RICHMOND, Va. – Sophomore starter Kyle Haynes allowed one earned run in seven innings and Virginia Commonwealth University pounded out 14 hits en route to an 8-5 series victory against Hofstra University Friday afternoon in the second game of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association set at The Diamond.
VCU, which picks up its third conference series victory of the season, improves to 21-28 overall with an 11-15 mark in CAA play. Hofstra, which has lost nine of its last 10, slips to 12-31, 9-17.
Junior Paul Nice (pictured, right) went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while freshman Chris Ayers finished 3-for-5 with a run and RBI for VCU. Seven different Rams collected a hit with five picking up at least one RBI. Danny Poma and T.J. Thomas combined to record six of Hofstra's nine hits on the day.
Haynes, who scattered six hits through seven innings with three strikeouts, improves to 5-7 on the season. Hofstra starter David D'Errico slips to 5-6 after allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Dylan Nasiatka led off the game with a single into right and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Poma, which gave Hofstra a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
But VCU scored three runs on five hits to pull ahead 3-1 in the second. Senior John Lenherr and junior Taylor Perkins collected back-to-back singles to start the frame and Ayers tied it with a base hit into left. Senior Ryan Caldwell, who reached in all four trips to the plate, drew a two-out walk before freshman Bill Cullen and Nice gave the Rams a two-run lead with a pair of singles.
Hofstra then made it a one-run game in the fourth after Poma, who lifted a leadoff double over the head of Caldwell in deep left, scored on a sacrifice fly by Joe Perez.
However, Caldwell was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the fourth and VCU pushed its lead to 4-2 after the Charlottesville, Va., native stole second, advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt and came home on a balk by D'Errico.
Hofstra stranded Thomas at third after he lined a leadoff double into left field in the fifth. With runners on the corners, VCU turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the Pride threat.
The Rams then added four more runs in the bottom of the inning to push their lead to 8-2. Perkins and Ayers recorded back-to-back one-out singles and Caddell drew a walk to load the bases, which chased D'Errico. Reliever Andrew Barbarino issued two straight bases loaded walks before Bryan Verbitsky hit Nice to make it a five-run game. Freshman Joey Cujas lifted a fly ball into center and Caldwell scored from third to cap off the inning.
Matt Reistetter drew a one-out walk and scored on a single by Jared Hammer to pull the Pride within five in the eighth. Hofstra plated two more runs in the ninth after a pair of VCU errors to make it 8-5.
VCU will look for its first CAA series sweep of the season when it faces Hofstra on Saturday at 9 a.m. It marks the Rams' final home game of the season as the team will recognize its seniors following the game.