HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The University of Connecticut softball team split a pair on its final day of the Hofstra Invitational. The Huskies fought a hard battle but fell, 10-8, to Hofstra to start the day before bouncing back with a 7-4 win over St. John’s in the tournament finale. UConn improves to 7-15 after going 3-1 on the weekend.
Game One – at Hofstra
Rookie RHP Jill Stockley (3-7) recorded the loss after three hits and three runs allowed in 1.0 innings in the circle. Madison Grimm (4-4) nabbed the win after 2.2 innings, six hits and four runs, while Courtney Scarpato earned her third save for Hofstra.
Ally Hernandez tallied the first hit of her career with a leadoff double to right center in the bottom of the third. Alyssa Gardea laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Hernandez over to third but the Huskies couldn’t push her through.
The Pride struck first with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth to get out to a 2-0 edge.
In the home half of the frame, Alyson Ambler came up with her second home run in as many days after pounding a shot over the left field wall, cutting Hofstra’s lead in half, 2-1.
The Huskies kept attacking as Dominique Pinto reached on a fielding error and Jacklyn Dubois singled through the left side for two on. Heather Fyfe came in as a pinch hitter and made her presence known by smashing a three-run homer over the left field fence to put UConn ahead 4-2.
Connecticut wasn’t done there as Hernandez walked and Gardea singled through the right side. Taylor Townsend stepped up and singled down the right field line to get Hernandez in and increase the gap to 5-2.
Hofstra made up the difference in the fifth, starting with three consecutive singles to load the bases. Caryn Bailey came through with a three-run double to tie the game at 5. Michaela Transue tallied an RBI single to give the lead back to the Pride, 6-5.
Fyfe continued to have the hot bat, launching a scorcher over the wall for a two-run home run as she cleared the bases for the second time today and put UConn ahead 7-6 to close the fifth.
In the sixth, Lexi Gifford singled up the middle to score Townsend as the Huskies took an 8-6 advantage but Kim Smith began the seventh with a leadoff home run to pull Hofstra within one, 8-7.
After giving up the homer, Stockley was pulled and Eckert returned to the circle to close out the game. With two outs in the top of the seventh, the Pride loaded the bases and Nikki Michalowski delivered another base-clearing double to put Hofstra up 10-8.
In the final frame, the Huskies stacked the bags and Gardea put the ball in play but grounded into a double play to end the rally.
Fyfe lead the team with two home runs and five RBIs after going 2-for-3 in the outing. UConn tallied a season-high 12 hits as nine different players connected on the ball.
Game Two – vs. St. John’s
Sophomore RHP Chelsea Eckert (4-7) earned her third win of the weekend in 2.1 innings of one-hit work to go along with a pair of strikeouts. Grace Kramer (4-3) was charged with the loss after tossing a complete-game that included 11 hits, seven runs and four strikeouts.
The Huskies got right down to business in the opening frame with a two-run homer to left field from Lexi Gifford to give UConn an early 2-0 advantage but St. John’s quickly locked the score at 2-2 thanks to a two-run double from Krystal Puga in the home half.
The third started with a walk for Kelli Bates and two-straight singles by Gifford and Alyson Ambler to stack the bags. Heather Fyfe showed a good eye and earned a bases loaded walk to put UConn ahead 3-2.
The Huskies added to the scoreboard in the fifth after Gifford singled to the pitcher before stealing second. Ambler moved her to third and Gifford scored as Dominique Pinto reached on a fielder’s choice for a 4-2 lead.
St. John’s responded by tying the game at 4-4 with a double to right center from Monique Landini and a single up the middle by Carly Williams in the bottom of the frame.
Alyssa Gardea, Taylor Townsend and Bates loaded up the bases once again for UConn with three-straight singles. Gifford approached the plate and drove a single to left center to score Gardea as the Huskies went ahead 5-4.
Gardea gave UConn an insurance run after she roped her sixth career triple to plate Sadowl and Townsend followed up with a double to right center to get Gardea home for a final 7-4 lead.
Gifford was a perfect 4-for-4, which included a two-run homer and three RBIs.
Over four games this weekend, the Huskies tallied a .327 batting average, 29 runs and 36 hits.
UConn is back in action on Tuesday, March 15 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. for a single game against Coastal Carolina. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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