Stony Brook Softball won big at LIU Brooklyn on Wednesday, but dropped two out of three games in this weekend’s home series at University Field against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The Seawolves now have an overall record of 7-18.
Wednesday afternoon: Stony Brook 9, LIU Brooklyn 1
In a scene all too familiar this season, freshman pitcher Melissa Rahrich dominated both on the mound and at the plate.
Rahrich began her day by cracking a two-run home run into left field in the first inning, putting the Seawolves up 2-0. She did not get her next hit until the fourth inning, but the result was similar – she put runs on the board.
The freshman hit a single up the middle to bring in another run and added two more RBIs to her total with a single in the fifth. Rahrich ended the day going three-for-four with five RBIs.
On the mound, she was on fire, pitching four innings of one-run ball to earn her third victory of the year.
Freshman infielder Riley Craig and freshman catcher Jordyn Nowakowski got in on the mix in the first inning, as Craig hit her own two-run home run and Nowakowski reached on a fielder’s choice. Soon after, errors from LIU Brooklyn led to another Stony Brook run.
After two innings, the Seawolves led 5-1. They ended up scoring four more runs in the fourth and fifth innings combined to mercy the Blackbirds 9-1.
Game 1: Stony Brook 3, UMBC 0
The Seawolves roared their signature “she’s a freshman” chant after Rahrich hit a home run that cleared the right-center field fence by several feet, cementing the lead at three.
“It’s a very good feeling,” Rahrich said. “Sometimes I can’t do my job on the mound, so I can pick myself up hitting or vice versa. I know I’m helping my team win.”
Rahrich went the distance in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against UMBC, pitching the full seven innings without surrendering a run.
When she was not shutting out the Retrievers on the mound, she was padding her team’s lead with her power at the plate.
Rahrich entered the game leading the team with five home runs this season and was batting third in the lineup. She hit her sixth home run of the year in the bottom of the sixth inning, her third in four games.
The Seawolves flashed the leather quite well in the top of the third inning when ground balls to the infield were relayed to home plate in time to stop two consecutive UMBC baserunners from scoring.
It was a case of “making the right play in a tough situation,” head coach Megan Bryant said about the infield play. “We played great defensively behind Melissa in the first game.”
Game 2: UMBC 4, Stony Brook 0
Stony Brook dropped the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader 4-0, failing to score a run in spite of their eight hits, double the number of hits that UMBC notched.
The game was scoreless in the top of the fourth when a disputed call allowed UMBC’s senior third baseman Kaelin Jackson to score from third base. With senior right fielder Kelly Lane breaking for second base, Stony Brook sophomore catcher Irene Rivera’s throw was completed, while the baserunner was several feet from the bag. However, the play did not go as planned for the Seawolves.
“[The umpire] said interference,” Bryant said. The call allowed Lane to take second base and Jackson was able to score from third to give UMBC a 1-0 lead. From there it was hard for Seawolves’ junior starting pitcher Maddy Neales to find a groove; she was often forced into deep counts.
Lane was a thorn in the side of Stony Brook all afternoon, driving in two of the Retrievers’ four runs.
The game got out of hand in the top of the sixth, when Neales surrendered a leadoff walk and the inning snowballed from there. UMBC scored three runs in that inning, which was capped off by a two-run single from Lane that put the game at 4-0.
But Stony Brook remained competitive until the final out. Bryant took a gamble, with one out and a runner on first, tasking consecutive batters with what she considered to be “the hardest thing to do in softball:” a pinch-hit in the final inning of a close game after sitting on the bench. Nowakowski and freshman first baseman Taylor Pechin passed their coach’s challenge, both hitting singles to load the bases.
“We didn’t start hitting until it was too late,” Bryant said and UMBC refused to allow a run in the game, losing by a final score of 4-0.
Game 3: UMBC 5, Stony Brook 3
The top of the sixth inning on Sunday had all of right hander Rahrich’s starts wiped away by two home run swings that drove in a combined five runs. All the runs in the game were scored via the home run, but the Seawolves could not match the Retriever’s firepower, dropping the contest 5-3.
For much of the afternoon, Rahrich and UMBC’s junior right handed pitcher Kim Puccio traded scoreless innings until the bottom of the fifth. Stony Brook senior infielder Lexie Shue drove a home run to left field that just grazed the scoreboard, breaking up the pitchers’ duel.
But in the top of the sixth, the Retrievers’ first two hitters reached base on a single and a walk respectively.
The following batter, UMBC’s junior first baseman Toni Santonastasso, brought the baserunners home with a three-run home run. Just two batters later, the Retrievers’ Jackson hit another home run that established a 5-2 lead and ended the freshman’s afternoon on the hill.
“We gotta give her [Melissa] better run support,” coach Bryant said. “The games changed a lot, you can’t sit on two runs expecting her to hold it is pretty tough. She threw a good game up until that inning unraveled on her.”
Stony Brook’s next outing will be a doubleheader on Thursday at Hartford. The first game starts at 2 p.m..