With last season not going as well as they would have liked (going 15-37), head coach John Russo and the Pride baseball team came into the 2017 season looking to bounce back. A number of new incoming players gave the team the feeling it could improve from last year.
Hofstra is currently standing at 8-21, but the Pride’s record may be deceiving. Five of the team’s 21 losses have been decided by just one run, while two defeats have been decided by two runs.
“You know the overall record could be better, but it’s not as bad as it looks,” Russo said.
Twenty-two of the Pride’s 29 games thus far have been played away from University Field at Hofstra; however, of the seven games played at home, three ended with a victory.
Keeping the games close, a few players for the Pride have stood out so far this season, including outfielder Steven Foster.
“Steven’s been a big catalyst for us at the top of the order and that’s what he’s done throughout his career – he’s been somebody we can count on to start us off. He’s had big hits – he had a big two-run homer [on March 21] to win a game for us against [NYIT],” Russo said.
Usually the leadoff man for the Pride, Foster has lived up to the high expectations this season. He leads the team in batting average (.324), hits (36) and doubles (8).
Shortstop Mikey Riesner is in his first year with the Pride, transferring from College of San Mateo in California. Riesner has had no problem adjusting, leading Hofstra in RBI with 19.
“Mikey has been a good hidden surprise for us – leading in RBI and really driving in some big runs. He had the game-winner against Charleston,” Russo said.
On the defensive side, the pitching staff’s earned run average is currently sitting at 5.25.
John Ryan, in 21 innings, has posted a 1-2 record with a 4.29 ERA, which leads.
“Right now I think the pitching is the one thing we can count on. We’re getting quality starts from our starters,” Russo said.
Andrew Mundy this season pitched 8.1 innings with a 2.16 ERA. He will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his elbow.
“We took a big hit with losing Andrew [Mundy], maybe our top reliever, to Tommy John surgery,” Russo said.
Of course, there is always room for development.
Based on this season, Russo first praised his defense’s improvement.
“The one thing I’m happy about is our defense, [it has] has gotten a lot better than it was early in the season, and our starting pitching is strong. We could use another reliever to show they can hold down games late so we can have another guy or two to count on,” he said.
With a hot start from the pitching staff, a unit that had the second lowest ERA in the Colonial Athletic Association at one point this season, it was the cold beginning on the offensive end that has the team under .500.
“We need to score a few more runs,” Russo said.
The Hofstra baseball team has certainly improved upon last year’s performance, but there is still some room to pick up more wins.
As the Pride is at the midway point of the season, all eyes will be on the offensive production.