By Tyler McCord, Staff Writer
Hofstra extended its 10 game winning streak with a series sweep of Drexel over the weekend and wins over Iona on Tuesday and Rutgers University yesterday at the Hofstra Softball Stadium.
Hofstra (19-8, 5-0 CAA) is 13-1 in its last 14 games after the 10-4 victory while Rutgers fell to 10-19 on the season.
Sophomore Olivia Galati, who earned 26 wins a season ago, improved to 12-5 on the season, which accounts for 63 percent of Hofstra's wins.
The former 2010 Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year struck out 14, but walked a season-high four batters.
Galati also gave up two homeruns—a second inning blast that landed at least 15 feet past the fence and a fifth inning line drive over left field.
"[Galati] has great command of her pitches. She knows where they're going and she can spot all of her pitches to the area that it has to be thrown to," head coach Bill Edwards said.
"We're able to set up hitters, get a hitter looking one way, and Olivia is able to hit a spot to where the hitter is not looking."
Although it was a "un-Galati" like performance according to Edwards, her teammates helped her out at the plate.
Junior second baseman Jess Hirschbuhl had two hits and four RBIs and aside from throwing out a base runner attempting to steal second base in the third inning, senior catcher Laura Valentino had one hit—a bases-loaded clearing double that put the Pride up 10-3.
Sophomore left fielder D.J. Slugh had two hits in the game, giving her six hits in the past four games.
After five innings the Pride led Rutgers by one run, but a sixth inning meltdown by the Scarlet Knights allowed Hofstra to gain a comfortable lead.
A series of singles, bloop hits, walks and Valentino's double allowed Hofstra to bring six runs home.
The seventh inning was a little shaky for the Pride with two bobbled plays at second base and a few walks from Galati.
Edwards called for junior Erin Wade to finish out the game.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Wade got Kaci Madden to ground to third base where senior Krista Thorn bobbled the ball, scooped it up with her glove, and dove on the base just in time for the third out.
"[Galati] struggled all day long it was so un-Galati like," said Edwards. "She really struggled. I was going to pull her a little earlier, but I wanted her to feel a little adversity. Sometimes when you're pitching so well you forget what it's like to struggle, and I wanted her to struggle a little bit."
Just a day earlier, the Pride's offense came alive in its game against Iona (6-9).
"I thought we played well," said Edwards. "We got some timely hits which are important anytime you can get as many runs as we got, we started to break out the bats a little bit, and we got some really good swings…"
Sophomore outfielder Rachael Senatore had three hits and two RBIs in the leadoff position for Hofstra, but it was Wade who stole the show on the mound, pitching five shutout innings, giving up a mere two hits to improve her record to 7-3.
"[Wade pitched ] very, very well," said Edwards. "She wasn't at her best because of the cold weather. It's very tough to throw in these conditions."
Along with Senatore, five other Hofstra batters recorded at least one hit in the effort. Both sophomore outfielder D.J. Slugh and Hirschbuhl had two hits for the Pride.
With Wade's performance, Hofstra's offense was able to dominate the Gaels, winning by a score of 8-0 in five innings.
Hofstra beat Drexel 3-1 and 6-3 in a Saturday double header and dominated Dragons by a score of 12-0 on Sunday.