Stony Brook softball entered the America East Tournament as the No. 3 seed, needing just one win to advance. Sophomore catcher Irene Rivera launched a walk-off three-run home run over the left field fence in the seventh inning to defeat UMBC, preserving Stony Brook Softball’s season. The win eliminated UMBC and will extend Stony Brook’s season for at least one more day.
However, the team would have never been in the position to play against UMBC if they had not lost the first game against a lower-seeded Hartford team earlier in the day. The Hawks defeated Stony Brook 2-1, forcing the Seawolves to play a second game in order to advance.
Freshman starting pitcher Melissa Rahrich took the ball in game one and threw a complete game, surrendering two runs and striking out six Hawks. But her team struggled to manufacture run support.
Rahrich traded zeros with Hartford freshman starting pitcher Isabella Gerone. Gerone dominated throughout the game, refusing to allow a runner to reach third base until the bottom of the seventh inning.
Hartford junior designated player Bianca Ross was a thorn in the Seawolves’ side. Ross had a hit in each of her three plate appearances and her lone RBI would prove to be the game winner. The RBI came on a home run in the top of the seventh, extending the Hawks’ lead to 2-0.
Stony Brook pieced a rally together, but it just wouldn’t be enough. Freshman third baseman Allyssa Malony drove in the lone Seawolf run, a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh. It was the one run Stony Brook scored before the rally fizzled out, leaving the tying run stranded on third base.
Rahrich kept the team within striking distance, throwing a complete game and surrendering two runs while striking out six batters. The freshman also reached base three separate times as a hitter in an attempt to will her team to victory.
The staff ace looked to redeem herself in the second game, starting against UMBC 40 minutes after the loss to the Hawks. It is the first time this season she has started two games in one day.
But this time the freshman wouldn’t give the other team a chance.
In an elimination game, Stony Brook’s two most reliable players during the regular season, Rivera and Rahrich, ensured the season would not end. Rahrich threw a complete game shutout, clearing the path for her team to win the game.
However, her offense was failing to provide run support for the second game in the row. Rivera’s three-run home run was Stony Brook’s only run support in the 3-0 win.
The catcher’s soaring walk-off three-run home run was never questioned once it left the bat. UMBC junior left fielder Haley DeLany stopped running before she even reached the warning track. DeLany could only watch as the ball, and her season, went over the wall.
The Seawolves two, three and four hitters had productive games. Sophomore right fielder Katelyn Corr, Rahrich and Rivera all had multi-hit games and scored the game’s only runs.
UMBC had just four hits in the game and stranded seven runners on base.
Stony Brook will return to action tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Binghamton. The team will need to await the results of the two earlier games taking place tomorrow afternoon before they know who they are playing in the elimination game.