Tampa, FL – South Florida scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth and a Hofstra rally in the bottom of the ninth came up short as the Bulls forced a decisive third game of the Tampa Super Regional with a 2-1 victory over the Pride on Saturday afternoon at USF Stadium.
Hofstra falls to 42-14 with the loss, seeing its school-record 21 game win streak come to an end. South Florida improves to 46-12 with the victory.
Game three of the series will start at 6:04 p.m. The winner of the third game will head to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK next week.
Junior pitcher Olivia Galati took the hard luck loss for Hofstra as she fell to 34-6 this season. She saw her streak of 32 straight wins come to an end, one off the single season NCAA record.
A pitcher’s duel developed once again early on between Galati and South Florida pitcher Lindsey Richardson.
In the first inning, USF got a leadoff single from Gina Kafalas, but she was stranded at third to end the threat. The bottom half of the inning would see Hofstra put together its own scoring opportunity as junior center fielder Rachael Senatore singled to leadoff the inning and the Pride had runners on first and second with two outs after a walk. The threat was ended, though, as senior third baseman Krista Thorn struck out to end the first stanza.
Both squads would go down in order in the second inning before Hofstra put runners on again in the third inning. Senatore picked up her second hit of the contest and stole second on the next pitch, but back-to-back outs by the Pride left her at second.
Hofstra would load the bases in the fourth inning as junior right fielder Tessa Ziemba walked to start the inning and Thorn then reached on an error by the second baseman. After a sacrifice fly from senior catcher Courtney Crews put runners on the corners, South Florida brought Sara Nevins in to pitch to sophomore second baseman Tori Rocha. Nevins would strike out Rocha, but junior designated player D.J. Slugh was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hofstra was unable to bring any runs across the plate, though, as senior left fielder Michelle Lavagnino grounded out to third base to end the fourth inning.
The “visitors” – South Florida (Hofstra is the home team in the game), would have their best chance so far in their half of the fifth inning. A pair of errors on the Pride allowed the Bulls to have runners on first and third with just one out. Galati would come up huge once again, though, as she struck out Nevins and induced a groundout to end the inning.
Hofstra looked to have a quality scoring chance in the bottom of the seven as Slugh reached on an error and later in the inning Senatore was walked to put two runners on with two outs. After Richardson returned to the pitching circle for the Bulls, she struck out junior shortstop Becca Bigler to end another Hofstra threat and send the game to extra innings for the second consecutive game. It marked Hofstra’s first time playing back-to-back extra innings games this season.
South Florida would get on the board first in the game as they scored twice in the top of the ninth. Stephanie Medina led off the inning with a single and the Bulls would have runners on first and second with one out after a sacrifice bunt and a hit by pitch. Kenshyra Jackson would then plate the first run as she singled to right to score Ashli Goff. The Bulls would add an insurance run as Laura Fountain hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Kourtney Salvarola.
Hofstra gave it all they had in the bottom of the ninth as Crews led-off with a single. Slugh would be hit by a pitch with one out and with two outs, Senatore singled to shortstop to load the bases. Bigler then added an infield single to score the Pride’s first run of the game, but Galati grounded out to short to end ninth inning for Hofstra.
Senatore finished 3-4 for Hofstra, while Bigler was 1-5 for the Pride with the lone RBI.
Sara Nevins improved to 30-5 with the win for South Florida.