Baseball's late rally not enough in loss to Towson in series opener
The Hofstra baseball team dropped their series opener, at home, against Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponent Towson University on Friday, April 12, 8-5.
Anthony D’Onofrio hit his first career home run, leading the Pride with a season-high three RBIs.
Both teams got out to quick starts, each scoring an unearned run in the first inning. Towson took advantage of two throwing errors from Hofstra’s shortstop Austin Gauthier and catcher Vito Friscia that allowed Towson’s leadoff hitter, Javon Fields, to reach third base.
A walk and another stolen base set up a sacrifice fly from Towson’s Nick Brown to score the first run.
Hofstra immediately answered back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Gauthier made up for his earlier error by reaching first on a one-out single and then stealing second and third base.
The sophomore tied the game after Towson third baseman Zach Piazza couldn’t make a clean throw to first on a Quinn Parker ground ball.
The next three innings showcased dominant starting pitching as Hofstra’s Jack Jett and Towson’s Josh Seils did not allow another hit through the fourth inning.
Seils was particularly great, allowing just three runs – two earned – on five hits, while striking out eight in eight-plus innings.
“You got to appreciate Seils’ performance today for Towson,” Hofstra head coach John Russo said. ”We were dominated for eight innings on the mound.”
In each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, the Pride had a runner in scoring position, but couldn’t produce any runs as Seils worked around any trouble he faced.
Jett, who improved each inning, retired 11 batters in a row at one point but ran into trouble in the fifth inning. A one-out single by the Tigers’ Trey Martinez and a walk to Richard Miller put runners on first and second for Towson.
The Tigers took the lead as a hit by Fields carried with the wind that was blowing out during the game, hitting off the center-field wall, bringing in Martinez.
Dirk Masters extended the Towson lead with a two-RBI single, before Hofstra’s Daniel Page stopped the bleeding with a 5-3 double play to end the inning.
Jett would exit following the fifth, posting a stat line of five innings pitched, three hits, three earned runs, walking just two batters and striking out a season-high five batters.
Towson would blow open the game in the ninth inning, once again punishing Hofstra’s defensive mistakes. Gauthier’s second error of the game allowed the first batter of the inning to reach safely.
“It’s just bad baseball. We talk about getting the lead off guy out, the pitchers did their job,” Russo said. “Us as a defense and us as position players did not do our job.”
Jimmy Joyce, who entered in the sixth inning, pitched three scoreless innings in relief, then allowed a single and walk before a balk moved both runners into scoring position. A single from Fields gave the Towson center fielder his second RBI of the game.
A sacrifice bunt from Masters and a sacrifice fly from Piazza gave Towson an 8-1 lead in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, the first three Hofstra batters reached base as Friscia lead off with a double, Rob Weissheier was then hit by a pitch, setting up Parker’s RBI single to drive Friscia in, cutting the deficit to 8-2.
After a fly out, D’Onofrio, who entered the game in the seventh inning pinch-hitting for Vinnie Costello, brought Hofstra right back into the game with a towering shot over the left-field wall, bringing the Pride within just three runs.
Hofstra couldn’t do anything else as Jake Pecilunas entered the game for Towson, retiring the next two batters to end the game.
Friday’s loss brings Hofstra’s record to 6-23, (1-6 in CAA), as Towson improved to 6-26 (2-5 in CAA). Both teams go back at it on Sat, April 13, at 2 p.m. at University Field.
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics