The Pride call University Field, located on Hofstra's North Campus, their home. University Field is centrally located between two of the most frequented sites on campus, the Hofstra Fitness Center and the Mack Sports Complex. read more
John Russo completed his 10th season on the Hofstra Baseball staff in 2018 and his seventh as head coach. He is the 14th head coach in program history and was tabbed to lead the Hofstra Baseball program on May 6, 2012, after serving as interim head coach since January 2012.
In his seven seasons at the helm of the Pride program, Russo has coached the team to a 151-199 record and has seen eight players signed by Major League Baseball teams, including four that were drafted. Danny Poma was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization in the 10th-round of the 2012 MLB Draft, while Bryan Verbitsky was a third round selection of the San Diego Padres in the 2013 Draft. John Rooney and Teddy Cillis were both 2018 MLB Draft selections, marking the first time that the Pride has had multiple draft selections in a season.Rooney was a third round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Cillis was chosen by Kansas City in the 33rd round. In addition, Matt Reistetter and Kevin Flynn signed with the Washington Nationals organization as free agents in 2013, Matt Ford signed with the Tampa Bay Rays after graduating in 2014 and David Leiderman signed with the Miami Marlins in 2018.
Hofstra posted a 23-23 record in 2018 and qualified for the CAA Championship for the first time since 2012. The Pride established new team records with a 3.59 earned run average, fielding percentage (.976) and fewest errors (41). Rooney established a single season mark with 108 strikeouts and left the Pride as the all-time leader in strikeouts as well with 271 in his three seasons. Rooney also became the Pride’s first-ever CAA Pitcher of the Year and was also Golden Spikes Award semifinalist and an All-America selection. In all, the Pride put three players on the All-CAA first team with Rooney, Cillis and Vito Friscia earning the accolade.
The 2017 Pride set the team record for strikeouts by the pitching staff with 412 in their second season under the tutelage of Assistant Coach John Habyan. Cillis, an All-CAA First Team pick, established what was then a new single season mark with 96 strikeouts and also set the single game record with 16 over seven innings against Elon.
Matt Wessinger, a former All-American at St. John’s who also played professionally for five years, is in his second year as an assistant coach on the Hofstra Baseball staff in 2018-19. Wessinger joined the Pride in September 2017.
During his first season with the Pride, Wessinger helped Hofstra to a 23-23 record and a berth in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship.
A four-year letterwinner from 2009-12 and a two-year captain, Wessinger enjoyed one of the finest careers in the long history of the Red Storm baseball program. St. John’s made three NCAA Tournament appearances (2010, 2011, 2012), won two Big East Championships (2010 and 2012) and advanced to the Super Regionals during his senior campaign.
Former professional baseball player Blake Nation in in his first year on the Hofstra Baseball staff in 2018-19 and will serves as an assistant coach, working with the Pride pitching staff.
Nation spent three years in the Seattle Mariners organization, pitching for the Pulaski Mariners, Clinton Lumberjacks and High Desert Mavericks. Nation also spent three seasons playing professionally, spending one season each with the Rio Grand Valley White Wings (North American Independent League), the Fort Worth Cats (North American Independent League) and the Southern Illinoi Miners (Frontier League). His overall professional record was 29-17 with 11 saves, a 3.21 ERA and 302 strikeouts.
A collegiate pitcher at Georgia Southern, Nation has coached at multiple levels of the collegiate game. He started his coaching career at East Georgia College, where he served as an assistant from 2011 to 2013. From May 2014 to August 2017 he was the head coach of the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dogs of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, winning a pair of championships and earning 2016 PGCBL Coach of the Year accolades. During his tenure he coached one PGCBL Pitcher of the Year, five all-league players and eight all-star game selections.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Brendan Skidmore joined the Hofstra Baseball staff as a volunteer assistant in September 2018. He came to Hofstra after serving in a variety of positions in youth baseball.
A first baseman at Binghamton University from 2014 to 2017, Skidmore helped the Bearcats win America East titles in 2014 and 2016, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in each season. He was a team captain as a senior and earned All-America East accolades as a junior after batting .307 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs. Skidmore also played summer ball with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape League in 2016 and won a championship. He also played for the Sanford Mariners (NECBL, 2015) and Wachusett Dirt Dogs (Futures League, 2014).
Skidmore, whose brother, Kyle, is a pitcher for the Pride, served as a assistant varsity baseball coach at Franklin (MA) High School last spring and has been an assistant coach for the Metrowest Sportscenter Sun Devils U16 team since 2017. He has also served as a counselor at a variety of camps.