Hempstead, NY - Senior catcher Robbie Cafiero’s ninth-inning two-run home run gave Hofstra a thrilling 3-2 win over visiting NYIT Wednesday at University Field.
The home run was Cafiero’s first in a Hofstra uniform and came against the team he started his collegiate career with as a freshman in 2011.
Hofstra evens its record at 9-9, which is the best mark after 18 games in program history. NYIT falls to 1-19 with the loss.
The Bears opened the scoring in the first inning, loading the bases on three singles before Nick Sebastian delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Frank Sanacore. Hofstra answered with a sacrifice fly of its own in the bottom of the first as senior shortstop Matt Ford plated junior first baseman Ryan Donovan, who had tripled.
NYIT took a 2-1 lead in the third with another sacrifice fly. Joe Daru singled to lead off the inning and then stole second. A walk to Joshua Canabal was followed by a double steal. Louis Mele then came through with a fly out to left field that put the Bears ahead.
The game would stay that way until the ninth. Junior designated hitter Brian MacDonald led off the inning with a bloop single to right. Following a fly out, Cafiero took a 3-1 offering from J.P. Lipovac and deposited it to straightaway centerfield, clearing the 30-foot high fence for the game-winning home run, which also scored pinch-runner David D’Errico.
Chris Harkey (1-2), Hofstra’s ninth pitcher of the ball game, picked up the win with two perfect innings of relief. The senior struck out three batters. The Hofstra bullpen did not allow a hit after the fourth inning as John Schilt, Alec Eisenberg, and Luke Noone each threw hitless frames before Harkey came on.
Lipovac took the loss after allowing four hits and the two runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Cafiero, who was an all-conference selection for NYIT as a freshman before transferring to Catawba Valley CC and then to Hofstra, finished the day 2-3. Donovan also had two hits on the afternoon.
The game also marked the return of senior pitcher Cody Normand, who has been out for more than a year recovering from shoulder surgery. The right-hander pitched one inning of relief and allowed a hit and a run while striking out one.
The Pride is back in action Friday when it opens Colonial Athletic Association play against James Madison at University Field. First pitch Friday is set for 3 p.m.