Hofstra Falls to No. 19 South Florida Twice Saturday, Eliminated From NCAAs
Tampa, FL - South Florida scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth and a Hofstra rally in the bottom of the ninth came up short as the Bulls forced a decisive third game of the Tampa Super Regional with a 2-1 victory over the Pride on Saturday afternoon at USF Stadium.
Hofstra falls to 42-14 with the loss, seeing its school-record 21 game win streak come to an end. South Florida improves to 46-12 with the victory.
Game three of the series will start at 6:04 p.m. The winner of the third game will head to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK next week.
Junior pitcher Olivia Galati took the hard luck loss for Hofstra as she fell to 34-6 this season. She saw her streak of 32 straight wins come to an end, one off the single season NCAA record.
A pitcher's duel developed once again early on between Galati and South Florida pitcher Lindsey Richardson.
In the first inning, USF got a leadoff single from Gina Kafalas, but she was stranded at third to end the threat. The bottom half of the inning would see Hofstra put together its own scoring opportunity as junior center fielder Rachael Senatore singled to leadoff the inning and the Pride had runners on first and second with two outs after a walk. The threat was ended, though, as senior third baseman Krista Thorn struck out to end the first stanza.
Both squads would go down in order in the second inning before Hofstra put runners on again in the third inning. Senatore picked up her second hit of the contest and stole second on the next pitch, but back-to-back outs by the Pride left her at second.
Hofstra would load the bases in the fourth inning as junior right fielder Tessa Ziemba walked to start the inning and Thorn then reached on an error by the second baseman. After a sacrifice fly from senior catcher Courtney Crews put runners on the corners, South Florida brought Sara Nevins in to pitch to sophomore second baseman Tori Rocha. Nevins would strike out Rocha, but junior designated player D.J. Slugh was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hofstra was unable to bring any runs across the plate, though, as senior left fielder Michelle Lavagnino grounded out to third base to end the fourth inning.
The "visitors" - South Florida (Hofstra is the home team in the game), would have their best chance so far in their half of the fifth inning. A pair of errors on the Pride allowed the Bulls to have runners on first and third with just one out. Galati would come up huge once again, though, as she struck out Nevins and induced a groundout to end the inning.
Hofstra looked to have a quality scoring chance in the bottom of the seven as Slugh reached on an error and later in the inning Senatore was walked to put two runners on with two outs. After Richardson returned to the pitching circle for the Bulls, she struck out junior shortstop Becca Bigler to end another Hofstra threat and send the game to extra innings for the second consecutive game. It marked Hofstra's first time playing back-to-back extra innings games this season.
South Florida would get on the board first in the game as they scored twice in the top of the ninth. Stephanie Medina led off the inning with a single and the Bulls would have runners on first and second with one out after a sacrifice bunt and a hit by pitch. Kenshyra Jackson would then plate the first run as she singled to right to score Ashli Goff. The Bulls would add an insurance run as Laura Fountain hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Kourtney Salvarola.
Hofstra gave it all they had in the bottom of the ninth as Crews led-off with a single. Slugh would be hit by a pitch with one out and with two outs, Senatore singled to shortstop to load the bases. Bigler then added an infield single to score the Pride's first run of the game, but Galati grounded out to short to end ninth inning for Hofstra.
Senatore finished 3-4 for Hofstra, while Bigler was 1-5 for the Pride with the lone RBI.
Sara Nevins improved to 30-5 with the win for South Florida.
USF 2, Hofstra 1 (Game 3)
Tampa, Fla. - Junior Olivia Galati threw her third complete game in the three-game series and held No. 19 University of South Florida to just two runs on five hits, but Stephanie Medina's fifth-inning sacrifice fly proved to be the difference as the Bulls won, 2-1, in the elimination Game 3 of the Tampa Super Regional on Saturday evening at USF Softball Stadium.
Hofstra, which won Game 1 on Friday to move one game away from the Women's College World Series, lost both Games 2 and 3 on Saturday by a single run. The Pride capped a season in which it qualified for its first-ever super regional with a 42-15 record. USF's Sarah Nevins (31-5) threw 5 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run to send the Bulls (50-12) to the first WCWS in program history.
All three games in the super regional were decided by a single run, including Friday's 2-1 Hofstra win in 11 innings that was the longest super regional contest in NCAA history. The combined attendance for the two-day event was 3,105.
