 lead.
Nyman and Poma finished with three hits on the day for the Pride and T.J. Thomas, Ford and Rouleau each added two hits.
Haynes allowed nine hits and five runs with four strikeouts
in his six innings of work.
The series continues tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.