Late rally not enough as softball falls to UNCW
The Hofstra softball team rallied late but couldn’t overcome a five-run second inning from UNC-Wilmington, losing 6-3 to the Seahawks. The loss puts the Pride in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) as they now sit at 7-11 in the conference.
Madison Burns started in the circle for the Pride, getting into some early trouble. After allowing a single to the first batter she faced, she walked the third batter in the inning, allowing runners in scoring position early. She got out of the jam and got two quick outs in the second inning but eventually lost her momentum. She allowed four straight singles and a double, leaving the Pride in a 5-0 hold after five batters.
Part of what makes Burns successful this year is her ability to keep the ball on the ground. Her most dominant starts occur when she gets more groundouts than flyouts. Today, she got 11 flyouts contrasted with only six groundouts. When the ball stays in the air, it finds gaps more often, leading to quick rallies for the Seahawks.
She also struggled with her control. Burns only struck out one batter while walking four.
On offense, the Pride got runners in scoring position in the first two innings but were unable to capitalize. They broke through in the fifth inning, using their speed and patience to their advantage. Lydia Witkowski started the inning with a bunt single, advancing to third when Skylar Cirillo reached on an error. Kristin Hallam pinch ran for Cirillo and immediately stole second, setting up runners on second and third base with the heart of the order coming up. Kasey Collins and Meghan Giordano both walked, putting the Pride on the board. A batter later, Alexis Goeke put the Pride within two runs with a two RBI single.
The single continued a hot streak for Goeke. Since becoming an everyday player for the Pride, she has recorded a hit in 12 of her last 13 games, including three multi-hit games and four home runs.
The Seahawks earned a key insurance in the bottom of the fifth, driving in a run on a single by Dominique Travers. The run put the Seahawks up 6-3, a lead that would hold for the rest of the game.
The Pride couldn’t rally back against Seahawks closer Laurel Koontz, who didn’t allow a hit and struck out two batters.
The Pride has one series left in the season – a two-game home tilt against the Elon University Phoenix beginning on Friday, May 3. The series is crucial for the Pride, as they are a game outside of a spot in the CAA tournament.
Photo Courtesy of Hofstra Athletics