Softball clinches playoff berth with Saturday split
April 28, 2012
Vestal, N.Y. - The Stony Brook softball team clinched a spot in the 2012 America East playoffs on Saturday with a split against conference rival Binghamton. After a 3-0 defeat in game one, the Seawolves rallied to win the second game, 2-1, to improve to 11-2-1 in America East play.
With the split, the Seawolves (32-13-1) remain in first place in the America East with an .821 winning percentage and control their own destiny for the regular season title. Albany, who is idle this weekend, is still in second at 12-3 (.800), and will travel to Stony Brook next weekend for a showdown that could determine who hosts the America East Championship.
Freshman pitcher Allison Cukrov (Irvine, Calif.) took the ball in both games and struck out 18 batters on the day, including 10 Binghamton hitters in game one. Cukrov limited the Bearcats (16-26, 7-10 AE) to only six hits on Saturday and moved to 21-7 after the split.
Despite outhitting Binghamton, 6-4, in the first game, the Seawolves could not scratch a run across against Bearcats starter Demi Laney (7-8), who struck out seven and walked none. The only runs in the game came in the bottom of the fourth when Binghamton's Jessica Bump hit a three-run homer to break a scoreless tie.
Stony Brook advanced runners into scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Laney had an answer for the Seawolves' bats during both rallies, keeping the visitors off the board.
Binghamton struck first again in game two with a run in the bottom of the first, but this time Stony Brook was able to bounce back against starter Rhoda Marsteller (3-8).
Freshman Sarah Androvich (Carteret, N.J.), making her second career start, singled down the left field line to lead off the third to inititate the rally. After a sac bunt by sophomore Nicole Schieferstein (Seaford, N.Y.) moved Androvich into scoring position, seniors Suzanne Karath (Fishkill, N.Y.) and Alyssa Hawley (Spokane, Wash.) reached on infield singles to load the bases with one out.
Freshman Shayla Giosia (Runnemede, N.J.) stepped to the plate looking to do some damage, but Marsteller induced a fielder's choice ground out, which resulted in Androvich being thrown out at home. With the bases stil loaded and two outs, Marsteller again forced a ground ball off the bat of senior Lauren Maloney (Las Vegas, Nev.), but this time the Binghamton shortstop mishandled it and both Karath and Hawley were able to score to make it 2-1.
Cukrov, who did not allow a hit after the first inning, allowed just two baserunners the rest of the way to clinch the split (and playoff berth) for the Seawolves.
Stony Brook will look to tighten its grip on the top spot in the conference when the teams wrap up the series Sunday at noon.