HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Virginia Commonwealth University picked up his fourth straight Colonial Athletic Association series victory after defeating Hofstra University 10-4 Saturday afternoon at University Field.
VCU improves to 20-15 overall and 10-1 in CAA play, while Hofstra slips to 10-19 and 3-5 in conference action.
The Rams pounded out 15 hits as senior Matt Leskiw and sophomore Paul Nice contributed three apiece. Junior Joe Van Meter went 2-for-3, scored four runs and collected a pair of triples, marking the first time in nearly three years a VCU player has posted two triples in a game.
Sophomore Michael Graham allowed four runs on seven hits and picked up his fourth win of the year. He also struck out seven and walked just one.
VCU got on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Van Meter led off the frame with a triple down the right field line and came home on a groundout by junior John Lenherr. Sophomore Brent Mikionis then doubled to left and Nice sent an RBI single up the middle to give VCU an early 2-0 lead.
The Rams added two more runs with two out in the third. Leskiw scored after Van Meter collected his second triple of the day and came home on an error by Pride third baseman Mike Walraven.
VCU then used a three-run fourth inning to pull ahead 7-0. Four of the Rams first five batters reached as junior Michael Cheatham, Leskiw and senior Richard Gonzalez each drove in runs and VCU scored in its third consecutive trip to the plate.
Drew Liebert, who relieved Hofstra starter David D'Errico in the third, retired six straight Rams until Cheatham, Leskiw and Gonzalez all reached to load the bases with one out in the sixth. However, Liebert escaped the jam as senior Doug Otto grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Van Meter drew a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI single by Nice to give VCU an 8-0 advantage in the top of the seventh. For the second straight inning the Rams had an opportunity to add to their lead with the bases loaded but Liebert again induced a double play to end the VCU threat.
After retiring the first two Hofstra batters he faced of the seventh, Graham allowed six straight batters to reach with two outs and the Pride cut VCU's lead in half. Michael Beers put Hofstra on the board with an RBI double into center before Matt Hancock drove in a run with a single to right. Matt Prokopowicz then pulled Hofstra within 8-4 after he singled up the middle.
However, for the second day in a row, Mikionis sealed the win with a home run as he sent a two-run blast over the left field wall to put VCU on top 10-4.
VCU and Hofstra will conclude the three-game
series on Sunday at 1 p.m. as the Rams look for their second
straight and third CAA sweep of the season.