Hofstra baseball fell to Grambling State University 8-7 Saturday on a walk-off passed ball at the Mardi Gras Invitational in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Hofstra coughed up three separate leads throughout the game, losing the lead at the bottom half of every frame.
Hofstra allowed two runs in the second inning after going ahead 3-1, one run in the fourth after leading 4-3 and three runs in the sixth after going up 6-4.
With this loss, Hofstra dropped to 2-5 on the season.
Left-handed starter Teddy Cillis struggled to throw strikes in his four innings of work, plunking two batters and walking six (including lead-off walks in each of the first three innings).
Cillis also struck out five batters, receiving the no decision. Hofstra’s defense did not provide much help for the redshirt junior.
Of the four runs allowed by Cillis, only one was earned.
A throwing error committed by catcher Vito Friscia on a double-steal attempt allowed for both runners to score in the second inning, prompting head coach John Russo to pinch-hit for his catcher with Chris Hardhardt in the third.
With Grambling State loading the bases to start the third, Cillis proceeded to strike out the next three batters.
Grambling State’s starter Tanner Raiburn went 5.2 innings, allowing six runs (five earned), eight hits and seven strikeouts.
After falling behind 1-0, Hofstra scored three in the second, thanks to a run-scoring bunt by second baseman Tom Archer, a wild pitch and a two-out RBI single by Steven Foster.
Hofstra regained the lead in the fourth after singles by Mikey Riesner and Vinnie Costello. Riesner later scored on a balk by Raiburn.
Grambling State tied it on a two-out error by third baseman David Leiderman, but Hofstra regained the lead in the sixth on a double steal of second and home, with Archer stealing second and Riesner scoring after the throw to second.
After Costello walked, Foster drove in Archer.
Grambling State continued to fight back thanks to back-to-back two-out walks, followed by a two-run double from third baseman Daniel Barnett.
Catcher Johan Mojica brought home Barnett with a RBI single, putting Grambling State up 7-6. Hofstra was quick to answer back, with first baseman Nick Bottari leading off the seventh inning with a double.
A walk and sac-bunt put runners on second and third with one out and Sean Rausch’s RBI single tied it at 7-7.
Grambling State’s left fielder Alexander Felder led off the final frame with a single to right field, advancing to second when Foster could not field the ball cleanly.
After a bunt single by right fielder Nick Wheeler did not advance Felder, designated hitter Rafael Ramirez was able to get down the sac-bunt and advance the runners.
Hofstra reliever John Ryan, who had been pitching since getting the last out of the sixth inning, was able to strike out center fielder Ian Bailey, but Hardardt could not keep the ball in front of him on the third strike, allowing Felder to score the winning run.
Ryan got the loss, falling to 0-1, despite the run allowed was unearned. He struck out four in 2.2 innings.
James Beasley also pitched for the Pride, going 1.2 innings with three earned runs and one strikeout.
Hofstra’s shortstop Riesner put up a strong effort at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and three runs scored.
The only time he was retired was when he hit into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners.
Center fielder Costello, left fielder Rausch and right fielder Foster each had two hits.
For Grambling State, Daniel Beizer earned the win after pitching the final three innings, logging two hits and a strikeout.
At the plate, Marshawn Taylor collected three hits and three runs from the lead-off spot, while Johan Mojica and Nick Wheeler had two hits each.
Barnett had an interesting day at the plate, going 1-for-1 with three walks and three runs batted in.
Hofstra is next in action March 4 and 5 against Charleston Southern University in a three-game set in Charleston, South Carolina.