College of Charleston freshman Nick Pappas hit a go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning and a three-run game-sealing homer in the ninth inning as CofC defeated Hofstra, 7-3, on Friday afternoon.
The Cougars (34-15, 12-4) picked up a much-needed win in the race for first place in the CAA, while Hofstra (18-22, 6-10) fell behind Northeastern as the teams battle for the last spot in the conference tournament.
All nine RBIs of the game came by way of the long ball as Hofstra hit two homers and the Cougars launched a season-best three home runs.
Taylor Clarke (9-3) bounced back with his ninth win of the season and seventh quality start with a solid performance. He lasted 7.1 innings with six strikeouts while allowing just three runs on four hits. Michael Hanzlik (11) recorded five outs on four strikeouts to pick up his second consecutive save and 11th of the season.
Nick Kozlowski (6-5) went 8.2 innings and threw 134 pitches, but suffered the loss with six earned runs. He struck out nine batters and walked seven, and had two outs in the ninth inning with two runners on when he was relieved. Kevin Weissheier came in and allowed Pappas’ ninth-inning home run that put the game out of reach.
Pappas entered the series with just one career home run, but had a career day with three hits, three runs, two homers and four RBIs. He became the first Cougar to hit multiple homers in a game this year.
Ryan Welke was CofC’s other big offensive producer, hitting a three-run homer in the third inning that put the Cougars up 3-2 at that point. Welke is hitting .409 with a .636 slugging percentage in CAA competition.
Morgan Phillips and Champ Rowland also had hits while Brandon Glazer tied a career high with three walks.
Hofstra took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after Eric Ferguson doubled with two outs. He stole third base and the throw got away from Carl Wise, allowing Ferguson to come home for the first run of the game. Ryan Donovan then hit a solo homer to left field to put the Pride up 2-0.
Pappas then hit a one-out single and Wise walked in the third inning to set up Welke’s go-ahead bomb to left field. Hofstra tied the game in the fifth with a two-out solo homer from Robbie Cafiero.
Clarke and Kozlowski continued to battle to the eighth inning when Pappas took the first pitch and hammered it over the wall in right center field, putting the Cougars ahead 4-3. The first baseman did it again in the ninth after Rowland and Butler reached with two outs, hitting a three-run homer that sealed the 7-3 victory.
College of Charleston goes for the series win tomorrow with a 1 p.m. start from University Field at Hofstra.