By Fran Berkman, Staff Writer
The Hofstra Pride won its first nonconference game of the season by grinding out a 10-7 victory over the Great Danes of Albany. The Pride improved its overall record to 6-17 in what was a sloppy performance by both teams which committed a combined five errors and used fifteen different pitchers.
"Bottom line, now we're looking for wins and we're looking anyway we could do it," head coach Patrick Anderson said after the game. "We were able to get over the hump today."
Hofstra's freshman starting pitcher Everett Keller was chased early after allowing five runs while only recording three outs. Albany pushed across three runs in the first inning and Keller walked the first two hitters in the second before Anderson removed him in favor of another freshman, Brett Schreiber.
Schreiber eventually steadied the ship for the Pride. After allowing both inherited runners and one runner for which he was responsible to score in the second, Schreiber pitched into the fifth inning without giving up another hit.
Hofstra was able to retake the lead two times in the game; initially with four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-3 lead.
After clawing out a run in each of the third and fourth innings, the Pride went ahead 7-6 with a run in the bottom of the fifth.
"The resilience of the team…it was fun to see," said Anderson.
Outfielder Bryan Verbitsky drove in an insurance run with a single in the bottom of the sixth. The freshman is now tied for second on the team with 11 RBIs in only 35 at-bats. Verbitsky also came in to pitch a scoreless ninth inning for the Pride, earning his second save of the season and lowering his team best ERA to 2.20.
"That's why we brought him in here; he can do a little bit of both, he swung the bat and came up with a big RBI," Anderson said of Verbitsky. "He did a great job... we're really excited about him."
Hofstra senior reliever Jeff Guthridge quelled a potential big inning for Albany in the top of the seventh. He came on with the bases loaded and one out and he made a nifty glove flip to catcher Dylan Nasiatka on a bunted ball for a force out at home. The side-armer then got a swinging strikeout on a frisbee slider for the third out.
The game might have been more comfortable for the Pride if not for some dubious base running. Junior infielder Joe Perez was picked off first base twice and two other runners were caught stealing.
In what was a somewhat ironic twist of fate, the Pride actually tied the game in the fourth inning when junior outfielder Danny Poma appeared to have been picked off first base, but the throw was wild and the ball got away from Albany first baseman Greg Muller and bounded far up the right field line. By the time the Great Dane's right fielder Pete DiResta fetched the ball, Poma had come all the way around to score.
"We like to be aggressive and we're going to take that chance," Anderson said about the base running mistakes. "We've got to bear down and get better judgment and better reads."
Hofstra takes its aggressive style on the road this weekend for a three game series with the CAA cellar-dwelling Northeastern Huskies before it is back home next Wednesday at 3 p.m. against the St. John's Red Storm.