May 4, 2012
Stony Brook, N.Y. - The Stony Brook softball team will wrap up the regular season this weekend when Albany visits University Field for a critical conference showdown starting Saturday at 1 p.m. The Seawolves hold a half-game lead over the Great Danes in the standings and will look to lock up the top seed in the America East playoffs.
Entering the final weekend of conference play, there are still three teams hoping to clinch the No. 1 seed and home field advantage in the America East playoffs. Stony Brook leads the conference with a 12-2-1 record and can clinch the top spot with a sweep of Albany this weekend. Boston University and Albany are tied in second at 12-3, but the Terriers own the tiebreaker over the Great Danes, having beaten Albany twice this season. Stony Brook, BU and Albany have all clinched playoff spots, while Hartford and UMBC have been eliminated. Maine currently holds the fourth and final playoff spot at 6-8-1 and needs just one win against Hartford this weekend to clinch a playoff berth and eliminate fifth-place Binghamton.
Looking at the statistics, this weekend's showdown between Stony Brook and Albany points to a very even matchup. The Seawolves and Great Danes are the top two offensive teams in the America East as Stony Brook is batting .308 as a team with 225 runs scored and Albany is hitting .306 with 245 runs. Both teams also rank in the top three in pitching: Stony Brook has a 2.27 team ERA, while Albany has a 2.45 mark.
The Great Danes feature a two-headed monster in the circle with a pair of dominant Brittany's: MacFawn (17-4, 1.53 ERA, 167 K) and Schwieger (14-4, 1.73 ERA, 119 K). Stony Brook will counter with its own ace, freshman Allison Cukrov (Irvine, Calif.), who owns a 22-7 record, a 1.45 ERA and 204 strikeouts.
In addition to some terrific pitching matchups, the Stony Brook/Albany series will also be highlighted by the top two run-producers in the conference: Albany's Charlise Castro and Stony Brook's Shayla Giosia (Runnemede, N.J.). A sophomore, Castro has been mashing this season to the tune of a .470 average, 12 home runs and 49 RBI. Giosia, meanwhile, is hitting .351 and has swatted seven homers to go along with 42 RBI in her freshman season.
Stony Brook and Albany have been the most active teams on the basepaths this year in the America East. The Great Danes lead the conference with 92 stolen bases, including 26 by Diane MacDowell and 23 by Vicky MacFarland. Stony Brook ranks second with 71 steals, led by seniors Alyssa Hawley
(17) and Suzanne Karath
On Sunday, Stony Brook will honor the four seniors who will be playing in their final regular season home game: Karath, Hawley, Bernadette Tenuto (Audubon, N.J.) and Lauren Maloney (Las Vegas, Nev.). All four players are hitting over .300 this season and have combined for 112 runs, 198 hits and 70 RBI in 48 games thus far.