Two pitchers combined to limit James Madison to six hits and Eric Ferguson hit a three-run home run to lift Hofstra to a 5-2 victory in the Colonial Athletic Association baseball series opener on Friday afternoon at University Field.
HU improved to 10-9 overall and 1-0 in the CAA after having last weekend’s entire series at Towson rained out. JMU fell to 9-17 overall and 1-2 in the CAA.
Sophomore catcher Bobby San Martin (Fairfax, Va./Centreville) had half of JMU’s six hits, going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Senior right fielder Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy) homered for the second time in three games.
The Dukes had other chances with five walks and a hit batter but stranded seven runners on base. Nick Kozlowski improved to 5-1 after working around the six free bases with six strikeouts and five hits allowed in seven innings. Brett Schreiber allowed one hit in the final two innings to record his fifth save.
Redshirt sophomore Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) fell to 0-4 after allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings while recording a career-high six strikeouts. Junior Ben Garner (Burke, Va./Paul VI) allowed two hits in the final 2 1/3 innings with four strikeouts.
Ferguson had the big blow for the Pride with a three-run home run in the third for one of his two hits. Shortstop Matt Ford also had two hits in Hofstra’s nine-hit total.
The Dukes mounted a modest two-out rally in the first inning, loading the bases on an error and a pair of walks. San Martin was then hit by a pitch to force in the game’s first run. However, Madison could not tack on any more with the bases loaded.
Hofstra put its first two batters on in the third inning with an infield single followed by an error. After a sacrifice bunt, Ferguson smacked his first home run of the season to left for the 3-1 advantage.
JMU made it a one-run contest in the sixth with Gregory’s leadoff solo shot to left, but Hofstra picked up two runs in the bottom of the frame on consecutive RBI doubles by left fielder Kenny Jackson and catcher Robbie Cafiero.
The Dukes had their leadoff batter reach in two of the final three innings, including a ninth-inning double from San Martin, but couldn’t build on the opportunities.
Game two of the series will be Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.