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Courtesy: CAA/Ben Solomon

Two CAA Teams Headed to NCAA’s For First Time in Conference History

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 05/12/2013
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RICHMOND, Va. (May 12, 2013) – The Hofstra softball squad earned the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic berth and James Madison earned an at-large bid as the NCAA announced the selections on Sunday evening. It was the first time in the 12 years of the conference history that two teams advance to the postseason softball tournament.

Hofstra (43-11) earned the automatic bid as they captured its 10th CAA Softball Championship title with a 2-1 win over JMU on Friday afternoon. The Pride were selected to play in the Columbia Regional and will face Oregon State (33-22) in their first contest on Friday, May 17 at 5 p.m. on ESPN3. Also in the Columbia Regional is Long Island resident Stony Brook (35-23) and sixth-seeded Missouri (35-11) and they will play at 7:30 p.m. on Friday on ESPN3.

James Madison (37-10) earned a spot in the Knoxville Regional and will face North Carolina State (33-18) at 3:30 p.m., on Friday, May 17. Host and seven-seeded Tennessee (44-10) will open the regional against Longwood (41-18) at 6 p.m. on Friday.

The NCAA Softball Tournament is a double-elimination format.

The Pride will be making its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance, including its ninth in the last 11 years. Hofstra has one last least one game in each of its last 10 appearances, while making its deepest run just a year ago when it came one win shy of the Women’s College World Series before falling to South Florida in the Super Regionals.

Hofstra senior right-hander Olivia Galati, CAA's 2013 Pitcher of the Year, earned Most Outstanding Performer honors at the CAA Championship for the second straight year and her third overall after picking up the victory (37-10) and concluding one of the most impressive CAA tournament runs in history. Along with throwing the first perfect game in CAA Championship history, the senior allowed just one run on seven hits in 20 innings of work over three contests. She struck out 22 batters and walked none all week.  The Pride are led by freshman Caryn Bailey (.373) and senior third baseman Jess Hirschbuhl (.345) at the plate. Sophomore catcher Erin Trippi leads the team with 46 RBI on the year, while senior outfielder Tessa Ziemba has recorded a team-best 13 home runs and 43 runs scored.

The Dukes will be making their second NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2009 when they won the CAA Championship and was also placed in the Knoxville Regional.

James Madison is led by 2013 CAA Player of the Year Sarah Mooney, who also leads the league with a .413 batting average. The sophomore designated player also leads the conference with 67 RBI, 17 home runs and 129 total bases. The Dukes also rely on freshman Jailyn Ford as she has split time in the circle and at first base. The rookie posted a 23-5 record as a pitcher for the Dukes in 177 innings of work and struck out 199 batters. At the plate, Ford is second on the team with a .375 batting average, 45 RBI and 14 home runs. Jasmine Butler (.359), Erica Field (.332), Caitlin Sandy (.327) and Morgan Heath (.326) are also strong contributors for the Dukes at the plate this season.

The conference started sponsoring softball in 2002 and was not eligible for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament until the 2004 season, although Hofstra earned an at-large bid in 2003 after winning the CAA title.  James Madison becomes the league’s second at-large selection in the CAA’s 12 year history of sponsoring the sport.