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Courtesy: CAA/Cathy Kushner

Hofstra Victorious, JMU Falls After Day 1 of NCAA Softball Tournament

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 05/17/2013
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Hofstra 2, Oregon State 0

Columbia, Mo. – Senior pitcher Olivia Galati threw a complete-game five-hit shutout and scored a run and fellow senior Tessa Ziemba broke open a deadlock with a two-run double to deep center in the fifth to lift Hofstra to a 2-0 victory in the opener of the NCAA Columbia Regional on Friday afternoon at Missouri’s University Field.

Galati  picked up her sixth shutout in her last seven starts and is 4-0 in her last four appearances in the NCAA Regional round after striking out five while not allowing a walk. Hofstra will now play the winner of the Missouri-Stony Brook matchup at 1 p.m. Eastern on Saturday in the winner’s-bracket matchup of the double-elimination regional. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and can be heard on WRHU (88.7 FM) and through Pride Zone.

Hofstra (44-11) won for the 14th consecutive time and has been victorious in 41 of the last 44 games. Hofstra defeated a Pac-12 member in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season (after beating UCLA last season) as the Beavers fell to 33-23 and will play the loser of the No. 6 overall seed Mizzou and Stony Brook game at 2:30 p.m.

Marina Demore gave Oregon State a chance to win, holding Hofstra scoreless through the first four innings and striking out one. Hofstra and Oregon State had never played each other before today.

Galati and Demore engaged in a pitcher’s duel that kept the game scoreless into the bottom of the fifth. Hofstra then made the first move with three straight base hits and Ziemba opened the scoring with a clutch two-run double that went just over centerfielder Lea Cavestany’s head.

Galati singled to left and  senior Becca Bigler followed by pulling a first-pitch single to left to put the first two runners on for the top of the order.  Freshman Chloe Fitzgerald, the slap-hitting leadoff hitter, chopped a ball the other way that OSU third baseman Desiree Beltran made a diving play on to keep it to a leadoff single.

With the bases loaded and none out, Demore got a pop out before Ziemba lifted a deep fly ball to center that eluded Cavestany’s out-stretched glove. Galati and Bigler raced around to score with Fitzgerald trailing. Two runs scored before Fitzgerald was tagged out at the plate, though Hofstra still took the 2-0 edge to the sixth.

Ziemba has a team-high 47 RBIs and now has multi-RBI effort in five of the last seven games. Ziemba went 2-for-3 and Fitzgerald was the only Hofstra player with a two-hit game in going 2-for-3.

Galati retired the final 11 batters to close out the win in improving to 38-10 while notching her Division I-leading 21st shutout. She continues to lead the nation in strikeouts and now has 379 on the season.

Lea Cavestany started the game with a single up the middle. But Oregon State couldn’t muster anything more as Galati settled down, inducing a fly out to left before Bigler caught a line drive and fired to first for the inning-ending double play.

The Beavers put two more runners on in the second thanks to singles from Natalie Hampton an Christine Langlois. Galati struck out her first two batters of the game and forced Ally Kutz to fly out to strand the base-running pair.

Demore also showed a propensity for pitching out of dangerous situations, getting around a two-walk inning by getting two fly out and a ground out to keep the contest scoreless heading to the top of the third.

Hofstra put two runners on for a second consecutive inning in the next frame when Fitzgerald and Ziemba each hit singles. Demore (20-12) forced sophomore Erin Trippi to fly out to medium-deep left field to strand two.

Oregon State generated a base-runner for the fourth consecutive inning when Desiree Beltran was hit by a pitch and Langlois singled down the leftfield line to put two on with one. Following a sacrifice bunt, Galati once again left two on base with a pop out to Tori Rocha at second.

N.C. State 2, James Madison 0

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., May 17, 2013 – Left fielder Bethaney Wells hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to help lead North Carolina State to a 2-0 win over the James Madison softball team in the opening game of the Knoxville Regional in NCAA Tournament play on Friday.

The loss drops JMU to 41-16 on the season and into the losers’ bracket of regional play. The Dukes face the loser of the game between seventh-seeded Tennessee and Longwood at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of that game advances to the second elimination game at 6:30 p.m. to determine who advances to the regional final. N.C. State won its 13th consecutive game, improving to 34-18-1 and advances to the winners’ bracket game at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Right-hander Emily Weiman earned the win for the Wolfpack to improve to 32-16 on the season. She tossed a three-hit shutout in seven innings of work. The sophomore struck out one and did not walk a batter.

Freshman left-hander Jailyn Ford (Hot Springs, Va./Bath County) took the loss for the Dukes, falling to 23-6 on the season. She tossed her 22nd complete game of the year, holding her opponent to two runs on three hits in six innings. The CAA Rookie of the Year struck out five and walked two.

Ford finished the game with 204 strikeouts on the season, becoming the first player in school history to amass 200 or more strikeouts in a season.

Wells paced the Wolfpack offense, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored. Second baseman Chelsea Tate added a single in two trips to the plate while shortstop Renada Davis and designated player Hanna Sommer drew walks.

Sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath (Yorktown, Va./Grafton), freshman catcher Erica Field (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) and Ford recorded hits for Madison. Ford and Heath went 1-for-3 with singles while Field had a base hit in two at-bats.

The only runs of the game came in the bottom of the sixth inning on Wells’ two-run homer. Sommer started the rally by drawing a one-out walk and was pinch run for by Katie Mansilla. Ford got the next batter to strike out, but Wells drove a 1-1 pitch the other way for her eighth homer of the season.

Weiman retired the Dukes in order in the top of the seventh as she never let the tying run come to the plate.

This was JMU’s second appearance in the NCAA tournament after receiving the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic bid back in 2009. That season the Dukes also played in the Knoxville Regional and played against the University of Tennessee and Jacksonville State.