By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
Hofstra softball played double-headers on March 20-21 as part of the Hofstra Invitational under Sunny, seventy-degree conditions. The Pride won three of four games against Boston University and the University of Connecticut.
Hofstra started off slow against Boston University. A shaky outing by sophomore starter Erin Wade helped open up the flood gates for the Terriers as they poured on nine runs, seven of them charged to Wade as BU took game one 9-4. With a vital part of the pitching staff struggling, head coach Bill Edwards saw no cause for concern. "She's allowed to have an outing like that as long as she bounces back. The problem was that she didn't have command of her pitches that day," Edwards said.
The Pride bounced back later that afternoon against UConn. Freshman pitcher and CAA Rookie of the Week Olivia Galati mowed down the Huskies, allowing one hit in a complete game shut out. Senior first baseman Michele DePasquale helped the offense get the run support that Galati needed as the Pride took game two of Saturday 3-0.
Game three of the Hofstra was a pitcher's duel when the Pride took on BU for the second time on Sunday morning. Galati again took the mound for the Pride against BU senior hurler Cassidi Hardy.
BU gained the first lead of the game in the third inning when designated player, freshman Whitney Tuthill, hit a homerun to left field. Galati faced more trouble in the fourth inning when she loaded the bases with no outs. This proved to not be a problem for the freshman as she struck out the side in what coach Edwards described as "one of the most clutch performances I've ever seen."
Hardy was setting down the Pride without much trouble as she took a no-hitter until the fifth inning until junior catcher Laura Valentino doubled off of he center field wall. Despite Valentino's hit, Hardy escaped the inning unscathed. It was not until the sixth inning until Hofstra finally scored. Galati led off the inning by reaching first on a dropped third strike. Following the error, DePasquale doubled down the left field line to score Galati and tie the game at one apiece.
Galati set down the Terriers in the top of the seventh inning to finish with 13 strikeouts and one earned run on four hits. With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, junior designated hitter Sara Michalowski ended the game by sending a walk-off homerun over the center field wall giving Hofstra the 2-1 victory.
The last game of the Hofstra Invitational gave Wade an opportunity to redeem herself against UConn. "E-Wade" did not disappoint for the Pride, throwing a two-hitter and stifling the already stagnant UConn offense. The bats came alive against the Huskies as the Pride collected 11 hits including a solo home run by freshman right fielder Tessa Ziemba and a two run single by senior center fielder Kris Root. Hofstra won the game 5-1.
Coach Edwards was happy with the team's performance and stressed that the success of the team relied on the success of their pitchers. "Everything is on the shoulders of Galati and Wade," he said. "If they pitch well, we will be in every game."
Hofstra, who is 14-4 on the season after Wednesday's 6-2 victory at St. John's, looks to continue its success Saturday against Long Island University.