Los Angeles, CA - Junior Olivia Galati limited San Diego State to one run in a complete-game five-hitter as Hofstra won the NCAA Los Angeles Regional championship with a 2-1 win over the Aztecs on Sunday afternoon at Easton Stadium.
The fourth-seeded Pride advanced to the Super Regionals for the first time in program history. Hofstra (41-13) will now face South Florida in the best-of-three Super Regionals in Tampa, Fla. Start times and dates will be announced shortly.
Sophomore second baseman Tori Rocha and junior right fielder Tessa Ziemba each had a RBI to help Hofstra post a three-game sweep in a regional that featured two nationally ranked teams in UCLA and Florida State and a third-seeded Aztecs squad that won 32 games.
Galati (33-5) won her 31st straight start to cap a dramatic regional in which the lower seed won all six games. Hofstra defeated No. 12 overall seed UCLA in the opening round and beat the third-seeded Aztecs on back-to-back days for the regional title.
Hofstra (41-13) tied a school record with its 20 consecutive victory overall, matching the team mark first established in 1993. Galati struck out six and did not walk a batter in logging her 35th complete game.
SDSU mounted one last threat in the seventh down by a
run. Ashley Rose reached on a one-out single, bringing up pinch hitter Iris
Castaneda while Katie Mathis come on as a pinch runner. Galati then got
Castaneda to fly out to left and struck out F. Reifschneider swinging to set
off a massive celebration on UCLA's home field.
SDSU's Bailey Micetich dropped to 17-8, taking the hard-luck loss after giving up two runs (one earned) into four innings despite giving up just three hits. Micetich had thrown back-to-back shutouts against Florida State and was 2-0 with 21 strikeouts against just one walk entering the game.
Hofstra erased a one-run deficit when Rocha hit a two-out RBI single to center in the fourth and Ziemba pulled a sacrifice fly to left in the fifth for the 2-1 edge to support Galati. The West Babylon, N.Y. native saved her best pitching effort for the sixth after being handed the lead, escaping a runner-on-third; one-out jam without allowing a run to preserve the lead entering the seventh.
SDSU's Kayla Jordan reached on a leadoff infield single to second and stole second base. Jordan raced to third on a ground out to the right side, bringing up cleanup hitter Lorena Klopp. Klopp, who entered with a .306 average, battled Galati before striking out swinging on a change-up. Galati then escaped the jam by forcing Fiana Finau to hit a soft comebacker to the mound for the easy ground out.
SDSU scratched out a run in the fourth to open the scoring. Kayla Jordan lined a single to right and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. A hit-batter and an infield single then loaded the bases. Hofstra brought the corner infielders in, though Kristin May hit a roller to short for a RBI ground out and a 1-0 edge.
The Aztecs threatened for more, though Galati forced
Ashley Rose to fly out to left to strand two. Hofstra responded with a rally in
the bottom of the inning after senior Krista Thorn rocketed a single to left
and advanced ot second on a ground out. After a fly out, Rocha picked up her
team with a clutch two-out single to center, allowing Thorn to score easily off
the line-drive base hit.
Hofstra kept the pressure on in the fifth when senior Rachael Senatore used her speed off a grounder to short that SDSU's Haley Miles bobbled for an error. The Aztecs then replaced Micetich with Rebecca Arbino, who threw a complete-game against the Pride in Hofstra's 2-0 win on Saturday.
Arbino struck out the first batter she faced before Galati hit an opposite-field single to put runners on first-and-second with one out. A passed ball on a 1-1 count moved both runners in scoring position, which proved invaluable as Ziemba was able to score Senatore with the go-ahead run on a sac fly.
Galati picked up her 1,000th career strikeout on the opening batter, getting Mountain West Co-Player of the Year Miles to strike out swinging in becoming the first Hofstra player to reach the 1,000 mark.
Galati blanked SDSU in the winner's bracket contest on Saturday, marking the first time a Hofstra pitcher threw a shutout in NCAA Tournament play since Kayleigh Lotti accomplished the feat in a 1-0 win over LIU in the 2008 regionals.
Galati's 31 straights wins is now just two off the NCAA Division I single-season record. In an interesting note, the holder of that record is current SDSU head coach Kathy Van Wyk, who posted 33 straight wins for Cal. St. Fullerton in 1982.