Coming into Saturday’s doubleheader action against Norfolk State, starting pitcher John Rooney’s career-high for strikeouts in a game was 11, tallied last year against William & Mary. After the first of two games, Rooney has a new personal best, fanning 13 Spartans in eight innings en route to a 4-0 victory for the Pride. The win excelled the Pride’s record above the early .500 mark to 3-2, while Norfolk State dropped to a disappointing 0-7.
In the third inning, with Vito Friscia on first base after drawing a two-out walk, Teddy Cillis drove him in, making it 1-0. Cillis and second baseman Mikey Riesner both went 2-4 with an RBI, along with an extra-base hit each. Vito drew two of the combined five walks the Pride had and was the only one who scored multiple times in the first game for Hofstra. Cillis came in for relief of Rooney in the ninth inning, shutting the door easily with a 1-2-3 outing.
Another milestone for Rooney came in the bottom of the eighth when he picked off pinch hitter Toby Buchanan for his third of the game, another career-high for the junior lefty. Rooney entered the season as the No. 14 left-handed draft-eligible pitcher. The win was his first decision of the 2018 season, bringing his record to 1-0, and his earned run average still at a steady 0.00.
The win was also Hofstra’s third in a row since dropping the first two of the season to Lamar in Texas. With a sweep on the line still against Norfolk State, Hofstra has the chance to have their first five-game winning streak since 2016.
Coming into the season, head coach John Russo said how excited he and the rest of the coaching staff was to see players such as Rooney, Cillis, Friscia, Riesner and others step up and take this team to the next level.