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Hofstra softball fights through ECU tournament

By Alex Hyman, Staff Writer

Coming off the Seminole Kickoff Classic championship, the Pride softball team traveled to East Carolina University last weekend to take on Kent State, the University of Virginia, and the host Pirates.

In the Pride's first game against Virginia, it committed the first error of the season, leading to an unearned run.

"The errors were the turning point to the games," Hofstra head coach Bill Edwards said. "It is something that we are not used to doing. It puts a lot of pressure on your pitchers and on the offense."

Sophomore Olivia Galati, who had started three of the Pride's first five games, took the mound for Hofstra. She threw a complete game, giving up just five hits and one earned run, striking out 10. The offense never showed up for Hofstra, which fell to Virginia 2-0.

In the second game, junior Erin Wade took the mound against the host East Carolina Pirates. Like the first game, shoddy defense led to four unearned runs. The Pride's offense failed to get anything going, tallying just three hits. Hofstra was able to get two runners on in the sixth inning, but failed to get a run home and the Pride fell to 0-2 on the day and 4-3 on the season.

Day two would bring a much different outcome. The offense had picked up the slack and the defense would get back into its groove.

"We reversed the tables and played very well. We made the corrections and hit the ball very well in next two games," Edwards said.

Galati was the starting pitcher for the Pride in the first game of the day against Kent State. She threw her second complete game in as many days, this time a shutout allowing just two hits and striking out seven. After not scoring a run in the first two games of the tournament, the Pride quickly got on the board, scoring six runs in the second inning on the way to a 12-0 victory.

Senior catcher Laura Valentino had two hits and four RBI's to lead the way for the Pride with senior thirdbaseman Sarah Michalowski, junior secondbaseman Jess Hirschbuhl and freshman Tori Rocha each adding two RBI's. Sophomore centerfielder Rachael Senatore led the Pride with four hits and two runs scored.

They got on the board early against Virginia with a Valentino RBI in the first. In the third, sophomore outfielder Tessa Ziemba added to the lead with an RBI of her own. Wade would surrender a run in the bottom of the third, but Galati came in relief and closed the door on any chance of giving up the lead. Wade and Galati combined to surrender four hits en route to a 2-1 Hofstra victory.

In the final game of the tournament, the Pride took on East Carolina once again. Olivia Galati pitched strong for the first four innings but ran into trouble in the fifth. She pitched 4.1 innings allowing four hits and four runs. It was 5-0 heading into the final inning before the Pride broke through against the tough pitching East Carolina team. The Pride started the inning with four straight singles from Valentino, Galati, sophomore outfielder Becca Bigler and senior infielder Krista Thorn. After a strikeout, the Pride scored two more runs with Hirschbuhl getting hit by a pitch and Senatore drawing a walk. The Pride got one more home after a fielder's choice and with two runners on and two outs, Michalowski grounded out to end the game.

 "I thought we played so well in the final game," Edwards said. "I was very proud of the way we played."

"They take great pride in their performance," Edwards added. "We did not play to our standard. They were determined to play to our standard.

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