Galati threw 27 innings over two
days with Games 1 and 2 going a combined six extra innings. The West Babylon,
N.Y. native saw her personal winning streak snapped at 32 with a 2-1, 9-inning
loss in Game 2 but still finished the season 34-7 and a 0.93 ERA.
Galati threw every inning in Hofstra's six NCAA Tournament games after also tossing every pitch for Hofstra in a 3-0 run in the Colonial Athletic Association championship tournament and set program records in single-season wins, strikeouts (378) and career strikeouts (1,018) with a season of eligibility remaining.
The series lived up to the hype with both Galati and Nevins entering with sub 1.10-ERAs. Both aces factored in every decision in the six games. Galati, a right-hander, threw 328 total pitches in sweltering heat in the series while Nevins, a left-hander, logged 18 innings with Lindsey Richardson sharing some of the workload.
After USF scored the go-ahead run in the fifth, Hofstra generated a chance to tie the contest. Junior Rachael Senatore started the inning with a leadoff infield single and stole her 12th base in 14 attempts this season. Hofstra then capitalized on a USF mental mistake when, on a Becca Bigler ground out, Senatore appeared to be thrown out at third base for a double play. The umpires award Senatore third base on an obstruction call and Nevins' four-pitch walk to Galati put runners on the corners with one out.
A strikeout and another walk loaded the bases for senior Courtney Crews, who hit a rise-ball hard the other way but directly at Gina Kafales in right to leave the bases loaded.
USF took its first lead in regulation in the entire series in the top of the inning. Kafales's leadoff single up the middle gave the Bulls a base runner. A sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch moved the right fielder to third base. Medina then hit a medium-deep fly ball to center that Senatore camped under to catch.
Senatore squeezed the ball for the out and delivered a strong throw home but not in time as Kafales slid in safely for the 2-1 USF lead.
Galati, who threw 110 pitches over nine innings in Game 2 less than 24 hours after tossing a complete-game victory in the Pride's 11-inning win, took the circle again in the third game.
USF took advantage of Galati's heavy workload from the previous games but didn't hit her hard in getting two infield singles sandwiched around a hit batter in the top of the first. Galati then worked Bulls cleanup sixth hitter Kenshrya Jackson deep into the count before walking her on the 10th pitch force in Jessica Mouse with the opening run.
That marked just the sixth run Galati surrendered in 41 2/3 innings in NCAA Tournament play, but the righty escaped further damage with a ground out that stranded the bases loaded.
Bulls third baseman Jessica Mouse made two stellar plays at third base, ending the threat with two runners on base with a line-drive catch in the third and keeping the score tied at 1 with a 5-5-3 double play in the third after Galati and junior Tessa Ziemba started the frame with back-to-back singles.
A walk and an error put two runners on for the Pride in the bottom of the inning to bring up senior third basemanKrista Thorn. With the infield playing a shade beyond the bag, Thorn ripped a line drive that appeared headed to the left side before Mouse made a lunging catch to end the threat and keep USF up, 1-0.
Hofstra sustained pressure in the second with sophomore second baseman Tori Rocha slicing an opposite-field single to left. Rocha moved to second on a groundout and Game 1 hero Michelle Lavagnino's infield single to short put runners on the corners with two outs. USF elected to walk junior Ziemba intentionally to load the bases with the Bulls replacing Nevins with the right-hander Richardson to face the right-handed hitting junior Becca Bigler.
Richardson's second pitch sailed slightly high out of the strike zone but catcher Laura Fountain couldn't catch it for a passed ball, allowing Rocha to score while putting two runners in scoring position. Richardson struck out Bigler to end the threat with the score tied at 1.
Galati and Ziemba ignited Hofstra's offense with back-to-back singles off Richardson to start the third before Mouse completed her double play and a fly out kept the game knotted.
Kourtney Salvarola started the fourth with an opposite-field double that fell just short of the right-centerfield wall in front of the scoreboard. A sacrifice bunt and an infield single put runners on the corners with one out. Galati then bared down to get the strikeout before Ashli Goff hit a hard line drive to right on which Ziemba made a running catch to strand two USF runners in scoring position.
Hofstra finished with a 40-win season for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. In their final collegiate games, Thorn worked a walk, Crews made three putouts behind the plate and Lavagnino went 1-for-3.