Stony Brook Softball senior pitcher Jane Sallen came into the game with a three-run lead over Seton Hall in the top of the fifth inning. That lead was diminished to one in a matter of minutes. But after a quick timeout and a talk with head coach Megan Bryant, Sallen looked like the confident pitcher she’s always been.
Sallen gave up just one hit after the timeout, preserving a 5-4 Seawolves lead, as the team held off the Pirates at University Field on Thursday afternoon.
“I needed a harder snap on the ball when pitching,” Sallen said of her initial struggles. “My pitches were working well, I was throwing strikes. Those strikes were just too much over the plate, and [Seton Hall] took advantage of it.”
Stony Brook only had a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. After back-to-back walks and a sacrifice bunt, the Seawolves had runners on second and third base with one out. Freshman designated player Irene Rivera stepped up to the plate and delivered, smacking a two-run double into center field to give Stony Brook a 5-2 lead.
“We had practiced situational hitting these last few days in practice,” Rivera said. “As you can see, that really helped me today. It helped me take in the moment at the plate and help my team win.”
Sallen did have a rough start to the top of the fifth inning, giving up three hits, two runs and a sacrifice fly to the first four batters she faced.
After speaking to her coach, she was able to settle down and pitch her style. She was able to get out of the inning and only gave up one hit the rest of the way, including starting a game-ending, 1-6-3 double play to secure the victory.
It was a bounce-back game for Sallen, who after throwing Stony Brook’s first-ever back-to-back no-hitters gave up 13 runs in 7.2 innings in a series against Binghamton.
“I felt really confident coming into today,” Sallen said. “I felt that my defense was going to help me get through the game. We have such a strong defense, it’d be okay if I let up a hit or two.”
Senior catcher Alexandria Pisciotta led off the game with a solo home run over the left field wall to give the team a 1-0 lead. The Seawolves were only up 3-2 entering the bottom of the fourth inning before Rivera’s double gave them the lead for good.
“We had a couple of good days of practice the last few days,” Bryant said. “Those practices helped us be productive today and gave us the result we wanted.”
Stony Brook continues its regular season at home with a doubleheader against Saint Peter’s at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday at University Field.
“We need to make the most of their opportunities the rest of the way,” Bryant said. “We are looking forward to going out there.”