By Alex Hyman, Staff Writer
The weekend could not have started out better for the Hofstra baseball team as it traveled to Norfolk, Virginia to battle Virginia Wesleyan College in a one-game series.
The Pride got on the board early plating three in the top of the first and then exploded for 11 runs in the top of the second. Hofstra ended the contest scoring 20 runs and surrendering just two. Senior outfielder Danny Poma led the Pride with three hits and five RBIs. Junior infielder Matt Ford, junior first baseman Jared Hammer, senior infielder T.J. Thomas, and junior Austin Nyman all had 2 RBIs in the rout.
"It was good to see the offense establish themselves in the first two innings," said Hofstra head coach John Russo. "It was a good team victory and I'm glad everyone got to contribute to my first win".
Sophomore starter John Schilt picked up his and the team's first win of the season going five innings, giving up just two earned runs.
The Pride next had a three-game series against the University of Notre Dame in Cary, North Carolina.
The Pride dropped both ends of the double-header on Saturday, 6-3 in the opener and 10-8 in the nightcap.
Juniors John Tiedemann and Jared Rogers each picked up a loss as neither could get out of the fifth inning. Bases on balls were a problem for the Pride pitching staffs as it allowed 14 free passes in the two games.
"We are at almost 55 percent of putting the leadoff hitter on base to start an inning. That needs to be down to 20 percent at most," Russo said.
Sunday was Hofstra's best chance to win. Trailing by three entering the ninth, the Pride sparked a two-out rally that put it in a great position to win.
"It shows great character by the ballclub to be down and keep clawing back, giving us the opportunity to win in almost every game," Russo said.
Hofstra was able to get the winning run to first base after four walks and a single but a Hammer groundout ended the rally just short.
"I can't question the effort and spirit from our guys," said Russo. "A lot of fight, they didn't put their heads down and give up and I think that is something we'll be able to win with."
The Pride has not had many problems with the bats through the first seven games of the season. Poma leads the squad with a .414 batting average and is second with eight RBIs.
Ford, after driving in just 11 runs in all of the 2011 season, has knocked in 10 runs of his own. Thomas is the only player with a homerun on the season for the Pride as he has notched two.
Shortstop Dalton Rouleau has been a great addition to the top of the Pride lineup this season as well. He is second on the team with a .385 average and leads the team with five stolen bases.
"Our offense is doing real well and I think you can put that on Rouleau and Poma setting up the order," Russo said.
The Pride bullpen has also been sharp on the young season. Juniors Cody Normand and Joe Burg have combined for 9.1 innings giving up just one earned run. Sophomore Bryan Verbitsky has also given the Pride 2.2 innings of solid ball out of the bullpen.
The Pride stands at 1-6 and have four games this upcoming weekend including doubleheaders against Quinnipiac University and Fordham University.