For the second consecutive year, the Stony Brook softball season has ended with two consecutive losses in the America East Softball Championship.
The Seawolves lost two games on Saturday to Binghamton by final scores of 5-2 and 9-3, which ended their hopes of winning the double-elimination tournament.
“We were the better team all year,” Stony Brook coach Megan Bryant said. “Binghamton was the better team today.”
In the first game, Binghamton freshman Sarah Miller took the circle against Stony Brook senior Allison Cukrov, who was making her third start in as many days.
A poor second inning from Cukrov gave Binghamton a lead that the Bearcats would never relinquish. Three hit batters, two walks and a single from freshman infielder Stephanie Bielec gave the Bearcats a 4-0 lead.
After allowing a walk and a single to start the following inning, Cukrov was pulled in favor of junior Jane Sallen. Cukrov’s first game ended with a nightmarish line, as she allowed five runs, hit three batters and walked three more in just two innings pitched.
“Our effort was there today, our execution was not.” Bryant said.
Sallen took the mound for the second game against Miller. She started the game cruising, allowing just one base runner on a walk through the game’s first three innings. After a solo home run by catcher Alexandra Pisciotta made the game 1-0, the Seawolves looked like the dominant team that they were all season.
That quickly changed. Sallen let up five consecutive hits to start the fourth inning, leading to three Binghamton runs. This prompted Bryant to relieve Sallen and bring in Cukrov.
Binghamton’s bats erupted in the fifth inning against Cukrov, as the Bearcats scored five. This ended the senior’s day, season and collegiate career and effectively put the game on ice for Stony Brook.
Many observers were surprised to see Cukrov starting the first three games of the tournament. A short outing from the senior in the first game on Saturday forced Sallen to pitch eight consecutive innings, and the tail end of her day did not go so well. Despite this, Bryant emphatically denied the notion that fatigue was a factor in the poor performances of these typically-solid pitchers.
“No,” Bryant said when asked if she thought her pitchers were fatigued.
Fatigue or no fatigue, this is a disappointing way to end the season from Stony Brook’s standpoint. The Seawolves lost just two conference games all season leading up to today’s losses and beat the Bearcats in the tournament’s second round yesterday by a score of 16-3.
By beating Stony Brook, Binghamton now advances to the NCAA Regionals, where the Bearcats will compete for a berth in the Women’s College World Series.