Baseball: College takes two from Hofstra

__Vernon, Drury record victories; Sunday’s contest canceled due to inclement weather__

p. Last weekend, the Tribe traveled to Hempstead, N.Y. to face the Hofstra University Pride in a three-game series. The Tribe, coming off an 11-1 win against Liberty University, entered with a record of 21-16 overall and 8-7 in the CAA, while Hofstra entered at 13-21 overall and 6-9 in the CAA. The College came away with wins of 11-2 and 6-2 Friday and Saturday, while Sunday’s contest was canceled due to inclement weather.

p. “This weekend was really a great one considering our recent losses to Georgia State,” senior second baseman Brent McWhorter said. “The whole team really stepped up starting with our game mid-week against Liberty which gave us a lot of momentum going into the Hofstra weekend [series].”

p. Junior Pete Vernon (6-3), in his first start of the season, earned the win in the first game, allowing only five hits and two runs in six innings of play. Junior Sean Grieve took the mound in the sixth and shut down the Pride for two innings, striking out five and allowing no hits. In the bottom of the ninth inning, senior Warrik Staines allowed only one hit, and the Tribe recorded an 11-2 victory.

p. Although the College scored one run in the first on a junior left fielder Greg Maliniak single, plating junior designated hitter Tim Park, the Tribe’s hitters pushed across five runs in a big third inning for the College. Park advanced to third on sophomore first baseman Mike Sheridan’s double and scored when senior third baseman Greg Sexton singled. After Maliniak drew a walk, Sheridan scored on a passed ball. Sophomore right fielder Ben Guez registered a single that plated Sexton, and junior center fielder Paul Juliano drew a walk to load the bases. Maliniak scored on a sacrifice fly from sophomore catcher Jeff Wera. Guez, after stealing third, reached home on a sacrifice fly from sophomore shortstop Lanny Stanfield to wrap up Tribe scoring on the inning.
Offensively, The Tribe totaled 14 hits. Guez went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Park finished 3-for-6 with two RBIs and Sexton, Sheridan and McWhorter all tallied two hits.

p. In the second contest, freshman Tyler Truxell started on the mound for the College and pitched a solid six innings, allowing only four hits and one run. Freshman Kevin Landry, who currently ranks third in the CAA standings in strikeouts with 46, entered in relief and junior Jimmy Drury followed to earn the win (1-1). Staines and senior Pat Kantakevich also took the mound to finish off the Pride by a final score of 6-2.

p. “Saturday was more of a pitcher’s duel, but we have confidence that, if the pitchers can keep the game close, our offense is always capable of coming to life and we will always have a chance to win,” Staines said.

p. In an impressive rally, the Tribe pushed across five runs in the top of the eighth to take the lead at 5-2. McWhorter began the inning with a solo home run to right center. A Guez triple drove in the remaining runs that scored Maliniak, Sexton and Park, and Guez later scored on an error by the pitcher. The College scored once more in the ninth as sophomore right fielder Jeff Jones singled to right field to score Park.

p. “The play of the weekend had to be Ben Guez’s 3-RBI, legend-building triple on Saturday,” Vernon said.

p. The wins put the College in second place in the CAA standings at 23-16 overall and 10-7 in conference play. The Tribe now ranks first in batting average (.326) and fielding percentage (.968), and second in hits (437). Individually, Park’s .420 batting average ranks him fourth in the CAA standings, with Sexton in fifth at .415; both lead the CAA in hits with 66.

p. “It was a big weekend for us coming off of the Georgia State losses,” Vernon said. “With the league standings being so tight, it was huge to get two wins.”

p. The Tribe is scheduled to play Virginia Tech tomorrow at 5 p.m.


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