New Haven, Conn. – The Albertus Magnus College softball team finished the regular season with a 21-15 overall record and earned the No. 7 seed in the upcoming Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament thanks to a 12-10 mark in league play.
The Falcons open post-season play on Tuesday, May 3, with a road tilt versus Saint Joseph's (Maine) at 3:30 pm. The winning team will advance to this weekend's double-elimination portion of the tournament and square off with No. 3 seed Johnson & Wales on Friday afternoon at second-seeded St. Joseph (Conn.).
Albertus Magnus opened conference play with a doubleheader sweep of the Monks in early April. The Falcons took the opener, 2-0, and blanked SJC, 3-0, in the finale. On a cold, wet afternoon, it was a stellar day in the circle for both AMC freshman Kristen Cunning (Hoboken, N.J.) and sophomore Megan Ferraro (Branford, Conn.). The two righties combined to give up zero earned runs, while scattering 10 hits and striking out two hitters. The Falcons also had a solid day defensively, committing zero errors compared to four by the Monks.
Albertus Magnus enters the post-season coming off a 2-1 victory against Emmanuel over the weekend. The Falcons are making their 12th appearance (third straight) in the GNAC tournament. In search of the second conference title in program history, AMC will look to win in the opening round and advance to the weekend for the second year in a row. Tuesday's meeting will be the first-ever between the Monks and Falcons in the GNAC Tournament.
Offensively, the team is led by sophomore and reigning GNAC Rookie and Player of the Year Gillian Fortier (Naugatuck, Conn.). Fortier has a team-best .406 batting average and .535 on-base percentage, while registering 41 hits, 17 RBIs and scoring 23 runs. Classmate Brianna Whitfield (West Islip, N.Y.) is enjoying a breakout spring for Albertus Magnus, hitting .396 and scoring a team-high 25 runs to go along with 19 RBIs and eight extra-base hits. Senior outfielder Alyssa Puccilli (Milford, Conn.) looks to put an exclamation point on her career in the post-season. Earlier this spring, she became the program's all-time hits leader. She is batting .359 this year with 20 RBIs.
In the circle, Ferraro has gone 13-4 in a team-best 112 innings of work. She has added a save and fanned a team-leading 34 hitters this season while amassing a 2.44 earned run average. In 12 appearances, Cunning has gone 5-3 with a 3.37 ERA in 52 innings. Sophomore Samantha Maselli (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) is 2-1 with a save and a team-best 1.98 ERA. Since joining the team midway through the campaign, junior Shyleen Ortiz (New Britain, Conn.) has racked up a 2.86 ERA in 36 and two-thirds inning of work.
Defensively, Albertus Magnus has turned 15 double plays to go along with a .953 fielding percentage. Falcon catchers have thrown out three runners attempting to steal this season and the squad has committed 53 errors in 36 games.
2016 GNAC Softball Tournament
First Round - Tuesday, May 3 (single elimination)
Game 1: #8 Mount Ida at #5 Emmanuel - 6PM
Game 2: #7 Albertus Magnus at #6 Saint Joseph's Maine - 3:30 PM
Second Round - Friday, May 6 (double- elimination begins)
Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. #4 Norwich (at #1 Suffolk)
Game 4: Game 2 winner vs. #3 Johnson & Wales (at #2 USJ)
Game 5: Game 3 winner at #1 Suffolk
Game 6: Game 4 winner at #2 USJ
Semifinals - Saturday, May 7 (hosted by #1 Suffolk)
Game 7: Game 4 loser vs. Game 5 loser (elimination game)
Game 8: Game 3 loser vs. Game 6 loser (elimination game)
Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner
Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner (elimination game)
Championship - Sunday, May 8 (hosted by #1 Suffolk)
Game 11: Game 9 loser vs. Game 10 winner (elimination game)
Game 12: Game 11 winner vs. Game 9 winner
Game 13: if necessary