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Galati, Thorn lead Pride in tourney opener

Hofstra University pitcher Olivia Galati delivers to the

Hofstra University pitcher Olivia Galati delivers to the plate in the top of the third inning. (May 10, 2012) Credit: James Escher

Host Hofstra's top-seeded softball team went into a survive-and-advance mode against fourth-seeded Delaware yesterday in the opening game of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

Krista Thorn's RBI double in the sixth snapped a tie and gave the Pride (36-13) a 2-1 win over the Blue Hens (15-40). Olivia Galati (28-5) allowed three hits and struck out 11 in earning her 26th straight victory.

Erin Trippi led off the sixth with a single to left and scored on Thorn's double to left-center. "It should not have come to that," Thorn said of the late rally. "But in these kind of games, unfortunately it happens."

In Friday's second round, Hofstra hosts Georgia State (37-16) at noon. Delaware meets James Madison (29-24) in an elimination game at 2 p.m., also at Hofstra. The overall winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Hofstra had ample opportunity to break open the game against Delaware starter Chenxi Jiao of Beijing, who is 8-24, but the Pride stranded seven runners and had one thrown out at the plate.

"We're lucky to get by with it, for sure," Hofstra coach Bill Edwards said. "We put ourselves in a position early where we didn't get the key hits that we had to get. Then as the game went on, we started to feel the pressure and tried to get outside of ourselves a little bit and really didn't respond to the pressure."

Becca Bigler's RBI single in the third gave Hofstra a 1-0 lead. With ace Galati throwing a one-hitter through the first five innings, could it be that everyone thought one run was enough?

"We're not really taught to think like that," Thorn said. "No one on our team is. We can't always rely on [Galati] . . . It's up to us to take care of everyone and not just rely on one person."

A bit of panic set in during the top of the sixth when Delaware's Maggie Creciun led off with a single and scored on a throwing error to tie it. Hofstra prevented what would have been the go-ahead run from scoring when second baseman Tori Rocha took a relay from rightfielder Tessa Ziemba and threw out East Islip's Michelle McKinnon at home.

"Right after that, it kind of just hit us," Hofstra designated player Trippi said. "Wow, we really need to get some runs right about now."

So she and Thorn took care of it.


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