It was the beginning of the last inning of the Colonial Athletic Association softball championship and the Hofstra fans were on their feet, clapping and screaming. They knew freshman pitcher Olivia Galati was on the verge of a no-hitter against Georgia State.
Galati did not. "I did not know until the top of the seventh with one out when I looked at the scoreboard,'' she said. "I tried not to get nervous.''
After striking out Lauren Jones and Paige Nowacki, Galati got Audrey Mason on a foul pop behind first base for the final out of Hofstra's 3-0 victory. It was the first no-hitter in the nine-year history of the tournament.
The last out was caught by second baseman Jess Hirschbuhl, who also was unaware of the no-hitter. "I knew she was throwing well,'' Hirschbuhl said. "I knew she didn't allow many hits . . . She's amazing, she's a leader, she has so much confidence, so much discipline. She deserves every good thing that happens to her.''
Hofstra coach Bill Edwards said those who knew of Galati's no-hitter didn't say a word. "In order to stay with the old baseball non-jinx, we didn't get involved in that aspect of the game,'' he said.
Edwards said the no-no was no easy task. "It is difficult to do with so many great hitters,'' he said. "And with the aluminum bat, you can fist it and get a double down the line. She hit great spots today."
Galati is 24-6 with a 1.30 earned run average. Voted the most outstanding player of the tournament, she also was named pitcher and rookie of the year in the CAA. "It really is indescribable,'' said Galati, a former St. John the Baptist star.
Hofstra won the tournament for the eighth time and earned its 12th bid to the NCAA Tournament. Laura Valentino's second-inning single drove in the Pride's first run. Tessa Ziemba had an RBI hit in the third and Trisha Dreslinski drove in the third run in the sixth.
Galati, who walked two batters and hit another, pitched in the opener of the tournament Wednesday, then rushed to a final exam. "She texted me and said I hope [the professor] grades it on a curve,'' Edwards said. "I said if her curve is as good as yours, you are going to get an A-plus.''