Softball heads to Missouri for NCAA Columbia Regional

Stony Brook will be making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament
 
Stony Brook will be making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament
 
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May 15, 2013

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Columbia, Mo. - The Stony Brook softball team will make its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament this week when it opens play in the Columbia Regional on Friday against No. 6 Missouri at 6:30 p.m. EST. All games in the Columbia Regional will be shown live on ESPN3.

Like the America East Tournament, the Columbia Regional will be a double-elimination format. The winner of the Regional will advance to the NCAA Super Regionals, and each Super Regional winner will advance to the Women's College World Series.

Columbia Regional Preview 

Missouri Tigers (35-11, 15-8 SEC)

The No. 6 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Missouri Tigers will be making their 17th all-time appearance in the Division-I Softball Championship. Missouri owns a 41-36 overall record in the tournament and has advanced to the Women's College World Series six times, but has never won the championship.

Last weekend, the Tigers advanced to the SEC Tournament final by beating Arkansas and Tennessee, but fell to Florida by a 10-4 score in the title game. Missouri is led by two-time All-American picher Chelsea Thomas, who boasts a 22-4 record with a 1.23 ERA and 205 strikeouts in 170.1 innings pitched. The Tigers also feature an explosive offense with nine players hitting over .300 for the season. Angela Randazzo (8 HR, 47 RBI), Nicole Hudson (15 HR, 43 RBI) and Kelsea Roth (15 HR, 41 RBI) pace Mizzou as the team's primary run-producers. As a team, Mizzou hits .320 and as a staff the Tigers own a 2.44 ERA.

Oregon State Beavers (33-22, 8-16 Pac 12)

Oregon State earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, despite finishing eighth in the ultra-competitive Pac 12 Conference. The Beavers will be making their 11th appearance in the tournament and own a 29-21 all-time record at the competition. Oregon State made its only appearance in the Women's College World Series in 2006, but lost both games it played. 

Offensively, Oregon State is led by sluggers Natalie Hampton (15 HR, 50 RBI) and Lea Cavestany (10 HR, 42 RBI). The pair have combined for 25 of the team's 51 home runs this season. In the circle, Marina Demore is the Beavers' go-to option with a 20-11 record, a 3.03 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 168.2 innings. Tina Andreana (9-7, 3.74 ERA) has also featured prominently in the circle with 127.1 innings this season.

Hofstra Pride (43-11, 18-2 CAA)

The champions of the CAA, Hofstra enters the tournament on a 13-game winning streak. The Pride have won 39 of their last 42 games overall and own impressive victories over Arkansas (twice) and Texas this season. Hofstra has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 13 times before and has a 21-26 all-time record. 

Much of Hofstra's dominance stems from the brilliance of senior pitcher Olivia Galati, who leads the nation in wins (37) and strikeouts (374). Galati has walked only 29 batters all season and owns a 13/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Galati boasts 20 shutouts this season and has pitched 307 of the team's 351 innings. Offensively, the Pride are led by Tessa Ziemba, who has 13 homers and 45 RBI. 

Columbia Regional Schedule (Double-Elimination Format)

Friday, May 17

Game One: Oregon State vs. Hofstra, 4 p.m. EST

Game Two: No. 6 Missouri vs. Stony Brook, 6:30 p.m. EST
 

Saturday, May 18

Game Three: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2, 1 p.m. EST

Game Four: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2, 3:30 p.m. EST (loser eliminated)

Game Five: Loser G3 vs. Winner G4, 6 p.m .EST (loser eliminated)
 

Sunday, May 19

Game Six: Winner G3 vs. Winner G5, 2 p.m. EST

Game Seven (if necessary), 4:30 p.m. EST
 

Setting the Stage

Stony Brook (35-23, 10-8 America East) enters the NCAA Tournament as the champion of the America East. The No. 4 seed in the conference tournament, Stony Brook defeated top-seed Albany in the America East championship to clinch the program's second-ever trip to the NCAA Regionals.

#Refuse2Lose

After losing its opening game of the America East Tournament, Stony Brook adopted a `refuse to lose' mentality, winning four straight elimination games, including two vs. No. 1 Albany, to take home the title. The Seawolves became just the second team in conference history to lose their first game and win the America East Tournament (Hofstra 1999).

Fantastic Four

Stony Brook is also just the third No. 4 seed in America East Tournament history to win the conference championship (Maine 2004, Albany 2007).

NCAA Tournament History

Stony Brook is 0-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament action. The Seawolves previously qualified for the Division-I Softball Championship in 2008 and were sent to the Tempe Regional with host Arizona State, Mississippi State and Hawaii. The Seawolves battled hard in a 2-0 defeat against the Sun Devils, before dropping an 8-3 decision to Mississippi State.

