The Pride lost 6-3 to Manhattan University Wednesday at University Field. Manhattan third baseman Alex Cerda drove in three runs, including a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning off Seamus Brazill. With this loss, Hofstra’s record fell to 10-28 on the season.
Hofstra centerfielder Steven Foster continued his strong play in the losing effort, going 3-4 and coming up just a homer shy of the cycle. He raised his batting average to .362. Second baseman Tom Archer launched his first homer of the season in the third inning.
Physical and mental errors proved to be Hofstra’s undoing. After designated hitter Parker Quinn worked a leadoff walk in the third, he was picked off after being caught straying too far away from first base by Manhattan catcher Fabian Pena. Archer, who had squared to bunt on the pitch resulting in Quinn getting thrown out, hit the next pitch over the left field wall.
After Foster followed with a double to center, he was later picked off with two outs in the inning when he began running to third before the pitcher was set to throw.
The defense faltered in the fifth, when shortstop Brad Witkowski threw the ball away after fielding a routine grounder by Manhattan’s Jason Patnick, allowing for the runner to advance to second to start the inning. The Jaspers took advantage of Witkowski’s error, putting up three runs to go ahead 3-2.
“I think to be a good baseball team we’ve got to play solid defense and pitch the ball really well,” Hofstra head coach John Russo said. “I thought we threw the ball well enough [Wednesday] to win, but the errors just put us into tough holes and made for longer innings and gave Manhattan some confidence.”
Jorge Marrero, Chris Weiss and Michael James combined to throw four shutout innings, allowing one hit and tallying five strikeouts to begin the day for Hofstra. The only hit allowed by Hofstra through the first four frames was a two-out triple by centerfielder Evan Brown. In his two innings of relief, Weiss struck out four of the six batters he faced.
Hofstra got a run back in the bottom of the frame on a two-out RBI double by catcher Vito Friscia. Witkowski followed with a walk, bringing up Leiderman, representing the tying run. He flied out to right on the first pitch he saw. Hofstra then went down in order in the ninth.
Leiderman, who had been swinging a hot bat coming into this game, ended up leaving four runners on base. “He [Leiderman] just tried to do too much,” Russo said. “There were a couple of times [Manhattan] had first base open and I thought they were just going to walk him, and he swung and just wasn’t disciplined enough to take the walks [Wednseday]. I think that’s something that he has to understand; that he’s swinging the bat really well that teams aren’t going to just feed him balls to hit.”
The Pride begins a three-game series with the CAA-leading Huskies of Northeastern University this weekend, with the first game set for Friday, April 28 at 3 p.m.