Rob Weissheier capped off a last-inning rally with a two-run walkoff bomb as the Hofstra baseball team clawed back from a three-run deficit to knock off the College of Charleston 5-4 on Sunday afternoon, sealing the series sweep against the Cougars.
“Belief is a powerful thing. This weekend, they had a lot of belief in each other and themselves, and showed what it’s like to be tough,” said Hofstra head coach John Russo.
Teddy Cillis earned the win in relief, his first win in almost two years. Cillis pitched six innings and gave up three earned runs while striking out six.
“It was a little different coming out of the pen, but once I got settled in, I was good,” Cillis said.
He was also a catalyst in the Pride’s ninth-inning comeback, a comeback necessitated by the Cougars touching up Cillis for two runs in the top half of the eighth.
Down 4-1 with three outs to play, Hofstra showed that belief in spades with their backs against the wall.
With two men on and one man out, Cillis lined a single into center field to score Mikey Riesner and advance Vito Friscia to second base.
After a strikeout from Austin Gauthier, Weissheier stepped to the plate representing the go-ahead run.
“Once Austin struck out on that high curveball, I knew I had to pick my team up,” Weissheier said.
He did more than just pick his team up, Weissheier put his team on top. On a 2-1 count, the pitch came in from Cougars reliever Nathan Ocker and launched it to left field. The ball cleared the wall, three runs came across to score and Hofstra, who came into the weekend on a six-game losing streak, found themselves wrapping up a sweep of one of the CAA’s finest ballclubs in the College of Charleston.
“It was awesome, getting Teddy’s first win was nice. It felt great off the bat,” Weissheier said.
Friscia and Riesner came across to score on the homer for the Pride, and those two were a big part of Hofstra’s offense all afternoon.
Riesner went 3-4 on the afternoon with a pair of runs scored, including Hofstra’s first run of the game back in the fourth inning.
He was driven in courtesy of a single from Friscia, who had a 1-3 day at the dish to cap off a .600 (6-10) performance in the sweep. For his efforts, Friscia was crowned CAA Player of the Week on Monday afternoon.
Michael James got the start for the Pride on the hill, throwing three innings of one-run ball before handing off to Cillis.
“We got a good start from Michael James to get us three innings which allows Teddy to get to the ninth, which was kind of the gameplan all along,” Russo said.
Hofstra improved to 17-15 on the season with the win, and the Pride bumped their CAA record up to 7-8, good for sixth place in the conference.
Before getting back into CAA action with a three-game set at the College of William and Mary, Hofstra will head to Wappinger’s Falls, New York for a non-conference matchup against Manhattan College on Tuesday evening. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.