Hofstra softball falls to Liberty University in NCAA Tournament opener
The Hofstra Pride softball team, which entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 24 seed, fell to Liberty University 2-0 in 10 innings of play at the NCAA regional opener in South Carolina on Friday night.
Hofstra’s ace Sarah Cornell took the hill for the Pride. She gave up two runs on five hits and struck out five batters while throwing 125 pitches over nine strong innings of work.
It was a pitcher’s duel through the first nine innings.
In the top of the third inning, it appeared that the Flames were going to get out to an early lead until redshirt senior Michaela Transue made an amazing play corralling a hard-hit ground ball, stepping on second base and firing to third for a 4-5 double play to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
While the Pride showed many signs that they were going to put runs on the board, the Flames kept figuring out ways to keep them off.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Pride put runners on second and third with two outs off of hits from Brittany Allocca and Sarah Edwards, but a pop-up from Courtney Scarpato ended the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Hofstra loaded the bases. Kristin Hallam and Brielle Pietrafesa both singled to left field while Edwards reached base on an error, only to have Scarpato line out to left field to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hofstra again loaded the bases. Nikki Michalowski and Kaitlyne Musa both got on base on errors from Liberty's defense, and Transue reached on a walk, though back-to-back outs managed to keep Hofstra off the board.
The Flames were able to get out of every inning unscathed, forcing the game to go into extra innings tied at 0-0.
Finally, after nine scoreless innings, Liberty’s Kaitlin McFarland homered to left field in the top of the 10th inning to put Liberty on the board. Madison Via then tripled to left field, bringing Hofstra to go through their first pitching change as Sophie Dandola replaced Cornell after a little over nine innings of work. Soon after, Via scored the second run of the game off of an error from catcher Musa. The run was charged to Cornell instead of Dandola, since Via reached while Cornell was still on the mound.
In her short time on the mound, Dandola allowed one hit and struck out one after facing nine batters.
Cornell was charged with the loss, falling to 23-8 on the season.
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics