Hofstra advances to CAA Title game with victory over James Madison
After defeating the Towson Tigers 9-4 on Wednesday afternoon in Game 1 of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship Tournament, the Pride took on longstanding rivals, the James Madison University Dukes, at Veterans Memorial Park and came out victorious 9-6.
The Pride quickly jumped out on top. In the top of the first inning, Brittany Allocca launched a two-run home run over the left field wall to score Brielle Pietrafesa.
The Pride went again with ace Sarah Cornell, but Hofstra’s lead would be short-lived as the Dukes would score three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Dukes’ pitcher Odicci Alexander helped herself out by hitting a three-run home run to give her team the lead. Cornell gave up three runs on two hits, three walks and hit a batter.
Sophie Dandola would enter the game for the Pride to relieve Cornell in the bottom of the second inning.
The Pride pulled back ahead on a Sarah Edwards three-run home run to center field in the top of the third. Pietrafesa, who reached base on a walk, and Imani Myint, who was pinch running for Allocca, both scored off of Edwards’ home run.
Down 5-3, James Madison added two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to tie it. Natalie Cutright and Madison Naujokas both scored after Morgan Tolle hit a double to left center field.
In the top of the fourth inning it appeared that the Pride could expand their lead after an error and pitching change for JMU, but Payton Buresch shut down the two Hofstra batters she faced. Hofstra stranded three in the inning.
The Pride continued to add more runs in the top of the fifth. Megan Patierno came up huge for the Pride with a three-run shot to center field, scoring Nikki Michalowski and Courtney Scarpato.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Patierno continued to help the Pride after she made an amazing double play off of a hard-hit line drive at third and threw the base runner out at first.
The back and forth contest was put on hold by a two-hour rain delay in the sixth inning due to lightning in the area. When the game resumed, Scarpato hit a single up the middle that scored Pietrafesa.
The Pride headed into the bottom of the seventh inning needing only three outs to secure their ticket to the CAA Championship game. Kierstin Roadcap started off the inning for the Dukes with a home run down the left-field line, but that proved to be not enough for the Dukes as Dandola got the remaining three batters out.
Dandola earned her 16th win of the season. She allowed three runs on six hits and struck out one in six strong innings of work.
Hofstra will play on Friday, May 11 against the winner from the losers bracket.
Last time the Pride won the CAA Championship was in 2015 against James Madison by a score of 2-1.
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics