Los Angeles - Junior Olivia Galati threw a complete-game two-hitter
and sophomore second baseman Tori Rocha picked up Hofstra's only RBI to propel the
Pride to a 2-0 win over San Diego State in the winner's bracket of the NCAA Los
Angeles Regional on Saturday afternoon at Easton Stadium.
Hofstra advanced to the Regional finals tomorrow against either SDSU, UCLA or Florida State depending on the outcomes of two elimination games later today. With one more win, Hofstra would move on to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time in program history.
Fourth-seeded Hofstra scored its only runs of the game in the second, but it proved to be enough support for Galati (32-5), who struck out 12 against just one walk in picking up her NCAA Division I-leading 17th shutout while lowering her national-best ERA to 0.91. The Pride (40-13) won its 19th consecutive game and posted its second victory in the NCAA Regionals after defeating top-seeded UCLA (12th overall national seed) on Friday and the third-seeded Aztecs today.
Galati extended her school record with her 30th consecutive victory in throwing 73 of her 95 pitches for strikes while holding a SDSU (31-23) offense that entered with a team-wide .295 batting average to just two hits without a runner reaching third base. Hofstra also reached the 40-win plateau for the ninth time in school history and the sixth time in eight seasons.
SDSU's Rebecca Arbino pitched well, holding Hofstra to just four hits while giving up one earned run in a complete-game but took the tough-luck loss to fall to 13-11. Arbino struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Galati struck out eight consecutive batters and retired 13 in a row after giving up a leadoff single to Hayley Miles in the first. Kristin May hit a one-out to right-center in the fifth to end that streak, though Galati forced a shallow fly out to center and a ground out to strand May.
SDSU mounted one final threat in the bottom of the seventh when Justeen Maeva drew a full-pitch leadoff walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Dominique Dinner pinch ran before Galati struck out Patrice Jackson swinging for the first out. Lorena Klopp grounded out to second, bringing up May for a dramatic last at-bat.
Galati's changeup garnered a swing and a miss on the opening pitch and May fouled back the next two pitches before getting the catcher to swing and miss at a breaking ball to end the contest.
Hofstra raced to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on one play, plating both runs on a sacrifice fly and a throwing error. Junior outfielder Tessa Ziemba broke out of her slump with a leadoff infield single and senior Krista Thorn laced an opposite-field single to right. Freshman Erin Trippi then took Arbino's first pitch off her left arm to load the bases with nobody out.
Arbino induced a pop out to keep the runners on base but Rocha produced a strong plate appearance, lining a medium-deep fly ball to left to score Ziemba on the sacrifice fly. Thorn, who also tagged from second on the play, slid headfirst into third, just barely beating SDSU catcher Kristin May's throw to the bag. Trippi, who was the trail runner, hustled to second and Miles' throw to second sailed into shallow right field, allowing Thorn to score off the error.
Arbino did not allow a run after that, though Hofstra came through to extend its winning streak to within one of the team record of 20 straight victories that was set in 1993.
One day after setting Hofstra's career strikeout record, Galati broke her own single-season strikeout record with her fourth consecutive whiff and her 349th strikeout on the season. Galati also held the previous record of 348, which she set as a sophomore last season. She now has 357 strikeouts against 24 walks in 246 2/3 innings this season.
For her career, Galati has 999 strikeouts. The West Babylon, N.Y. native has 18 games of 10-plus strikeouts this season, including seven straight times.
Maeva entered the game with just eight strikeouts in 164 at-bats before Galati struck her out swinging in the first. Maeva and Galati engaged in a nine-pitch at-bat in the fourth before the first baseman flew out to deep left.
The matchup was the first-ever meeting between Hofstra and SDSU. Just like the Pride-UCLA matchup on the previous day, the game featured award-winning players on both sides. Galati was named the NFCA Louisville Slugger Division I National Player of the Week on April 10, marking the first time a Hofstra player had ever won the award. Miles also earned the honor on April 24 for the Aztecs after batting 8-for-11 with 10 runs and eight RBIs during that week.
Hofstra has won both games in the regionals as the designated road team.