Hempstead, NY – In a wild doubleheader that saw the two squads combine to score 62 runs, it was a three-run eighth inning in the night cap that allowed Hofstra to earn a split of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) doubleheader between the Pride and James Madison. JMU won the first game, 20-14, with Hofstra rallying in game two and winning, 15-13.
With the split Hofstra sees its record move to 21-17 overall and 11-7 in CAA play. James Madison is now 13-26-1 and 8-13 in league action.
The first game saw Hofstra take an early 5-1 lead courtesy of five runs in the second inning. The big hit in the inning came off the bat of junior second baseman Matt Ford, who singled to right to bring home a pair of runs.
James Madison immediately answered, though, as they totaled 12 runs over the next four innings to lead 12-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. The Dukes scored six times in the third and four times in the fifth to pull ahead. Designated hitter Evan Scott, who had six RBIs in the first game, had a grand slam in the fifth inning to account for the runs in that half for the Dukes.
Hofstra battled back with eight runs in the bottom of the sixth as senior catcher Kevin Flynn answered with a grand slam of his own to score half of the Pride runs in that inning.
The Dukes would put the finishing touches on a game one win as they came around to score six times in the top of the eighth as first baseman Ty McFarland powered the inning with a two-run single to center. Hofstra was unable to rally for a second time in the opening game of the doubleheader as the Dukes held on for the 20-14 victory.
Chris Huffman came out of the bullpen and worked 3.1 innings to pick up his third win of the season. Sophomore designated hitter/pitcher Bryan Verbitsky took the loss as he allowed six runs (one earned) in 1.2 innings of work.
It was more of the same in the second game as James Madison opened up a 9-5 lead after just three innings of play.
Hofstra slowly crept back into the contest, though, as a four-spot in the sixth inning brought the Pride back to within 11-10. Flynn, who had the grand slam in the opening game, had another huge base hit in the night cap as he laced a double to right center that scored sophomore left fielder Kenny Jackson and junior first baseman Jared Hammer.
The Pride would eventually even the score at 12 with two runs in the seventh inning. A single from Ford scored the first run of the inning for Hofstra, while Jackson drove home the other run with an RBI single to center.
James Madison would jump back in front with a single run in the eighth inning before Hofstra took the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning.
Hofstra would load the bases with no outs before JMU got the first out of the inning on a play at the plate. Senior right fielder Danny Poma knotted the score at 13 with a sacrifice fly to center before Ford gave the Pride the lead with a single to right center. Hofstra added an insurance run as junior shortstop Dalton Rouleau scored on a wild pitch.
Junior pitcher John Tiedemann, who started the first game of the doubleheader, would come in to close the contest as he shut down the Dukes in order in the ninth to earn his first save of the season. Junior pitcher Andrew Barbarino worked the eighth inning to pick up his second victory of the 2012 campaign.
Johnny Bladel took the loss for the Dukes in the night cap as he allowed five runs in two innings of work. He fell to 0-1 on the season.
Ford and junior center fielder Austin Nyman both batted 5-10 in the doubleheader for Hofstra. Ford drove in a total of five runs, while Flynn led Hofstra with seven RBIs in the two games.
Hammer, who batted 4-9, tied Rouleau for team-high honors with five runs scored.
Hofstra returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts New York Tech at 3:30 p.m. The Pride will return to conference play next weekend when it travels to Delaware for a three-game series starting Friday at 3 p.m.