A go-ahead double by senior outfielder Shayla Giosia broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning to push the Stony Brook softball team ahead of the Maine Black Bears in the first round of the America East Softball Championship, a game the Seawolves won, 2-0.
The top-seeded Seawolves will now advance to the second round of the championship, playing the winner of this afternoon’s Albany-Binghamton game tomorrow at 11 a.m.
“Shayla’s been clutch for us all year,” Stony Brook Head Coach Megan Bryant said. “There’s no one else we would have rather had up in that situation.”
The game featured a pitching matchup of two of the America East’s best pitchers. Maine freshman and conference Pitcher of the Year Alexis Bogdanovich took the mound against Stony Brook senior Allison Cukrov, who won the award in 2012 and 2014.
“Allie’s a senior and we went with her because of her experience,” Bryant said. “She’s been here before.”
Bogdanovich dominated the Seawolves batters for much of the game, allowing just one hit through the first five innings.
While Cukrov ultimately kept the Black Bears off of the scoreboard, she pitched in and out of jams for much of the game. The most precarious of these jams came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when back-to-back singles by two freshmen, outfielder Rachel Carlson and infielder Erika Leonard, put runners on first and third with one out. Seawolves assistant coach Tracy Powell then went to the mound to console the senior pitcher.
“[Powell] just said to take a breath, focus on the batter and get some outs,” Cukrov said.
And she did just that. Cukrov struck out the next batter and forced the following to line out to first to end the inning.
The bottom of the following inning would give the Seawolves the only offense that was needed for a win. A leadoff single by junior catcher Alexandra Pisciotta coupled with a sacrifice bunt from freshman infielder Chelsea Evans put Pisciotta on second with just one out. After senior outfielder Bria Green popped out to first, it was Giosia’s turn to shine.
“I knew Shayla’s hit was going to fall, I believed in her,” Cukrov said. “I love Shayla.”
After Giosia’s go-ahead double, junior outfielder Diane Caruso hit a fly ball to left field that was dropped, scoring Giosia and giving Stony Brook an insurance run.
With the benefit of a 2-0 lead, Cukrov closed out the game to put an end to their first round matchup. After the win, the Seawolves turn their attention to the Albany-Binghamton game to find out who they will be playing tomorrow morning.
“I will be [watching the scoreboard] today,” Giosia said. “No preference on who wins.”
For Cukrov, the win was the 76th of her collegiate career. This ties her with former Seawolf Alyssa Struzenberg for first on the all-time program victories list.
“I actually didn’t know that,” Cukrov said when she found out she had tied the record. “I’m going to try to keep that out of my mind and just focus on the tournament.”