Softball's historic season comes to an end with loss vs South Carolina
The 2018 season for the Hofstra Pride softball team came to a devastating end Saturday evening with a loss against No. 9 University of South Carolina, 5-4.
No. 24 Hofstra was fighting for a spot in the NCAA Columbia Regional final.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Gamecocks drew a walk right before the next batter, Krystan White, belted a walk-off, two-run home run that stunned the Pride.
Sophie Dandola, fresh off of her perfect game, got the start for Hofstra.
In the bottom of the first, South Carolina’s Cayla Drotar sent one over the center field wall, giving the Gamecocks an early 2-0 lead.
Cornell entered for Dandola in the second and recorded 10 strikeouts and seven walks while allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.
Drotar, the Gamecocks starting pitcher, retired the first 11 Hofstra batters she faced. It was senior Brittany Allocca who started the rally for the Pride with two outs in the top of the fourth, sending the first pitch she saw deep to left field – her 16th round-tripper of the season.
In the top of the fifth, fellow senior classmate Nikki Michalowski went to the opposite field and pulled the Pride within one, hitting a solo shot.
In the top of the sixth, South Carolina pulled their starter and inserted freshman Kelsey Oh who entered the contest with an ERA below two.
Kristin Hallam drew a leadoff walk and Brielle Pietrafesa followed with an infield single. Oh then retired Allocca who attempted to bunt her way on. Sarah Edwards was up next and took a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line for the go-ahead, two-run RBI double, scoring Hallam and Pietrafesa.
In the bottom of the frame, Cornell sat down the Gamecocks in order.
In the top of the seventh, after a strikeout and ground out, Cornell issued a walk to the number seven batter, Jana Johns. Next, she fell behind White 2-1 and threw a fast ball on the inner portion of the plate that White sent into the South Carolina night. The Gamecocks faithful erupted and Hofstra was left in utter disbelief.
The game winning play ended the career of seven Hofstra seniors – the first class under the helm of head coach Larissa Anderson.
“I am just so proud of this team and our seven seniors and how they represent our program and university,” Anderson said. “I cannot say enough about them; they give everything that they have to this program and I am just really proud of them.”
Despite the difficult ending, this year’s Hofstra team broke several program records such as home runs and runs in a single season. In addition, Hofstra recorded their 29th consecutive winning season while capturing their 12th Colonial Athletic Association title.
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics