Stony Brook Softball was able to perform in front of the home crowd at University Field following a week of cancellations due to inclement weather. The Seawolves went 1-2 against the defending America East champion Albany Great Danes in their first conference series and currently have a 9-12 overall record this season.
“It was great to play at home,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said. “It is a little weird to be opening up with the America East [Conference] in our home opener but we are certainly happy to play at home in front of our family, fans and friends.”
The first game on Saturday afternoon featured sophomore pitcher Melissa Rahrich shining in her best performance of her collegiate career, taking a no-hitter into the fourth inning and pitching a one-hit shutout. Rahrich retired 12 batters straight until junior catcher Chelsea Henige singled up the middle to begin the top of the fifth inning. Henige wound up being the only player to reach base for the Danes as Rahrich fanned the rest of the lineup and finished the game with six strikeouts.
“I just felt really good after that first game,” Rahrich said following the victory. “Everything was working for me and my teammates were working behind me. I just felt like I could go right after the hitters and was very successful.”
Stony Brook struggled to score early in its first game against Albany and failed to capitalize off having runners in scoring position in the first three innings. Junior centerfielder Katelyn Corr broke up the scoreless bout with a hefty solo home run over the centerfield wall in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore designated hitter Taylor Pechin added insurance with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to put the Seawolves up 2-0, which the team would go on to win by.
Coach Bryant spoke about the offensive success Corr and Pechin had following the game.
“Yeah they both are capable of hitting it out, you know,” Bryant said after the win. “We would have liked to have seen a couple of more runs on the board there but we do have people that are capable of hitting home runs and it is exciting to see.”
The Danes wasted little time on improving their offense in the second game. The team was much more patient at the plate and got two runners on base to start the game. Junior left fielder Sarah Petzold drove in the first run of the game with a single to third base to give Albany its first lead of the series.
Rahrich responded in the bottom of the first inning by hitting her third home run of the season to tie the game at one. Action picked up again in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore right fielder Jourdin Hering singled to third base to drive in freshman second baseman Nicole McCarvill. Sophomore designated hitter Allyssa Malony added to the lead by scoring on a bases loaded walk to put the Seawolves up 3-1.
Albany countered in the top of the sixth when freshman first baseman Katie Falotico singled up the middle to drive in Petzold and cut the deficit to a run. The Danes successfully executed a double steal to nab second base and home to tie the game 3-3. Neither team was able to score until freshman shortstop Amelia Ely singled up the middle to drive in Petzold and give her team the 4-3 lead. The Danes added another run following a pass ball to take a 5-3 lead, which they would go on to hold.
Senior right fielder Donna Conrad got the scoring drive started for the Great Danes on Sunday with a single to drive in Ely in the second inning. Freshman pitcher Miranda Jimenez added to the lead with a single of her own to score Conrad and extend the lead to two runs. The Danes added another run following a bases loaded walk to push their lead to 3-0.
The Seawolves attempted to recover by loading the bases in the bottom of the second inning, but failed to capitalize on the scoring opportunity. Stony Brook was able to cut the deficit down to two runs in the fourth inning after Hering walked with the bases loaded, allowing Pechin to score. The team was unable to add anymore runs in the inning and left the bases loaded for the second time in the game.
Albany extended its lead back to three runs the following inning after a solo home run by Petzold. The Danes added some insurance in the top of the seventh after Ely hit a fielder’s choice off senior pitcher Maddy Neales to take a 5-1 lead. Junior catcher Irene Rivera tried to jumpstart a late comeback with her first home run of the season but the Seawolves were unable to retain their momentum and fell in the rubber game, 5-2.
Stony Brook will return to action when the team faces LIU Brooklyn on Wednesday, April 4 at 3:30 p.m. at University Field.