TU drops two of three to Hofstra
Towson (23-28, 12-15 CAA) dropped two of three to Hofstra (31-19, 18-9 CAA) over the weekend, losing the finale Sunday at John B. Schuerholz Park by a final of 11-6.
The Tigers took a 6-4 lead in the fourth inning, but Hofstra stormed back to overtake them in the sixth. The Pride’s offensive burst was led by third baseman Austin Nyman, who had four hits and two runs batted in.
“We were really just a couple of pitches away,” Head Coach Mike Gottlieb said. “I thought we made some bad 0-2 pitches late and the game got away from us. That sticks with me.”
The Pride tallied first in the opening frame when first baseman Jared Hammer singled to drive home right fielder Danny Poma, who led off with a single. Left fielder Kenny Jackson followed with another single to put two runners on with two outs. Designated hitter Kevin Flynn hit a line drive to right field, but Towson right fielder Dominic Fratantuono made a diving catch to keep the early deficit at one.
In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers took the lead after third baseman Zach Fisher and Fratantuono reached on walks to set the table for left fielder Brendan Butler. On the first pitch, Butler crushed a double off the left-field fence to score both runners and gave Towson a 2-1 lead.
Hofstra tied the game in the second inning, and took the lead in the third. After loading the bases with one out, shortstop Dalton Rouleau drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to right field. Towson catcher Andrew Parker caught Nyman stealing third and ended the threat.
In the third, the Pride took the lead on another run-scoring single with two runners on, this time off Jackson’s bat. Then, with runners on second and third, Towson pitcher Tyler Austin threw a wild pitch which allowed first baseman Jared Hammer to score from third and give Hofstra a 4-2 lead.
Towson tied the game right away in the bottom of the inning after designated hitter Brandon Gonnella and Fisher singled to lead-off the bottom of the inning. Fratantuono hit a deep fly ball to left field to score Gonnella from third and close the deficit to one.
Then with runners on second and third with two outs, Parker hit a slow roller to third base. It hit the bag and bounced away from Nyman, allowing Fisher to score the Tigers’s fourth run of the game.
Towson took the lead in the fourth inning during a two-out rally. Gonnella singled and Fisher doubled to left field to put two on for Fratantuono, who hit a slow ground ball up the middle of the infield. Second baseman Matt Ford grabbed it and threw to first, but Fratantuono beat out the throw and scored both runners to give the Tigers a 6-4 lead.
Continuing the trend of a see-saw game, the Pride took back the lead in the sixth inning. Nyman hit a run-scoring single put the Pride within one run. With two on and two out, Rouleau hit a single to left field to score both runs and put Hofstra back on top 7-6.
In the eighth, the Pride padded their lead with an RBI double by Poma and a sacrifice fly by Ford to give them a three-run lead late in the game. The Pride scored two more in the ninth to put the game out of reach.
The loss puts Towson in a tie for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Colonial Athletic Association standings with Georgia State with three games remaining. However, the Panthers hold the tiebreaker over the Tigers.
“We have to be ready to play, its no secret,” Gottlieb said. “We just got to play well and hope out starting pitching steps up and gives us a chance so we don’t have to go to the bullpen so early.”
Towson concludes the regular season with a three-game home series versus James Madison, beginning Thursday at 3 p.m.