Pride fall to William & Mary in heartbreaking season finale
The Hofstra baseball team fell to the college of William & Mary 11-4 in a must-win game on Saturday, May 18 at University Field. The do-or-die loss officially ends the Pride’s season after needing the win to secure their spot in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament.
Freshman Ryan Rue started on the mound for the Pride, allowing four runs in five ⅓ innings with four perfect innings before allowing a hit in the fifth.
Neither team scored through three innings but Hofstra put the first runs on the board in the fourth, scoring all of their four runs in the inning. Sophomore Austin Gauthier kicked things off with a single and advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt courtesy of Kevin O’Connor. Gauthier’s single marks nine straight games with a hit for him. Still on base, a hit from Anthony D’Onofrio then brought Gauthier home. With runners on first and third, another single from Sean Rausch along with an RBI double from Vito Friscia extended the Pride’s lead to 4-0.
However, the Pride were shut out the rest of the game as Tribe pitchers Nick Butts and Chris Farrell held them to only three hits combined through five ⅓ innings.
Through the fifth inning the Pride stayed ahead but quickly lost that lead as the Tribe answered back with five runs of their own in the top of the sixth. Shortstop Kyle Wrighte walked to first and advanced to second after Owen Socher singled. Brandon Raquet then tripled bringing both of them home putting William & Mary on the board. With Raquet still on third, another single from Zach Pearson brought him home.
Jimmy Joyce came on to relieve Rue on the mound for the Pride in the middle of the sixth. Following the change, the Tribe then pulled ahead after two singles from Matthew Trehub and Matt McDermott each brought in a runner, making the score 5-4 through six innings.
William & Mary went on to secure their win with a run in the eighth and five more runs in the ninth, ending the game with a final score of 11-4. McDermott doubled in the ninth bringing in two of those five runs.
With the loss, the Pride officially end their season with an overall record of 18-31-1 and 10-14 in conference play. William & Mary finish 31-12 overall and 12-12 in the division and will compete in the CAA Championship next week as the No. 3 seed.
The Pride now look ahead to next year in hopes of making the tournament with a large emphasis put on off-season training, specifically summer baseball leagues of which many Hofstra players have been recruited for.
“We’ve got all of the returners placed this summer in summer ball,” head coach John Russo said. “They’ve got to stay out there, and they’ve got to play, and learn, and get better to take us to the top half of the CAA so in the last game of the season we’re not playing a do-or-die game of making it.”
After qualifying for the post-season tournament in previous years, the loss for the Pride was heartbreaking but Russo remains hopeful for future seasons.
“I think we’ve changed the program to where we will be sustainable every year now to have good seasons to put us into the tournament” Russo said. “I think that’s the expectation now and it should always be the expectation.”