The Stony Brook softball team completed its regular season this weekend, taking two of three games over America East rival Maine Black Bears to cruise to third place in the standings.
“It was great to see our team respond after yesterday’s loss and play so well today,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said in a press release. “[Sophomore pitcher Melissa Rahrich] threw a solid game, the defense backed her up and we did what we needed to do offensively.”
Stony Brook’s offense sprung out quickly Saturday morning, scoring in the first inning for the fifth consecutive game. The Seawolves loaded the bases on back-to-back walks after senior left fielder Ileana Torres doubled to center field and advanced to third on a ground ball. Torres scored in the following at bat to give the team a 1-0 lead after Maine senior pitcher Molly Flowers hit freshman second baseman Nicole McCarvill with a pitch.
The Seawolves picked up where they left off after a quick inning of work by Rahrich. Senior shortstop Chelsea Evans reached base on a walk to begin the bottom of the second inning. Junior centerfielder Katelyn Corr ripped a hit down the left field line for a triple, driving in Evans and extending the Stony Brook lead to 2-0.
Neither team was able to bring home a run despite having runners reach base through the next three-and-a-half innings. Maine struggled defensively in the bottom of the sixth and allowed Stony Brook to load the bases off two infield errors and a walk. Rahrich took advantage of the rattled Black Bears freshman pitcher Kyleigh O’Donnell and crushed the ball over the left-centerfield wall for her first grand slam of the season to give the Seawolves a 6-0 lead.
Maine had an offensive resurgence in the top of the seventh and recorded two consecutive hits and took advantage of a Stony Brook error to load the bases. Junior shortstop Laurine German singled up the middle, driving home two runners and cutting the Seawolves’ lead to four runs. Junior third baseman Alyssa Derrick attempted to add more runs to the board, but she popped out to Evans for a 6-2 Seawolves victory in the rubber game.
Stony Brook got off to a good start in the second game Friday afternoon. Rahrich began the bottom of the first inning with a walk before advancing to third on a single to left-center by Corr. Rahrich scored later in the inning on a wild pitch by O’Donnell to give the Seawolves a 1-0 lead.
Maine responded in the top of the fifth inning after Stony Brook junior pitcher Lindsey Hughes allowed two runners to reach base. German capitalized on a Stony Brook pitching substitution and singled through the right side of the field to tie the game at 1-1. Senior right fielder Erika Leonard pounced on a pitch by sophomore pitcher Taylor Pechin with a two-run triple to right field after Pechin allowed the go-ahead run to score on a wild pitch, increasing the Maine lead to 4-1, the eventual final score.
Rahrich ignited the offense for the Seawolves with a double down the left field line in the bottom of the first inning on Friday to begin the series. Junior catcher Irene Rivera doubled to left field and drove in Rahrich after she advanced to third on a ground out by Corr to take a 1-0 lead.
The Seawolves’ lead-off batter reached base for the second straight inning when Torres took first on a Black Bears error. Evans singled up the middle later in the inning to bring home Torres and extend the lead to two runs. Derrick struggled defensively and committed another error in the bottom of the third, allowing Rivera to score and increasing the Stony Brook lead to 3-0.
Stony Brook continued to deliver in the bottom of the fourth, beginning with sophomore right fielder Jourdin Hering’s infield single. Rahrich advanced Hering to second before both advanced on a ground out by Corr to put two runners in scoring position. Rivera capitalized on the scoring opportunity and blasted a three-run home run over the right field wall to give the Seawolves a 6-0 lead.
Maine scored a run in the top of the sixth to decrease its deficit to five runs, but it was the closest the team would get to making a comeback. Stony Brook earned the run back in the bottom of the inning and went on to win the game, 7-1.
The Seawolves finished third in the America East standings with a 10-7 record and edged out the Black Bears by one game. The team will face the No. 6-seed UMBC Retrievers in the first round of the playoffs. Stony Brook took the last game between the two in extra innings Wednesday afternoon.
Stony Brook will begin its playoff run against UMBC on Wednesday, May 9 at 1:30 p.m. at the Bearcats Softball Complex in Ithaca, New York.