SB: Hofstra Blanks Drexel Twice To Cap Regular Season
Courtesy: Hofstra Athletic Communications
Hempstead, N.Y. – Junior pitchers Morgan Lashley and Taylor Pirone each threw a five-inning shutout, with Lashley tossing a no-hitter in the opener, to help Hofstra cap the regular season with a pair of 8-0 victories over Drexel on Saturday afternoon at Hofstra Softball Stadium.
The Pride posted three run-rule victories over Drexel and blanked the Dragons three straight times to enter the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament with momentum. Hofstra is on a season-high 10-game winning streak in improving to 32-11 and 11-4 in CAA play. Drexel ended its season at 17-27 and 4-14.
Victories by James Madison and the College of Charleston locked the seeding in the CAA Tournament as JMU clinched the regular season title and the right to host the tournament that is scheduled for Wednesday-through-Friday. The Pride earned the third seed and will face second-seeded CofC on Wednesday at 3 p.m. while JMU will face fourth-seeded Towson at noon in Harrisonburg, Va.
Hofstra honored seniors Ashley Ainbinder and Tori Rocha and also recognized fifth-year seniors Rachael Senatore and Becca Bigler. Senatore went a combined 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs in her final home games.
Sophomore Caryn Bailey registered five RBIs, including a 3-for-3 effort in the second game. Hofstra defeated Drexel by identical 8-0 scores in every game this series. In 2013, Olivia Galati shut out Drexel in all three games, as Hofstra has blanked the Dragons in the last six meetings.
Senatore helped Hofstra jump on Drexel starter Rose Portiolli in the first game with a leadoff walk. She later scored on a fielding error, which started a trend as three of Hofstra’s eight runs were unearned with the Dragons committing three errors.
The extra outs helped Hofstra generate the only offense it would need as Lashley faced one over the minimum in notching her first no-hitter in a Hofstra uniform. The only play that prevented Lashley from a perfect game was her own error on Liana Newton’s soft comeback with one out in the fourth. Lashley failed to field it cleanly for the error, though she responded by striking out Shelby Taylor and Kim Chan.
Senatore and sophomore Maggie Hawkins both lined RBI base hits in the second. Ainbinder, who went 3-for-3 with two runs scored, drove in Bailey in the third and freshman Michaela Transue also scored. Bailey’s two-run single down the rightfield line in the fourth extended Hofstra’s lead to 7-0.
Following Lashley’s 1-2-3 fifth inning, Ainbinder led off the bottom of the inning with a single to right. Senatore then ended the game on the run-rule by smashing a triple to the right-center gap. The hit gave Lashley the no-hitter after the right-hander struck out five and needed just 71 pitches to improve to 17-4. Portiolli fell to 1-7.
Pirone threw a two-hitter in the second game in moving to 15-5. Once again, Senatore ignited the offensive push by hitting a leadoff triple against Taylor (12-11), who served as Drexel’s starter in the second game.
The afternoon was a special one for Senatore, who was honored before the first game and then was presented with the Dr. Sylvia J. Giallombardo Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year award by the Hofstra coaching staff and Hofstra Senior Associate Director of Athletics Cindy Lewis and Hofstra Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeffrey A. Hathaway between games of the doubleheader.
Less than 15 minutes after being presented with the award, Senatore scored on junior Erin Trippi’s sacrifice fly. The Pride added a run in the third on Bailey’s RBI single and Hofstra set up another run-rule victory by scoring six runs in the fourth. The Pride sent 10 batters to the plate as Hawkins, Bigler, sophomore Kim Smith, freshmen Lacey Clark and Transue and sophomore Chloe Fitzgerald all scored runs.
Pirone struck out three and did not walk a batter. She threw 53 of her 71 pitches for strikes. Hofstra ended 2014 with a 15-2 home record.
Hofstra Head Coach Bill Edwards, who was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night, was presented with a special commemorative bat from Louisville Slugger to celebrate reaching 900 career wins in February.