For Hofstra pitcher Olivia Galati, familiarity breeds content. She faced Towson for the fourth time in less than a week and threw her fourth straight shutout as Hofstra opened the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Wednesday with a 6-0 victory over the Tigers.
Hofstra plays James Madison at noon Thursday in the double-elimination series, which yields an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Galati, who threw her Division I-leading 19th shutout, has thrown 301/3 consecutive scoreless innings. "It is tough enough to beat a team three times in a row," coach Bill Edwards said. "To have to come out and play them a fourth time makes it even more difficult. It was an overall very satisfying victory for us."
Galati threw a perfect game against Towson last weekend, the fourth of her career. This time she allowed four hits and struck out eight, giving her a Division I-leading 360 this season.
"You definitely have to focus more because the hitters get to see you so many times," Galati said. "Every game, they are seeing you three times, so multiply that by four. Twelve times in a couple of days. You have to bear down and really be fine with your pitches. You can't really miss a lot. It definitely takes a lot more focus.
"I would say that some hitters definitely stand out to me. I might not even know their name or number, I can just recognize them when they stand in the batter's box. I think that helps me, too. They've generated certain results off of my pitches so I can work off that. Really, every time someone steps in the batter's box and takes a swing you have to gain information and work from there."
It appeared early in the game that Galati would have to throw a shutout because Hofstra only had a 1-0 lead until the fifth inning when catcher Erin Tripp doubled in two runs. "Finally, it helped her out a little bit, she's throwing great," Trippi said. "That felt good."
Hofstra added three more runs in the sixth, two on a double by centerfielder Tessa Ziemba.
"Trippi picked up today and had a good day in that 'four' spot," Edwards said. "All year long it's always somebody in the lineup that will deliver for us. We've been very fortunate to have someone pick us up in the course of a game."
Designated player Chloe Fitzgerald had three hits and first baseman Maggie Hawkins had a double and an RBI.
Some may think that Hofstra (41-11) has enough of a résumé to make the NCAA Tournament without winning the CAA, but Galati said, "You never want to take that chance and you don't really want to get into a tournament that way. Even though you are technically deserving to get into it in the eyes of the NCAA, you want to make sure you deserve being there by winning your conference."