Tampa, Fla. – Sophomore Maggie Hawkins drove in four runs total in two games, including a three-run double to help Hofstra post an 8-4 victory over Illinois State in the nightcap of the Leadoff Classic’s second day. The Pride fell to nationally ranked Louisiana-Lafayette, 7-4, in the opener.
Hawkins hit a home run of the second consecutive game and has six RBIs in the new campaign. Senior Becca Bigler added a two-run double and later a RBI single in the win over Illinois State as Hofstra improved to 2-1.
Junior pitcher Morgan Lashley earned her second win in as many starts by limiting the Redbirds to five hits in seven innings. The transfer from Army is now 2-0 after the complete-game victory. Illinois State dropped to 4-9.
Hofstra scored five runs on five in the third to take a commanding lead on Illinois State. Senior Ashley Ainbinder ripped a leadoff double and a walk and single loaded the bases. Taylor Baxter forced a line out, but Hawkins went to the opposite field for a bases-clearing double. Junior catcher Erin Trippi singled to chase Baxter (1-4) in favor of reliever McKensie Vissering, who forced a fly out before Bigler drilled a two-run double to right-center that extended the lead to 5-0.
Hawkins hit a home run for the second consecutive day and Trippi also added a solo shot as Hofstra took a 2-1 lead over the Ragin' Cajuns in the opener. Louisiana, which was ranked 20th in the NFCA national poll and 22nd in the ESPN poll entering the week, scored twice in the bottom of the fifth and added four insurance runs in the sixth.
Those extra runs were the difference as Hofstra struck for two runs in the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate before pitcher Victoria Brown (1-0) stranded runners on first and second with a ground out to end the contest. Louisiana improved to 8-4-1.
Junior pitcher Taylor Pirone until one out in the fifth, allowing the Pride to take the lead against the nationally ranked Cajuns. UL scored one run in the first inning on Shellie Landy’s sacrifice fly following two walks and a hit batsman. But Hofstra responded in the top of the second when Trippi pulled a solo home run to left off starter Christina Hamilton. Hawkins added a leadoff home run in the fourth off Hamilton for the lead before the Cajuns mounted a comeback.
A leadoff walk put the tying run on base and one-out single set up Shelbi Redfearn’s RBI double and Landry drove in the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice. Gabrielle Felps hit a solo home run as part of a four-run sixth in which Landry also picked her third RBI of the contest. Pirone (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four.
Senior Rachael Senatore hit a two-run single in the seventh that scored senior Tori Rocha and sophomore Alyssa Cuzzola. Sophomore Chloe Fitzgerald also singled to bring the potential tying run to the plate before Louisiana ended the threat. Senatore added two hits, a RBI and a run scored against Illinois State.
Hofstra will conclude the Leadoff Classic on Sunday with a 9 a.m. game against South Florida followed by the tournament finale against UMass immediately following.