Stony Brook vs. Missouri/SEC

Stony Brook has never faced Missouri in any sport. In fact, Stony Brook has only faced one SEC opponent in its history: Mississippi State in the 2008 Tempe Regional.

Stony Brook vs. Oregon State/Pac 12

The Seawolves have also never faced Oregon State in any sport. Stony Brook has faced two other Pac 12 foes in its history: Arizona State in the 2008 Tempe Regional and Utah in 2012. Stony Brook earned its first-ever win over a Pac 12 team when it defeated the Utes, 1-0, in eight innings in a game played in Ft. Myers, Fla.

Stony Brook vs. Hofstra

Despite being geographical rivals, Stony Brook has not faced Hofstra in any sport since the men's and women's tennis pro- grams squared off on April 14, 2011. The Seawolves have not competed against the Pride in softball since April 23, 2009, an 8-0 Hofstra win. Stony Brook and Hofstra have met 15 times on the softball field with the Pride leading the all-time series, 14-1. Stony Brook's lone victory over Hofstra came in 1981, an 18-11 win.

Head Coach Megan Bryant

Now in her 13th season at Stony Brook and 26th year as a head coach overall (Stetson, Drake, Stony Brook), Megan Bry- ant has won 713 career games and owns a .531 lifetime win- ning percentage. On April 13, Bryant became the 35th coach in NCAA Division I history to win 700 games when Stony Brook defeated Albany by a 4-3 score.

Bryant in the NCAA Tournament

Bryant will be making her third trip to the NCAA Tournament as a head coach in 2013. Bryant led the Seawolves to the 2008 Tournament and also led the Drake Bulldogs to the 1994 Tournament. Coincidentally, Bryant faced Missouri while with Drake in the `94 Tournament in a regional hosted by Kansas.

America East in the NCAA Tournament

Since the America East first gained a qualifying bid to the NCAA Tournament in 1994, the conference has had 17 wins in the Division I Softball Championship. Most recently, Bos- ton University defeated Iona in the 2012 Berkeley Regional. America East member institutions have won six tournament games since 2007.

Stony Brook in the NCAA Ranks

Stony Brook ranks 26th in the nation in fielding percentage with a .970 clip. In addition, sophomore pitcher Allison Cukrov ranks 11th nationally with five saves, while sophomore OF Shayla Giosia ranks as the 38th-toughest batter to strike out in the country (10 K's all season).

Super Cukrov

Sophomore pitcher Allison Cukrov (Irvine, Calif.) was named the America East Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after posting a 3-1 record with a 1.11 ERA at the competition. Cukrov started both games against No. 1 Albany in the tournament final and threw 250 pitches on the day in leading the Seawolves to two wins.

Cukrov in the Record Books

In just under two full seasons at Stony Brook, Cukrov has already made her mark on the program record books. Cukrov ranks 4th in program history with 374 career strikeouts, 6th with 80 career appearances, 4th with 40 career wins, 5th with 420.2 career IP, 2nd with 19 career shutouts, 5th with 47 career complete games, and 2nd with 9 career saves.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Despite standing just 5'5, sophomore OF Shayla Giosia (Runnemede, N.J.) packs a big punch at the plate. Giosia leads the team with 35 RBI this year and ranks 10th all-time at Stony Brook with 79 career runs-batted-in. Giosia had one of the biggest hits of the season in the America East final vs. Albany when she hit a two-out grand slam to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead in the 5th inning. Stony Brook went on to win the game, 8-2, before topping Albany once again in the deciding game by a 2-0 score to win the title.

Green with Envy

After transferring from Delaware State over the summer, sophomore OF Bria Green (Wheatley Heights, N.Y.) has made an instant impact with the Seawolves. Green is tied for the team lead with seven HR and leads the squad with a .355 average and a .581 slugging percentage. A second-team All-Conference performer, Green led the America East with 18 doubles and 100 total bases as well.

All-Conference Selections

Six Stony Brook players were honored by the America East as All-Conference performers this year. Freshman catcher Alexandra Pisciotta (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) was Stony Brook's lone representative on the All-Conference first team, and also earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team. Sophomore OF Shayla Giosia, sophomore OF Bria Green and junior pitcher Christine Lucido (Melville, N.Y.) were named to the All-Conference second team, while freshman hurler Jane Sallen (Lake Worth, Fla.) joined Pisciotta on the All-Rookie Team. Sophomore Allison Cukrov was also honored as an America East All-Academic Team selection.