Freshman pitcher Melissa Rahrich got the starting nod for the Stony Brook softball team’s first game of a doubleheader as they took on America East rivals UMass Lowell on April 22. She finished her day pitching a complete game, giving up six hits, two runs to couple four strikeouts.
During the same game, Rahrich belted two home runs over the center field wall. She racked up four RBIs and her two home runs gave her a team-high eight home runs for the season. She also ranks second on the team with 27 RBIs.
All in all, this is all in a day’s work for the freshman.
“Being a pitcher helps me when I hit because I know some of the spins they can throw,” Rahrich said. “Being a hitter, it helps me know other batters’ tendencies when I’m pitching. I know how they stand in the box or where to place the pitch.”
Rahrich has been dominant at the mound and at the plate as well in her first year as a Seawolf. She leads the team with eight wins and 71 strikeouts, and her 3.63 ERA is good for second among Stony Brook pitchers. At the plate, her batting average is a team-best .346 and she leads the team with a .635 slugging percentage. She is second behind freshman outfielder Jourdin Hering with 36 hits on the team.
Stony Brook Softball head coach Megan Bryant knew Rahrich recognized her talent when she recruited her, but Bryant is still surprised at the outcome.
“Mel is just a good all-around player,” Bryant said. “In addition to what she can do at that mound and what she can produce at the plate, she’s also a really good first baseman. She’s just a good all-around athlete.”
The pitcher is also listed as a first baseman, the position she plays on days she is not on the mound. But it is a position Rahrich has played in the past.
“When I was young, I pitched a lot,” the freshman said. “I used to pitch so much. But then, in middle school, I was more of a shortstop or a third baseman. I didn’t pitch all that much back then. But once I hit high school, I was back to pitching every game. As the years went on, I went to switch in and out of pitching and other positions.”
Rahrich was a very strong high school softball player, and the stats are there to back her up. She provided Brighton High School in Brighton, Colorado with a .737 batting average, seven home runs and 41 RBIs just at the plate during her senior year. She also pitched her way to a 19-4 record, a 1.30 ERA and recorded 154 strikeouts on the mound.
With no signs of slowing down, Bryant believes that the limit to her potential is through the roof.
“She’s getting real good experience as a freshman,” Bryant said. “You always like to see good players develop throughout each year. So I think she has tremendous upside.”
Rahrich is a dominant force to be reckoned with. Whether it is her pitching, hitting or fielding, she just enjoys the game. But she does have a favorite position of the three.
“I really enjoy pitching,” she said. “I like pitching because you have more control over how the game goes and I think that you make more of an impact pitching rather than first base. But whether I’m pitching or playing first base, I love to be playing. I’m on the field, that’s all I can really ask for.”