Freshmen step up in win against UNC-Wilmington
Thanks to significant help from its freshmen, the Hofstra baseball team defeated UNC-Wilmington 7-3 on Friday, April 19, at University Field to kick off their weekend series. With the win, the Pride moves to 9-24 overall and 3-7 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play. The Seahawks fall to 20-19 and 5-5 in the conference.
“Getting a win against them always is a good win and getting the first one of the series is tough,” said Hofstra head coach John Russo.
Play opened up with little action through the first two innings as Jack Jett started on the mound for the Pride and didn’t allow a single hit or run over more than four innings. Seahawk Luke Gesell started for UNCW, allowing three runs in his 5 1/3 innings on the mound.
Scoring began in the third thanks to a home run from Hofstra freshman Ryan Morash, marking his first of the season. The Pride scored again in the fourth as freshman Anthony D'Onofrio doubled and brought Sean Flaherty home.
Jimmy Joyce came on to relieve Jett on the mound in the fifth inning.
In the sixth, with runners on first and second, D’Onofrio pulled through again with an RBI double that allowed Austin Gauthier to score and sent Flaherty to third. Senior Parker Quinn then hit a long single that allowed two runners to make it home and increased the Pride’s lead to 5-0.
UNCW took advantage of the Pride’s pitching change in the seventh, scoring their first two runs of the game thanks to a double from Noah Bridges and cutting Hofstra’s lead to 5-2.
Flaherty quickly answered back as two walks and a balk put Vito Friscia and Rob Weissheier on second and third and allowed Flaherty to double, bringing both runners home and increasing the Pride’s lead back to five. The hit from Friscia marks his 15th-straight game on base.
“[Justin Crump] was kind of sporadic. I knew he was going to come out with a fastball and I jumped on it,” Flaherty said. “I was ready for it.”
The Pride saw one more pitching change as Jack Anderson came on to relieve Joyce and closed out the game.
Going into the ninth inning with a 7-2 lead, Anderson had one thing on his mind. “As long as they don’t score five, we get the win,” he said. “That’s about it. Find three outs before they get five. That’s what I’m thinking about.”
However, the Seahawks snuck one last run by him in the ninth as Kep Brown managed a sacrifice fly, adding one more run to the board for UNCW. But it wasn’t enough as the Pride defeated the Seahawks in a final score of 7-3.
The Pride is on a three-game winning streak and believe something is finally “clicking” for them.
“We’re just starting to play better baseball, bottom line ... guys are just stepping up,” Russo said.
They also recognize the contribution the freshmen made to the game and the effect they have had on the team in general.
“All of our freshmen stepped up [today] ... If we keep them rolling we keep ourselves rolling,” Quinn said.
The Pride will be back for Game 2 of the series on Saturday, April 20, at University Field. The first pitch is set for 3 p.m.
Image Courtesy of Adam Flash / The Hofstra Chronicle