Hempstead, N.Y. - The Hofstra softball team will be making its 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament when the Pride opens up play against No. 12 overall seed UCLA on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time to begin the double-elimination Regional at Easton Stadium. Florida State and San Diego State are the other teams in the regional and the two will square off at 5:00 p.m. before the Pride and Bruins compete.
Hofstra (38-13) is currently in the midst of a 17-game winning streak, marking the second time this season Hofstra has won 17 in a row. The Pride has won 37 of their last 39 games, including a 3-0 run through the CAA Tournament to win the program's ninth conference championship in 11 years since joining the league in time for the 2002 season.
The Bruins (36-18) were ranked 15th in the latest NFCA poll on May 15 and are part of a power Pac-12 Conference that is sending eight teams to regionals. Earlier this season, Hofstra fell to the Bruins, 9-4, in the Citrus Classic with juniors Olivia Galati and Rachael Senatore picking up the RBIs. Hofstra is 1-3 all-time against UCLA. Overall, the Pride has played Florida State 13 times in history, going 2-11. Hofstra has never opposed San Diego State in softball.
All-session passes are $33 for adults and $22 for youths and students and single-day passes are $12 for adults and $8 for youths/students. All-session passes can be purchased in advance online here or by calling 310-UCLA-WIN (open daily, 10-4 local time). They can also be purchased at Easton Stadium on game day. Single-day passes are available on game day only at Easton Stadium. All seats are general admission.
Fans who cannot make it out to the game can follow the action via live stats and listen to the live audio through Pride Zone at GoHofstra.com.
Fresh off winning her third straight
CAA Pitcher of the Year and her second CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
award, Galati will enter the NCAA Regional with a Division I-leading 0.90 ERA
after giving up just 30 earned runs in 232 2/3 innings pitched. Galati is also
eighth in strikeouts per seven inning with 9.6 and has won 28 straight starts,
which is also a school record.
The West Babylon, N.Y. native has 16 shutouts, which also leads the country. She will now face one of the best offensives in the country as the Bruins have the fourth-best team batting average (.343) and is tied for fifth in runs-per-game at 6.80. Hofstra's offense will look to counteract a potent UCLA attack that features five batters hitting better than .360. But the Pride also claims a deep lineup, batting .301 with a team-wide .460 slugging percentage.
Compared to all other CAA pitchers, Galati has the lowest ERA by 98 points while registering 32 complete games. UCLA also boasts an impressive pitching staff led by sophomore pitcher Jessica Hall, who is 19-12 with a 3.17 ERA pitching predominantly against a Pac-12 conference that is sending eight teams to the NCAA Tournament this season.
With a .370 batting average, Galati also has 37 RBIs and 35 runs scored. The 72 combined runs are 26 more than the 46 runs she has given up in the pitching circle (with only 30 of those runs being earned).
Galati has also been clutch at the plate in the most important moments. All four of her home runs this season have come against CAA opponents, including a three-run home run in the championship game to support her own complete-game shutout in a 9-1 victory over Georgia State. Besides leading the team in hitting and all pitching categories, Galati is also one of just two everyday position players to have a flawless fielding percentage (left fielder Michelle Lavagnino is the other). Galati has handled 36 total chances (four putouts, 32 assists) without an error this season.
At the plate, Tessa Ziemba (Wilmington, Del.) has been one of Hofstra's hottest hitters in providing middle-of-the-order protection. Ziemba has 12 multi-RBI games in the last 33 contests. The first-team All-CAA right fielder is tied with teammate Becca Bigler for the team lead in home runs with 11. Ziemba also leads Hofstra with 43 RBIs. She also leads the league in RBIs and is in the top-five in average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored and total bases.
Senatore, who was also a first-team all-conference pick, continues to pace Hofstra's offense from the leadoff spot. Since March 17, the Sparta, N.J. native has raised her average 82 points to her current.360 figure. Senatore has a hit in 19 of the last 24 games, including two multi-hit games in a three-game sweep at Towson. Her .421 on-base percentage makes her one of seven Hofstra players with on-base percentages greater than .400. Since April 3, she also has two four-hit contests in CAA matchups versus Drexel and at Delaware and a three-hit game at Towson. Senatore is one of five Hofstra players to score 30 or more runs this season.
Senior third baseman Krista Thorn (Smithtown, N.Y.) continues her career best season. Thorn lined her sixth home run of the season at Towson. She is slugging .534 while starting all 51 games. Thorn also hit a home run in the CAA title game, giving her a career-high seventh home run. For her efforts at the hot corner, Thorn was named to the CAA all-conference first team.
Bigler (Bainbridge, Pa.) has set a career high in home runs with 11, including two in the Pride's title game victory over Georgia State to secure the team's ninth CAA championship in 11 years. With the Pride down 1-0 in the first, Bigler gave Galati all the breathing room she would need by smashing a two-run shot to left. She added a solo shot down the left field line for a line-drive homer later In the game. Earlier this season, she hit a home run versus Louisiana Lafayette, representing the second time she went deep in facing a ranked opponent. Bigler also has hit home runs against Virginia Tech, Georgia State and Iona before lifting a solo shot versus Fordham.
Defensively, Bigler has come on strong in adjusting to her new position at short. She has a .932 fielding percentage while producing superbly at a premium position. Bigler has solidified the lineup's second spot and leads all active players with a .441 on-base percentage.
Senior catcher Courtney Crews (Stafford, Va.) has been entrusted to take over the catching responsibilities and has started all 51 games. Crews hit her first career home run, coming in her 61st game, when she went deep at Georgia State in the second game of a doubleheader on March 24. She made her first start of the season at first base versus Iona on March 27. She lined her second career home run, sending a three-run shot over the left-centerfield wall at Towson during the Pride's sweep in Maryland. Freshman Erin Trippi (also named first-team All-CAA as a DP) is the backup to Crews at catcher but the starting designated player, batting .296 with four home runs and 31 RBIs.