Slow offense and defense issues for softball against Utah
The Hofstra Pride softball team dropped their fourth, and final, game of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational 11-3 to the University of Utah Utes in six innings on Feb. 17.
Hailey Hilburn put the final nail in the coffin with a two-run double down the left field line, her third and fourth RBI of the afternoon, moving to right field after pitching the first three innings. Utah (5-5) played their fifth game of the season that ended before the seventh inning after losing the four previous games. The Utes also nabbed their first win of the tournament.
Hofstra started the game strong, taking advantage of poor command from Hilburn and an error by shortstop Brionna Castaneda to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Kristin Hallam walked and Courtney Scarpato doubled her home with one out. Four batters later, catcher Devyn Losco walked in Meghan Giordano for the second run with two outs and freshman Angelina Ioppolo followed it up with her first career hit and RBI, scoring Lyndsey Shaw. Both of those runs were unearned. That would be the only offense the Pride would muster as they only managed one more hit for the rest of the game on an out that was overturned in the sixth.
The Utes responded in the next two innings. A two out single by Hilburn got them on the board in the first after a wide throw from center fielder Lydia Witkowski made for a difficult play for Losco. In the second, a single by Noskin scored Gasper and a slow relay throw allowed Castaneda to win a close play at the plate tying the game at three.
The turning point of the game was the fourth inning where the Utes got five runs on home runs by Alyssa Palacios and Hilburn. Palacios hit a three-run shot with no outs. Hofstra starting pitcher Madison Burns only saw one more batter after that. Mackenzie Suto came in to clean up and got two outs before Hilburn sent a 2-1 pitch over the fence, making the score 8-3. Suto would get Abby Robertson to fly out but the damage was done.
The Pride were evidently worn down from playing a doubleheader Saturday plus another on Friday, all against ranked opponents. They couldn’t get hits and the defense was a step slow, missing a few double play opportunities and giving up runs. Softball is a game of inches and seconds and the Pride were a little behind and it showed.
Hofstra gets a bit of a break this week, the Pride are back in action on Friday, Feb. 22 against Nicholls State in their first game of the Mardi Gras Invitational at Jaguar Field in Mobile, Alabama.