The bullpen could be Hofstra’s No. 1 strength, Russo said. Junior closer Bryan Verbitsky gained the confidence he needed during the offseason to go with a blistering fastball and nasty slider. He saved each of the team’s first three wins and registered as high as 97 on the radar gun. Russo will lean on senior Andrew Barbarino, juniors Brett Schreiber and John Schilt, and sophomore Dave Gesh to preserve leads for Verbitsky.
The starting rotation consists of seniors Joe Burg, John Tiedemann and Jared Rogers. Burg, a lefty, has two wins under his belt after going 4-1 last season while throwing mostly in relief. Tiedemann had seven wins and 64 strikeouts a year ago, and Rogers is a four-year starter who entered the season with 27 career starts.