Hempstead, N.Y. – Hofstra will look to build on the second-best start in program history when the Pride plays four games in the Parents’ Weekend Tournament hosted by Florida Atlantic starting Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Pride is 9-1 after posting a five-game sweep in the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament last week. Hofstra earned votes in both the NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Today national polls that came out on Tuesday. Head Coach Bill Edwards’ team has the potential to lead the squad to the best start in school history as the 2010 team went 10-1 before losing the next three.
On Saturday, Hofstra will oppose Michigan State (5-10) at 9 a.m. and Virginia Tech (8-7) at 1:30 p.m. MSU will be familiar foe as Hofstra played them in the finale of the FGCU Tournament and came away with an 8-0 victory.
Junior pitcher Morgan Lashley threw a shutout in that game, which upped her record to 6-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Since joining Hofstra before the season, the Army transfer has already racked up one Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week honors and has three shutouts and five complete games. She is averaging more than a strikeout per inning with 40 in 38 innings.
Lashley has thrown back-to-back complete-game shutouts against Eastern Michigan and Michigan State as part of Hofstra’s 5-0 showing in the FGCU Tournament. Hofstra has shut out the last three opponents and has not allowed a run in 22 innings. Lashley and fellow junior transfer Taylor Pirone (3-1) both have sub-2.00 ERAs. Pirone is a transfer from Fordham who is holding teams to a .178 batting-average-against.
Besides quality pitching, Hofstra’s offense has been clicking throughout the lineup. Five starters (Becca Bigler, Kim Smith, Rachael Senatore, Maggie Hawkins and Erin Trippi) batting better than .400. Overall, Hofstra has a batting average differential of 170 points (.362-.192). Hofstra is slugging a collective .507 and is out-scoring teams, 65-18.
Smith, a sophomore third baseman, became the second Hofstra player in as many weeks to earn an award from the CAA. Smith was tabbed as the league’s Player of the Week on March 4. In her first season as a starter, Smith has been on a tear by batting .588, plating four runs, scoring three times and adding six extra-base hits over 17 total at-bats in the FGCU Tournament. She also stole two bases and registered a .611 on-base percentage. Smith had a hit in each contest played last week, including four multi-hit games.
Hawkins, a sophomore first baseman, and Trippi (a junior catcher) have both hit two home runs with Hawkins leading the team with 11 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. Besides the power game, Hofstra has utilized speed on the basepaths in going 16-for-18 in steal attempts.
Hofstra will conclude the tournament on Sunday with a 12:15 p.m. game against Illinois (11-3) before concluding its time in Boca Raton with a matchup against host FAU (11-8) at 2:30 p.m.
Edwards reached a key career milestone last week when he won his 900th career game. At 903-405-3, he became just the 23rd Division I coach in history to reach 900 career victories. His win total is the 14th-most among active Division I coaches. All of his decisions have come at Hofstra, where he started in 1990.