Hempstead, NY - Nick Kozlowski and Brett Schreiber combined on a four-hitter in game one, and Bryan Verbitsky and John Tiedemann teamed up for a two-hitter in game two as Hofstra swept CAA-leading UNC Wilmington, 1-0 and 5-1, Friday afternoon.
The wins coupled with a James Madison loss at Delaware put Hofstra in control of its own destiny in its quest for the final CAA Championship berth. Hofstra would earn the final spot with a win tomorrow. The Pride could also qualify if they lose and James Madison loses as well. The Dukes would take the spot with a win at Delaware Saturday.
Hofstra improved to 26-26 on the season, 11-15 in the CAA, while UNCW slipped to 36-19 on the year and 17-8 with the losses. The Seahawks did earn the regular season championship and the top seed in next week’s tournament after William & Mary lost to Georgia State this afternoon.
Kozlowski went five shutout innings in game one, yielding two hits while striking out four. He left a scoreless game as UNCW hurler Mat Batts held the Pride in check through five innings as well. But the Pride struck in the sixth as Kenny Jackson led off with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. After Batts struck out the next two batters, Jared Hammer singled to right field to knock in Jackson. Schreiber (3-2) made the run stand as he allowed just two singles and struck out four to get the win.
Batts pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and one unearned run with a career-high tying 11 strikeouts. Ryan LaGrange had two of UNCW’s four hits.
Hammer finished game one with two hits.
In game two Verbitsky carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Tiedemann came on to throw three hitless innings of relief in the 5-1 win.
The Pride took a 1-0 lead in the third as TJ Ehrsam walked, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Joe Perez single. Hofstra would add two more runs in the fifth as Jackson doubled home Taylor Stuart, who had singled, and Perez followed with a double of his own to give the Pride a 3-0 advantage.
Long Island native Terence Connelly (Garden City) broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with a solo home run to lead off the sixth. But that would be the only run Hofstra would allow on the afternoon as Verbitsky escaped a bit of trouble in the sixth and Tiedemann worked around three walks in his three innings.
Hofstra tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth as Hammer led off with a single and went to third on a double from Matt Reistetter. After a groundout and an intentional walk, Ehrsam put down a squeeze bunt that UNCW catcher Drew Farber played right in front of the plate. He dove to touch home plate, but Hammer was called safe for a 4-1 lead. Austin Nyman drove in the fifth run with a ground out to third.
Verbitsky improved to 3-4 after allowing one run on two hits with six strikeouts. Tiedemann notched his second save of the season.
Perez finished the game with two hits and a pair of RBIs.
UNCW starter Jordan Ramsey (6-6) took the loss after allowing all five runs on six hits in five innings of work. Three UNCW relievers – Justin Livengood, Blaze Tart and Jack Lane – held Hofstra hitless for the final three innings.
The series concludes tomorrow at Noon.