HEMPSTEAD, New York – The UNCW softball team fell to defending league champion Hofstra in both games of a Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader Saturday at the Hofstra Softball Stadium.

The Pride (18-8; 2-3 CAA) held off a late rally by the Seahawks (17-19; 3-4 CAA) in the opener to post a 4-3 victory before erupting for 10 runs on 17 hits to claim the nightcap by a 10-2 margin.

The two teams will conclude their three-game series Sunday with a single game starting at Noon.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Game One): UNCW jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a solo home run from junior Jessica Rappe before Hofstra responded with a run in the bottom half of the frame on a Seahawk error to tie the game at 1-all.

Senior Rachael Senatore gave the Pride its first lead of the contest in the bottom of the second on a two-run double to left field that plated seniors Ashley Ainbinder and Tori Rocha.

Freshman Merritt Wilkinson cut the Seahawks deficit in half, 3-2, in the top of the third on a solo home run to center field, but Hofstra regained its two-run advantage in the bottom of the fifth as sophomore Chloe Fitzgerald reached on an infield single, stole second and later scored on a wild pitch.

UNCW threatened to tie the game in the top of the seventh as it used a two-out single from senior Brittany Gamby to score sophomore Erin Brown and make it a 4-3 ballgame. The Seahawks would load the bases one batter later on a walk to Wilkinson, but junior Taylor Pirone was able to retire the next batter she faced to end the contest.

AT THE PLATE (Game One): Senatore was 1-for-4 with two RBI while Fitzgerald was 1-for-3 with two runs scored for Hofstra.

Rappe and Wilkinson both finished with a solo home run and a RBI for UNCW. Gamby was 1-for-4 with a run driven in.

IN THE CIRCLE (Game One): Junior Morgan Lashley got the start for Hofstra and went three innings, surrendering two runs on four hits and one walk. She struck out five. Pirone replaced Lashley in the fourth and pitched the final four innings to pick up the win and improve her mark to 6-3. Pirone gave up one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five.

Junior Casey Rowland started the contest in the circle for UNCW and pitched 4.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and five walks. Freshman Peyton Jordan replaced Rowland in the fifth and went the final 1.1 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out one.

INSDIE THE BOXSCORE (Game One): The two teams combined to leave 13 runners on base (UNCW 6; Hofstra 7) … No player had more than one hit in the contest … The top three hitters in the UNCW lineup all finished with one hit and one RBI each … UNCW had three of the four extra-base hits in the contest … The Seahawks pitching staff recorded just two strikeouts while the Pride pitching staff tallied 10.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Game Two): UNCW once again got on the board in the first inning as senior Casey Shue recorded an infield single to plate Gamby and give the Seahawks the early advantage.

Shue struck again in the third to double UNCW’s margin to 2-0 as her two-out single to right field brought home Gamby.

Hofstra took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, using a two-run double by Clark and a single up the middle from Smith to build a 3-2 advantage.

The Pride put the game away in the sixth, exploding for seven runs on seven hits, highlighted by a two-run singles from Clark and sophomores Caryn Bailey and Maggie Hawkins, to take a 10-2 lead and evoke the eight-run mercy rule.

IN THE CIRCLE (Game Two): Pirone went the distance for Hofstra in the nightcap to pick up her second victory of the day and improve to 7-3 on the season. In six innings in the circle, Pirone surrendered two runs on five hits and two walks.

Jordan got the start for the Seahawks and took the loss as she moved to 7-11 on the campaign. Jordan allowed eight runs on 14 hits and one walk. She struck out five.   

AT THE PLATE (Game Two): Clark was 3-for-4 with four RBI and Hawkins was 3-for-4 with two runs batted in to pace a Hofstra lineup that finished with 17 hits in the contest.  Senatore and Bailey were both 2-for-4 while Tori Rocha was 2-for-2 in a pinch-hitting role.

For UNCW, Shue was 2-for-3 with two RBI while Gamby was 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Brown and freshman Lauren Moore accounted for the Seahawks other two bases hits in the contest.

INSIDE THE BOXSCORE (Game Two): The two teams combined to leave 14 runners on base (UNCW 6; Hofstra 8) … There was only one stolen base attempt in the game … Hofstra’s top three hitters were a combined 6-for-12 at the plate while its bottom three hitters were 7-for-10 with five RBI … The Pride committed all three errors in the contest … Twelve of Hofstra’s 17 hits came after the fourth inning.

NOTES: UNCW moved to 6-9 this season in one-run contests with its 4-3 setback in the opener … The Seahawks moved to 2-5 this season in road contests … The 10 runs scored by the Pride in game two represented a season-high for a UNCW opponent … The Seahawks scored in the first inning of both contests, marking the 19th and 20th time this season that UNCW has plated a run in the first inning of a contest … Freshman Merritt Wilkinson has now reached base in 27 consecutive games … Senior Casey Shue posted her fourth multiple RBI game of the season with her two-RBI effort in the nightcap.