The Stony Brook University softball team gather into a huddle. The Seawolves are set to take on the Hartford Hawks in the first round of the America East Playoffs. ARACELY JIMENEZ/STATESMAN FILE

Stony Brook Softball qualified for the America East Tournament for the fifth straight season, slotting in at the No. 3 seed in the double elimination tournament. The team will take on the Hartford Hawks in the first round on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m..

The Seawolves defeated the Hawks all three times they played this season, outscoring Hartford by a combined 29-6 this season. 

“We’ve gone into the America East tournament as a number one seed and not won it, but we’ve also gone in as a three or four and won the championship,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said.  

Five of the team’s nine primary position players are freshmen or sophomores. They began the season with a 1-14 overall record before finishing America East play with a 9-7 record.  The late season push included a doubleheader sweep of No. 1 seeded Binghamton in early May.

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The Seawolves likely Game One starter will be freshman Melissa Rahrich, who was recently awarded First-Team All-Conference honors. Rahrich put together a freshman campaign that places her in the upper echelon of pitchers in the conference. The freshman from Colorado leads the conference with 137.1 innings, 86 strikeouts and 11 wins. Her 3.52 ERA is also fifth in the conference.

The freshman can also swing the bat, as she leads the team with eight home runs, 31 RBI and a .344 batting average.

As a team, the Seawolves have four players in the top 20 in batting average in the America East. Rahrich, sophomore catcher Irene Rivera, sophomore right fielder Katelyn Corr and freshman left fielder Jourdin Hering are all hitting well over .300. Rivera was named to Second-Team All-Conference while both Rahrich and Hering were announced as part of the All-Rookie Team.

Stony Brook was eliminated in the conference semifinals last year by Albany, the eventual runner-up.

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The tournament will be held at Binghamton Sports Complex in Binghamton, with Stony Brook’s first game beginning at 2:00 p.m.. In a double elimination tournament subsequent matchups are determined in a losers and winners bracket.

The winner of Stony Brook VS. Hartford would then play the No.1 seed, Binghamton, who has a first round bye. A bye is awarded to the two highest seeds in the tournament. The loser will play an elimination game right after the conclusion of the first game against the loser of Albany and University of Maryland Baltimore County’s first round game.

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