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Hofstra drops two of three in CAA series at UNCW

The Hofstra baseball team wrapped up their opening series in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play with a pair of losses on Saturday to UNC Wilmington by scores of 5-3 and 6-2 after defeating the Seahawks 5-3 on Friday.

The series opener on Friday evening saw John Rooney take the mound for the Pride. He had a strong outing, allowing four hits, three runs, and seven strikeouts through seven innings of work. Rooney also recorded his eighth pickoff of the season in the first inning.

Hofstra got on the board first in the opener, with Vinnie Costello scoring on a single to the right side from Devon Jeffrey. Costello had put himself in scoring position by swiping second base.

The lead was short-lived for the Pride as UNCW came right back, scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning off of a home run from Mason Berne.

The Seahawks scored another run the following inning and one more in the fourth, stretching their lead to 3-1 at the end of the fourth. Berne had another home run in the bottom of the fourth for UNCW.

Hofstra’s bats came alive in the top of the sixth inning. Costello hit a two-run home run to left field, driving in Mikey Riesner and tying the game at three. 

In the eighth inning, Teddy Cillis started the inning with a double to left and Rob Weissheier drove him in with a single to right-center field, putting Hofstra ahead 4-3.

In the bottom of the eighth, Chris Weiss came in the relieve Rooney on the mound. Weiss would pitch the final two innings to earn the save, only allowing one hit and recording all six of his outs by strikeout.

Hofstra added an insurance run in the ninth on a fielder's choice, and the Pride would pick up the win to kick off the series.

Costello, Weissheier and Vito Friscia each had two hits on the day, with Friscia extending his hitting streak to nine games.

It was Cillis who got the ball for the first game of the doubleheader. Cillis took a no-decision, allowing three runs on six hits in six innings of work.

Just like on Friday, Hofstra got on the board quickly to start the game, scoring all three of their runs in the first inning.

Steven Foster had a leadoff walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Austin Gauthier. Friscia then singled which put runners on the corners. Then a throwing error by UNCW shortstop Greg Jones, on a grounder from Weissheier allowed two runs to score. Weissheier made it to third and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Riesner.

Berne came up big for the Seahawks for the second straight day in the bottom of the third, hitting a two-run blast to left field, cutting the Pride’s lead to 3-2. Berne's home run was the first allowed by Cillis this season.

Hofstra still had the lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. After Cillis let up back-to-back doubles, Seamus Brazill came in for relief. The Pride couldn’t escape the jam unscathed, as a sac fly from Ryan Jeffers would tie the game at three.

The Seahawks added two more runs in a four-hit eighth inning and held on to the lead to defeat the Pride 5-3.

Foster extended his on-base streak to 12 games with two walks in game one. Friscia extended his hitting streak to 10 games in the opener.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Weissheier got the start, tossing 4.2 innings  and allowing six runs on five hits. 

UNCW struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Hofstra did not get a hit until the fifth inning when Weissheier singled and Costello doubled, but Daniel Page flew out with two outs to quell a potential rally for the Pride.

UNCW added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, tacking on four more runs on a two-run double from Jeffers and a two-run home run from Berne.

Hofstra began showing some signs of life in the eighth inning. Friscia had a RBI groundout driving in Gauthier, who had doubled and reached third base on a wild pitch. The Pride scored their second run on an error that allowed Cillis to score from first base.

That brief flurry of offense was all the Pride could muster however, as the Seahawks held on to their lead to defeat the Pride 6-2 and win the series.

Foster's on-base streak ended in the second game as well as Friscia’s hitting streak.

The Pride are back in action against Monmouth University on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

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