The Hofstra softball team got its Saturday doubleheader started with a bang, hitting three home runs en route to an 8-0 victory in five innings over the University of Delaware at Bill Edwards Stadium.
“We swung the bats very, very well. We hit some balls out of the ballpark. We drew some key walks in some key situations…[we were] very competitive in both games,” said Hofstra head coach Larissa Anderson.
While the Pride’s offense had been somewhat lackluster in the first half of the season, the bats woke up in a big way on Saturday, as the team teed off on the Blue Hens’ ace Jordan Cargile.
At the epicenter of Hofstra’s offensive onslaught was third baseman Megan Patierno, who launched two homers, driving in five of Hofstra’s eight runs in the contest.
Patierno’s first long ball was a three-run shot to center that just carried over the outfield wall, giving Hofstra an early 3-0 edge. In the fifth and ultimately final inning, she launched a no-doubter to left field to stretch that lead to 5-0.
She got the fireworks started in a five-run fifth inning, as catcher Brittany Allocca would hit a homer of her own two batters later, tacking on another run. RBI base hits from Kristin Hallam and Brielle Pietrafesa would tack on the Pride’s final two runs, bringing the mercy rule into play and ending the first game of the doubleheader early.
Patierno had three total hits to lead the Pride in the game, while Hallam and center fielder Courtney Scarpato each added two hits.
The first inning home run would be all the run support that Hofstra ace Sarah Cornell would need. The freshman tossed five shutout innings, and after some early issues with command, settled in nicely down the stretch.
In all, Cornell walked five batters, four in the first two innings. But she didn’t allow the Delaware lineup any chances to capitalize on early baserunners, leaving a pair of Blue Hens stranded in each of the first two innings. Cornell only allowed two hits on the day, and struck out two to pick up her 11th win of the season.
Miscues on the bases and in the field also hindered Delaware on Saturday. With runners on first and second and nobody out in the second inning, Julia Solderitch ripped a grounder into center field, past the shortstop Hallam.
However, the third base umpire deemed that the Blue Hens’ runner had interfered with Hallam, and was ruled out, essentially nullifying what would have been a base hit for Solderitch.
The next batter, Mattie Nuccio, tried to get down a bunt, but popped it up to Patierno, who quickly fired to second base to double up the Delaware runner, who failed to get back to the bag in time. The double play ended the inning, and squashed the Blue Hens’ best chance to score.
Junior Nikki Michalowski led the Pride to a 6-5 victory in the second gamer of a doubleheader following an 8-0 shutout against the University of Delaware at Bill Edwards Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Michalowski, who entered the game with no home runs on the season, hit a two-run homer to left in her first at-bat of the game to give the Pride a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. In her next at bat in the bottom of the third, she followed Lacey Clark’s single to left with another two-run homer to center field.
Michalowski reached base for a third time on an error by the Delaware third baseman in the bottom of the fifth. She went 2-4 on the day with four RBI and raised her average to .246 for the season.
“[Michalowski’s] been swinging so well in practice. The ball hasn’t been falling for her, but I have confidence in putting her in the four spot because I know that she’s capable of handling it and she has that mentality… She had an opportunity with a ball up in the zone and she was able to capitalize,” Coach Anderson said.
Pride freshman Alyssa Irons picked up her second win of the season. She’s now 2-6 on the year. Irons struggled to find the zone in the first, but regained her composure to get out of the inning and strand two Delaware runners. She followed the first with quick innings in both the second and third.
Delaware’s Mariah Kondravy led off the fourth inning with a double to left. An error by Irons put a second runner on base. The Blue Hens then put in two pinch-runners to try and cut down the Pride’s 5-0 lead. A passed ball advanced the runners, but Irons escaped the inning surrendering only one run on a sacrifice fly for the Blue Hens’ first run of the game.
Delaware added its second run on a passed ball in the top of the fifth. The Blue Hens threatened to score again in the top of the sixth. After loading the bases with two outs, Irons battled back to escape the jam on a called third strike.
The Pride answered with adding an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on Brielle Pietrafesa’s double to left field, which proved crucial to the win.
Irons walked the leadoff hitter to begin the seventh. Giovanna Kolofer then hit a single to right to put two runners on base and with one out, Delaware sophomore Anna Steinmetz hit a three-run homer to left field. It was her ninth home run of the season and cut the Pride’s lead to one run.
Senior Jessica Peslak came in to replace Irons and get the final two outs of the game with back-to-back strikeouts to get the save. Irons went six and one-third innings, striking out four, walking three, and hitting a batter. She lowered her ERA to 6.79 for the season.
“She was able to mix levels. She was throwing the ball up in the zone and they were chasing some rise balls and then she would counteract with the drop ball and her off-speed’s outstanding,” Anderson said.
Hofstra looks to go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon against the University of Delaware Blue Hens at Bill Edwards Stadium.
“Tomorrow’s huge. If we’re able to sweep, and we are capable of doing it, this can be outstanding. Not only for our seeding and our standing within the conference, but also for the confidence level that this team has,” Coach Anderson said.