ORLANDO, Fla. – Senior center fielder Tessa Ziemba hit two clutch home runs and drove in four runs total and fellow senior Olivia Galati struck out eight in a complete game as Hofstra defeated No. 5 Texas 7-2 in the second game of the Citrus Classic on Friday.
Ziemba hit a solo shot in the sixth and added a three-run shot in the top of the seventh and Galati made the support stand up by not walking a single batter in picking up the win. Hofstra scored three runs in the top of the third and never trailed against Texas.
In the opener of the Citrus Classic, Hofstra fell to Mississippi State 9-1. But in the second game, Hofstra earned the split on the day to cap the first two of what is scheduled to be a five-game slate through Sunday. The Pride improved to 4-8 overall and recorded its first victory against a top-10 opponent since the 2004 squad defeated No. 7 Stanford in the NCAA tournament.
Galati, who was the program’s first first-team All-America selection in 2012, showed that form again by shutting out Texas through the first four innings. Galati improved to 4-7.
Ziemba was one of five Hofstra players to log a multi-hit contest, going 3-for-5 with three runs against a Texas squad that won 47 games in 2012.
Freshman Chloe Fitzgerald went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored from the leadoff spot while junior second baseman Tori Rocha also went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
The Longhorns entered the game with a 17-1 record and began the tournament with five starters batting .433 or higher. But Galati did not allow a base runner past first until the fifth, giving the offense a chance to stake her to a 3-0 lead.
Hofstra scored those three runs in the top of the third. Ziemba started the inning by reaching on a fielding error. Freshman Maggie Hawkins drew a walk against Texas starter Holly Kern. A force out put runners on the corners before a walk to senior Becca Bigler loaded the bases.
Sophomore Erin Trippi hit a RBI single that scored Ziemba, though Texas got an out at the plate on the play. Freshman Caryn Bailey extended the rally with a two-out single to left to reload the bases to chase Kern. Bailey was 2-for-3 with a walk and Trippi was 2-for-4 batting in the seventh position.
Kim Burns entered in relief but walked D.J. Slugh to force in a run as Bigler scored the second unearned run of the inning. Fitzgerald then pulled a grounder to first and beat out the play to the bag for a RBI infield hit to score Trippi.
Texas chipped into Hofstra’s lead in the fifth. Torie Schmidt started the inning with a single up the middle. After a fly out, Kern singled to left to put two runners on base. Gabby Smith’s single to left loaded the bases for Taylor Hoagland, who entered the day batting .462 with a .633 on-base percentage. She hit a run-scoring single to center and Brejae Washington drove in another run on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-2 with two runners on base.
But Galati induced a fly out to center to end the threat. She allowed just two more base runners the rest of the way to secure the win for Hofstra.
Ziemba, who led the Colonial Athletic Association with 11 home runs last season, hit her sixth and seventh home runs of 2013, starting with a key solo shot to right to lead off the sixth.
In the seventh, Hofstra tacked on key insurance runs. Fitzgerald led off with a single and Rocha reached on a bunt hit to put two runners on with no outs. Texas then turned to ace Blaire Luna. She came into the Citrus Classic 7-0 with a 0.50 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 42 innings.
But Ziemba greeted Luna with a three-run home run to right, marking the first time an opponent has gone deep against Luna this season. Her blast gave Hofstra a 7-2 cushion and Galati pitched a scoreless seventh to lock up the win.