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Softball's hot start continues

By Alex Pineda Staff Writer

The Pride improved their record to 11-3 last weekend as they split four games in the Parents’ Weekend Tournament hosted by Florida Atlantic University.

The Pride dropped a tough game to Michigan State Saturday after beating the Spartans 8-0 in their previous matchup. Michigan State shut out the Pride and scored a run in the third inning, which was enough for a victory.

In the second game of the day, Army transfer Morgan Lashley overcame two early home runs and went the distance as Hofstra outlasted Virginia Tech in extra innings. After striking out three times, sophomore Caryn Bailey came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded and got her first hit of the game, belting the ball over the fence for a walk-off grand slam.

“It’s not always how many hits you get, it’s when you get them,” said Associate Head Coach Larissa Anderson. “In our sport you have to be able to rebound, and you can’t dwell on those strikeouts.”

Catcher Erin Trippi got a run back on a single home run in the fourth inning, before sophomore Maggie Hawkins singled through the right side to knock in a run and even the game in the sixth, setting up the dramatic finish.

On Sunday, the Pride failed to score a run for only the second time this season as they were shut out by the University of Illinois and lost 0-2. The two teams had yet to score through seven innings when Illinois’ Jess Perkins blasted a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning. Illinois held Hofstra without a run in the bottom of the frame to earn the victory.

Coach Bill Edwards’ team redeemed itself later in the day as Lashley shut out host FAU to remain undefeated, recording her eighth win and third shutout. The right-hander from North Carolina struck out nine batters and allowed only six hits while walking one.

“She had a lot to work on when she came into our program, and she’s completely brought in,” said Anderson. “The biggest thing that we’ve seen with her is she’s just a true competitor.”

FAU put up a run in the bottom of the first inning to start the scoring, but the Pride came back and tied the score in the second as Bailey hit a triple to right centerfield to drive in shortstop Becca Bigler.

The Pride jumped on FAU pitcher Samantha Messer in the third inning, scoring six runs. Rachael Senatore started off the one-out rally with a single and stole second to get in scoring position. Following a walk by sophomore Chloe Fitzgerald, Maggie Hawkins doubled to drive in both base runners. After two walks, Bailey came to the plate with the bases loaded and singled up the middle, knocking in two runs and bringing her weekend RBI total to seven.

The Pride will finally have an opportunity to play at home this weekend as they host Georgetown (7-12), Fairfield (2-5) and Columbia (1-6) for the Hofstra Invitational.

“We’re definitely looking forward to playing at home in front of our home crowd,” said Anderson.

The games were originally slated to begin on Friday, but the schedule was adjusted due to expected weather conditions.

“The temperatures are going to be down in the 30s and you just can’t play our sport in that cold weather,” said Anderson. Temperatures are expected to be warmer on Saturday and Sunday.

The Pride will take on both Fairfield and Columbia on Saturday before meeting Georgetown on Sunday morning to wrap up round-robin play.

The tournament will conclude with a championship game at 2 p.m. on Sunday, followed by the consolation game.

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