Albany beats Stony Brook twice to earn NCAA softball bid

Stony Brook starting pitcher Allison Cukrov delivers in

Stony Brook starting pitcher Allison Cukrov delivers in the first inning against UMBC in an America East championship softball game on Thursday, May 8, 2014. (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

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One out away from winning its second straight America East Conference title and earning its second straight NCAA Tournament bid, the Stony Brook softball team allowed a walk-off three-run homer by Elizabeth Snow in the bottom of the 10th inning Sunday in a 3-2 loss to visiting Albany.

That left each team with one loss in the double-elimination tournament, and in the winner-take-all nightcap, Albany beat Stony Brook, 8-1, to earn the NCAA bid.

"To be inches away from going back to the tournament is deflating,'' coach Megan Bryant said. "But we had a great year. Our senior class is leaving the program with their heads high. They fought through a ton of adversity to make Stony Brook proud.''

Allison Cukrov (23-9) threw 319 pitches for SBU (34-18) in the two games.

The first game was scoreless through nine innings before the Seawolves scored two runs in the top of the 10th. Jessica Combs led off with her seventh homer of the season, a blast to left-center, and Olivia Mintun singled to left. With one out and Mintun on third, Jessica Zeilman hit a sacrifice fly to left.

But with two on and two outs in the bottom of the inning, Snow hit a 2-and-0 fastball from Cukrov just over the leftfield fence to win it.

In the second game, Albany (33-11) took an 8-0 lead after 61/2 innings before Bria Green hit her 16th homer of the season for Stony Brook, which had outscored UMBC and Albany 25-1 in its first two tournament games.

SBU falls. Stony Brook (17-4) lost to host Syracuse, 13-6, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in women's lacrosse. Courtney Murphy's four goals gave her a school freshman record of 61. Amber Kupres and Kristin Yevoli also scored.

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