Saturday, May 11, 2013

Refuse to Lose! Softball stuns Albany to win America East Championship, NCAA Selection show, Sunday, 10 p.m. ESPNU

Vestal, N.Y. - Led by the America East Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Allison Cukrov (Irvine, Calif.), the Stony Brook softball team completed its improbable run to the 2013 championship by defeating top-seed Albany twice on Saturday in the conference final. The Seawolves will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will learn their opponents during the selection show on Sunday at 10 p.m. on ESPNU.
Stony Brook 8, Albany 2
Facing its third elimination game of the week, Stony Brook battled to overcome an early 2-0 deficit to force a deciding second game Saturday.
Albany went ahead in the 2nd courtesy of two Stony Brook errors, and then doubled the lead in the 3rd on a leadoff homer by Annie Johnson. 
The lead held until the 5th when the Seawolves delivered the deciding blow. With two outs and the bases loaded, sophomore Shayla Giosia (Runnemede, N.J.) took a high fastball and blasted it over the left-centerfield fence for a grand slam to make it 4-2 Stony Brook.
The Seawolves were not done yet. Senior Gina Bianculli (Oakdale, N.Y.) continued her outstanding tournament with an RBI double, before freshmanAlexandra Pisciotta (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) added two more runs to the scoresheet with another two-base hit. Junior Olivia Mintun (Neoga, Ill.) added another insurance run with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-2 after six innings.
Sophomore Allison Cukrov (Irvine, Calif.) then clamped down and retired the Great Danes in order in the seventh to pick up her 14th win of the year. Albany starter Brittany MacFawn, the America East Pitcher of the Year, suffered her eighth defeat of the season after surrendering all eight runs, four earned, in six innings.

Stony Brook 2, Albany 0

Seizing the momentum from its game one win, Stony Brook went ahead and never looked back in a tightly-contested final.
The Seawolves grabbed the lead when freshmanKellie Reynolds (Paso Robles, Calif.) delivered a two-out, opposite-field double to make it 2-0 in the 4th.
The Great Danes, who left nine runners on base through the first four innings, could never break through against Cukrov, who was able to work out of danger all game.
Albany threatened for the last time in the bottom of the seventh, but Mintun was able to turn a double play by stepping on third and firing to first to seal the win.
The Numbers Game
• Stony Brook outhit Albany, 11-4, in game one.
• The Seawolves posted a 7-6 hit advantage in game two.
• Cukrov posted a 3-1 record with a 1.11 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 25.1 innings during the tournament. 
News and Notes
•Stony Brook will be making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament (2008).
• The Seawolves are just the third No. 4 seed to win the America East title in conference history (Maine 2004, Albany 2007).
• Stony Brook is the second team in America East history to lose its first game and then win the championship (Hofstra 1999).
• Cukrov, Reynolds, Giosia and junior Nicole Schieferstein were named to the All-Tournament Team.