TOWSON, Md. - Senior rightfielder Danny Poma, the second-leading hitter in NCAA Division I, banged out three hits and scored two runs as Hofstra University (30-19, 17-9) erupted for 15 hits en route to a 7-1 Colonial Athletic Association victory over the Tigers (23-28, 12-14) in the second game of their three-game weekend series at John B. Schuerholz Park on Saturday afternoon.
Hofstra’s victory was its 30th win of the season, marking the first time in school history that Hofstra won 30 games in a season. The win also enabled Hofstra to move closer to clinching second place in the CAA standings.
The win also evened the three-game weekend series at one victory each. The teams will play the third and deciding game of the series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
While Hofstra was banging out 15 hits, junior righthander John Tiedemann and sophomore righthander Andrew Barbarino were teaming up to limit Towson to a run and six hits. Tiedemann pitched six innings and allowed one run on five hits with four walks and one strikeout. He improved to 7-3 on the season. Barbarino earned his second save of the year by pitching three scoreless innings of relief. He allowed no runs on one hit.
Poma led off the game with a double to rightfield. However, he was thrown out at third base by junior catcher Andrew Parker as he tried to advance to third on a pitch in the dirt. That helped sophomore lefthander Kyle Paul pitch out of the jam.
In the bottom of the first, sophomore Brandon Gonnella led off with a single. When junior third baseman Zach Fisher singled on a hit-and-run play, Gonnella reached third base. Gonnella scored the first run of the game when junior rightfielder Dominic Fratantuono grounded out to second base. After freshman leftfielder Brendan Butler reached on an error by junior shortstop Dalton Rouleau, the Tigers had runners on first and third base with one out. But, junior third baseman Austin Nyman made a great stop on a ground ball by junior first baseman Kurtis Voytell and he turned it into an inning-ending double play.
Paul retired seven hitters in a row and had two outs in the top of the third inning when Hofstra’s bats came to life. Nyman started the rally with a single to centerfield. Poma followed with a single to left centerfield, putting two runners on base. Rouleau came through with a single to right as Nyman scored the tying run. After junior second baseman Matt Ford drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, Hofstra had the bases loaded. Junior first baseman Jared Hammer gave the Pride a 3-1 lead when he lined a two-run single to right. Paul finally retired the side when sophomore leftfielder Kenny Jackson hit a fly ball down the rightfield line that Fratantuono made a nice running catch to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, the Tigers threatened to tie the game. Sophomore shortstop Hunter Bennett led off with a walk and Gonnella reached on Rouleau’s second error of the contest. After Fisher bunted the runners over, the Tigers had runners on second and third with one out. But, Tiedemann retired Fratantuono on a foul popup and Butler ended the inning with a fly ball out to centerfield.
When sophomore catcher Matt Reistetter doubled with one out in the fourth inning, freshman righthander Paul Beers came in from the Towson bullpen to relieve Paul. He retired the next two hitters to escape the inning without allowing any runs.
Still trailing by 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers staged another rally. With one out, Bennett singled. After Gonnella grounded out, Fisher drew a walk. A walk to Fratantuono loaded the bases. However, Butler grounded into a force play to end the threat.
Voytell led off the sixth with a single before Parker grounded into a force play. After Parker reached second base on a wild pitch, senior centerfielder Ben Winter drew a two-out walk. But, Bennett grounded into a force play to end the threat.
After shutting out Hofstra for three innings, Beers ran into trouble in the seventh. With one out, Poma reached base when he was hit by a pitch. Rouleau advanced him to third when he lined a ground rule double down the left field line. Ford gave Hofstra a 5-1 lead when he lined a two-run single to rightfield. After Beers issued an intentional walk to Hammer, he pitched out of the inning by getting to Jackson to ground into a well-executed double play.
In the eighth inning, Hofstra added another run to extend its lead to 6-1. With one out, Reistetter and junior centerfielder Taylor Stuart hit back-to-back singles. After Nyman hit into a force play, Poma’s third hit of the day, a single to left, gave the Pride a 6-1 advantage.
The Pride closed out the scoring in the ninth inning when Ford single and scored on Jackson’s double off the leftfield fence.
After giving up a leadoff single to Gonnella in the seventh inning, Barbarino settled down and retired the last nine hitters he faced. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out one.
In spite of the loss, the Tigers played an excellent game defensively. Towson turned three double plays and played errorless ball. In the eighth inning, Winter made a spectacular over-the-shoulders catch of a long fly ball by Flynn in the deepest part of Schuerholz Park.
While Poma led Hofstra with three hits and two runs scored, four other Hofstra players had multi-hit games. Rouleau added two hits and scored twice. Ford went two-for-four and drove in two runs. Jackson had two hits and one RBI while Reistetter was two-for-five.
Gonnella led Towson with two hits and scored the only run of the game. The Tigers struggled to come up with clutch hits all afternoon. Not only did the Tigers hit into two double plays, they left nine runners on base. Towson was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The Tigers, who are now 13-7 at home this season, host Hofstra in the third and final game of the series on Sunday.