Softball opens 2013 season at Jacksonville Tournament

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Junior Jessica Combs
 
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Feb. 14, 2013

Jacksonville, Fla. - The Stony Brook softball team will kick off the 2013 season this weekend with six games in Jacksonville, Fla. The Seawolves open with a doubleheader on Friday against No. 17 Louisville (4-1) at 9:30 a.m. and a matchup against host Jacksonville (3-2) at 4:15 p.m.

The weekend continues on Saturday with a 2 p.m. contest against Bethune-Cookman (0-4), followed by another game against Jacksonville at 4:15 p.m. Stony Brook will then wrap up the tournament on Sunday with a pair of matchups against power-conference opponents Louisville (9 a.m.) and Ohio State (4-1) at 11:15 a.m.

Jacksonville Tournament Schedule

Fri., Feb. 15 vs. No. 17 Louisville - 9:30 a.m.
Fri., Feb. 15 at Jacksonville - 4:15 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 16 vs. Bethune-Cookman - 2 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 16 at Jacksonville - 4:15 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 17 vs. No. 17 Louisville - 9 a.m.
Sun., Feb. 17 vs. Ohio State - 11:15 a.m.

LIVE STATS for all games

2013 Season Preview

Following a 36-win season in 2012, the Stony Brook softball team and head coach Megan Bryant have high expectations entering the new campaign. With 10 letterwinners returning and a talented group of 11 newcomers joining the fold, the Seawolves will once again be primed to make a run at the America East title.

"Overall, I think the strengths of our team lie in our pitching staff and the experience in our infield," Bryant explained. "We're built a little bit more for power this year as opposed to last year's team, but we have great team depth and that will give us flexibility in the field and create competition in practice."

Pitching

The Seawolves' pitching staff is expected to be a strong point of the team entering the new year. Sophomore Allison Cukrov (Irvine, Calif.), the reigning America East Pitcher of the Year, will look to build on a record-breaking freshman campaign that saw the phenom set new program records for wins (25) and shutouts (13) in a season. Cukrov fanned 227 batters in 2012, while posting a 1.94 ERA in 234 innings pitched. The Irvine, Calif. native will be called upon to anchor the staff once again this season in just her second year in a Seawolves' uniform.

Joining Cukrov in the circle will be junior Christine Lucido (Melville, N.Y.) and freshman standout Jane Sallen (Lake Worth, Fla.). Lucido won five games a season ago and registered a 3.00 ERA in 15 appearances. Sallen, meanwhile, will give Stony Brook a change of pace as a left-handed hurler with a variety of pitches in her arsenal.

Infield

The Stony Brook infield returns three starters from a season ago in third baseman Gina Bianculli (Oakdale, N.Y.), shortstop Jessica Combs (Hammonton, N.J.) and first baseman Nicole Hagerty (Sicklerville, N.J.). Bianculli hit .326 in an injury-shortened junior season and, as the only senior on this year's team, will be counted on for experience and her always-steady defensive presence at the hot corner.

Combs, a second-team All-Conference performer in 2012, returns to fill out the left side of the infield after hitting .333 and recording 29 RBI in 54 games as a sophomore. Hagerty, who started 47 games a year ago, will provide steady defense and some pop at the plate after posting a .992 fielding percentage and four homers in 2012.

Joining the infield fold will be freshmen Patty Borges (Berkley, Mass.), Kellie Reynolds (Paso Robles, Calif.) and Kat Zabielski (Farmingdale, N.Y.). Borges and Reynolds will compete for time at second base after the departure of Lauren Maloney, while Zabielski will provide depth at first.

Outfield

The Seawolves' outfield figures to have more depth than ever before with three returners, three transfers and two freshmen in the fold. Sophomore Shayla Giosia (Runnemede, N.J.) will be a fixture of the unit after leading the team in home runs (8), RBI (44), runs (36) and slugging percentage (.552) in 2012. Joining Giosia are returners Lauren Kamachi (Surrey, British Columbia) and Nicole Hoyle (Warwick, Md.). Kamachi started 35 games a year ago and knocked in 13 runs, while Hoyle saw action in 14 contests and posted four RBI.

Redshirt-junior Jessica Zeilman (Newfield, N.J.) figures to play a major role in the outfield this year, while providing power at the plate. A transfer from Hofstra, Zeilman helped the Pride to the CAA regular season title in 2011 and hit .267 in 27 games.

Another transfer, sophomore Bria Green (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) will also see regular playing time after hitting .349 in 42 games with Delaware State last year. Green was named second-team All-MEAC and MEAC Player of the Week four times with the Hornets in 2012.

A third transfer, Olivia Mintun (Neoga, Ill.) comes to Stony Brook from Lake Land College in Illinois. A true utility player, Mintun hit .385 last season and helped Lake Land to a second straight NJCAA World Series appearance.

Freshmen Diane Caruso (Middletown, N.Y.) and Brianne Iannetti (Middlesex, N.J.) will also compete for time in the outfield and provide further depth for the unit.

Catchers

Stony Brook will carry four catchers entering the season, led by incumbent starter Nicole Schieferstein (Seaford, N.Y.). Schieferstein started 53 games in 2012 and knocked in nine runs, while posting a .991 fielding percentage. Sophomore Sarah Androvich (Carteret, N.J.) also returns after seeing action in three games a season ago.

Newcomers Alexandra Pisciotta (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) and Melissa Phelan (Saddle Brook, N.Y.) will compete for time as well and add further depth.