2023 Hofstra vs Northeastern

CAA Baseball Matchups Of The Week: Can Hofstra, Delaware Maintain Streaks?

CAA Baseball Matchups Of The Week: Can Hofstra, Delaware Maintain Streaks?

Want further evidence that some of the best mid-major college baseball in the country exists in the CAA? Well, six CAA teams are ranked in the top 100.

Apr 20, 2023 by Briar Napier
CAA Baseball Matchups Of The Week: Can Hofstra, Delaware Maintain Streaks?

Want further evidence that some of the best mid-major college baseball in the country exists in the Colonial Athletic Association?

Through Sunday’s games, a season-high six CAA teams ranked in the top 100 of the NCAA RPI rankings to make the league one of seven in the country with at least six of its squads ranked that high. 

In terms of conferences outside of the Power 5, only the Sun Belt can join the CAA in claiming that distinction.

Yeah, there’s a lot to like around these parts.

After a weekend in the CAA that included one of the league’s teams nabbing a nonconference series win over a ranked opponent, several winning streaks being extended and a number of shakeups occurring in the league standings, some of the best baseball seen yet in one of the country’s top mid-major conferences is occurring at this very moment.

If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, maybe it’s time to grab a seat.

Here’s a look ahead at the games to watch across the CAA this week, with matchups

throughout the conference schedule being streamed live on FloBaseball.

Hofstra Vs. Northeastern

How about the run the Pride went on last week? 

After winning a series finale against Charleston last Sunday and taking down nonconference foe St. John’s in midweek play, Hofstra hosted Towson and stomped out the Tigers in a sweep, scoring 34 runs in three games, as coach Frank Catalanotto’s team has the joint-longest winning streak in the CAA (entering Tuesday’s games) at five in a row. 

A three-game visit to Northeastern this weekend should be a good litmus test in telling if the Pride’s stretch of good form is here to stay. 

Hofstra right-hander Brad Camarda has been on fire on the mound over the past couple of weeks, taking home the most recent CAA Pitcher of the Week honor after tossing a complete-game, four-hit shutout in the Sunday finale over Towson to complete the first league sweep of the year for the Pride, made even more crucial by the fact that Hofstra is seventh in the CAA standings, and only six teams earn spots in the fast-approaching CAA Baseball Championship. 

Meanwhile, at Northeastern (which is just three victories away from equaling last year’s 31 wins), the Huskies have won five of their past six games entering a Tuesday showdown with a ranked UConn team, giving them a proper warmup for their weekend meetings with the Pride and chances to charge closer to league-leading UNCW at the top of the conference standings. 

They’ll have a tough task ahead, but they’ve certainly got the personnel to compete. 

Pitcher Eric Yost nearly went the distance in Sunday’s series-clinching win over Stony Brook, throwing 8 1/3 innings with no runs allowed on six hits, while CAA play’s second best-hitting lineup (.309 average as of Tuesday afternoon) has done work in the batter’s box over the past couple of weeks, such as when it tagged Delaware for 20 runs April 9.

UNCW Vs. Delaware

Speaking of the Blue Hens, getting pummeled for 20 runs must have done something to their psyche. 

UD hasn’t lost a game since then, winning nonconference games last week against Saint Joseph’s and George Washington, before sweeping North Carolina A&T to be the team tied with Hofstra for the CAA’s longest-lasting win streak.

If Delaware wants to secure postseason safety, it needs to ensure that such a stretch lasts as long as possible. 

At the moment, the Blue Hens hold the sixth, and final, qualifying spot for the CAA Tournament, and with Hofstra and others hot on their tails, only a continuation of winning will keep them on the right side of the bubble and give them a chance to play for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament next month. 

However, in a league that still looks to be very much wide open and for the taking, that’s much easier said than done, especially when UNCW is next on the docket. 

The Seahawks took first place from Elon last weekend without even needing to improve upon its conference record. Instead, UNCW traveled to Texas to take on a ranked TCU program (which has made five College World Series appearances since 2010) in a nonconference series and only went out and won 2-of-3 against the Horned Frogs.

It was a display that arguably was the Seahawks’ most impressive of the season, a 2023 campaign that has been full of them, and with no weekend series defeats to date. 

Along with multiple wins over a ranked East Carolina squad and a chance to pick up another top-25 victory against Campbell on Tuesday, UNCW is the most battle-tested team in the CAA and could be downright dangerous, if it finds itself competing at a regional in several weeks. 

But business needs to be taken care of in league play before discussions about that can occur – and Delaware will look to catch the Seahawks looking too far ahead, as they meet for three games this weekend.

Charleston Vs. Western Carolina

Outscoring the opponents in your last four games by a combined 51-9 surely can’t hurt team morale, right? 

Yes, those four games (all victories) may have come against Charleston Southern and a Monmouth team that’s been languishing for most of the year near the bottom of the CAA, but wins are wins, no matter where you get them, and the Cougars are perhaps reminding the rest of the top dogs in the league title race that they, the defending league regular-season champs, very much still are around and ready to pounce when others slip. 

A series against a visiting Western Carolina may not directly affect Charleston’s CAA record – the Catamounts play in the Southern Conference – but much like how UNCW’s series win over TCU last weekend improved the Seahawks’ conference standing and its confidence, the Cougars could find the same sort of success, as they’ll likely be favored to at least win their three-game series against WCU. 

CAA Co-Player of the Week Luke Wood had a monster week for Charleston, batting .474 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in the team’s aforementioned 4-0 stretch, and the junior became the Cougars’ first player in 11 years to smack three homers in a single game when he did so in Friday’s series opener against Monmouth as part of a 21-2 demolition of the Hawks. 

And in really good news for Wood and the rest of the CofC lineup, Western Carolina has the worst team ERA (6.97) in the Southern Conference and has allowed double-digit runs in 10 games this season, including in four of its past six matchups entering Tuesday. 

If you’re a Cougars fan, things could get fun – really fun – this weekend at Patriots Point, and if the rest of the CAA beats up on each other to Charleston’s benefit in the meantime, even better.