Four unanswered runs from the College of Charleston doomed Hofstra’s hopes of capturing a CAA series win Sunday, as the Pride dropped the rubber game in South Carolina 4-2.
Charleston – the team picked to finish third in the conference preseason poll – surrendered runs in the first and fourth, but Pride pitchers John Rooney and John Ryan could not hold the Cougars’ bats down the stretch. Hofstra’s series loss lands the Pride at 1-2 in CAA play through the opening weekend.
Hofstra jumped on Charleston starter Tucker White quickly in the top of the first. Brad Witkowski smacked a one-out double into left field, allowing Mikey Riesner to single him home three batters later.
Riesner continued to be a powerful bat with runners in scoring position: his single notched his 17th RBI of 2017, almost double the number that the players with the second-most in the category on the team have (Steven Foster, Nick Bottari and Teddy Cillis are tied with nine).
The score held until the top of the fourth when David Leiderman cleared the left field fence for his first home run of 2017, making the score 2-0 Pride.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Cougars offense jumped on Sunday’s starter Rooney. Back-to-back one-out walks opened the door for Charleston to use consecutive hits by Seth Wall and Bradley Dixon to tie things up at 2-2. Rooney stayed poised in a one-out bases loaded situation though, and forced a strike out and a fly ball out to keep the score even.
After a perfect fifth, Rooney’s day came to an end in the sixth after a leadoff triple, followed by the go-ahead sac fly from Dixon, putting Charleston ahead 3-2. Rooney’s line ended at 5.1 innings of four-hit, three-run ball with five strikeouts and four walks.
Freshman reliever John Ryan entered to finish the inning with no more harm done, coaxing a strikeout to end the inning. Ryan, though, surrendered an insurance run to Charleston in the eighth after walking his leadoff batter, creating a two-run cushion 4-2 for the Cougars.
Hofstra had a few opportunities to strike back, but they never led to runs on the board. Most notably in the seventh inning, Witkowski sat at third base with two outs, but Riesner’s ensuing at-bat would not lead to another RBI, flying out to right field.
In the bottom of the ninth, Hofstra remained behind 4-2. With two outs, Bottari walked, bringing the tying run to the plate. The Pride’s glimpse of light was short lived though, as Cillis then struck out to end the game.
The Pride’s overall record sits at 6-16 after the loss, while Rooney, the losing pitcher, saw his record drop to 1-5.
The loss brought an end to an 11-game road trip that was lengthier than expected due to two postponed home games last week. The Pride went 3-8 over the stretch away from its home field.
Hofstra returns home on Tuesday to face Manhattan College at University Field at 3 p.m. The Pride split its season series against the Jaspers in 2016, winning its home matchup 14-4.