Senior outfielder Jourdin Hering runs to first base after hitting the ball during the Stony Brook Softball Team’s game against UMass Lowell on April 28, 2019. During the top of the third inning of the team’s game against the Akron Zips on Friday, Hering knocked a double past first base. SARA RUBERG/STATESMAN FILE

Just five days after returning to Long Island from the Sunshine State, Stony Brook Softball went back to Jacksonville on Feb. 28. Like last weekend, the Seawolves will play five games over three days, all part of the Jacksonville University/University of North Florida Spring Break Challenge

Stony Brook won the first two games, moving to 7-0 and lasting as the final unbeaten team in the country before falling to North Florida in a perfect game to take their first loss of the season.

The Seawolves started the tournament by beating the Akron Zips 4-1. Things started quietly, with both teams holding each other scoreless for the first two innings. At the top of the third, however, the Seawolves started their attack. 

Senior outfielder Jourdin Hering knocked a double past first base, then a pair of walks loaded the bases. With two outs and the bases still loaded, freshman catcher Corinne Badger picked the perfect time for her first career hit. She struck a two-run single to right field and gave Stony Brook a 2-0 lead. 

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The Seawolves didn’t stop scoring, as they kept up the pressure in the next inning with the help of some hustle. Sophomore Taylor Juenke walked with one out but did not stop there. She stole second and then advanced to third in the same at-bat, setting the table for Hering to cash in a run with an RBI single to left field, increasing the lead to 3-0.

Things stayed quiet until the sixth inning when both teams scored a run. At the top of the inning, freshman outfielder Shauna Nuss walked to lead off, with Hering singling right after. The two runners pulled off a double steal, making sure they got into scoring position. 

Junior infielder Nicole McCarvill hit a sacrifice fly, allowing Nuss to score and make it 4-1. Hering went 3-4 as she approaches the all-time record for singles in the program’s history. She has been on a tear to start the season, and she leads the team in batting average.

Sophomore pitcher Shelbi Denman started for Stony Brook and she was dominant, pitching a complete game and only giving up one run on a solo home run by junior infielder Sydney Jascoe at the bottom of the sixth inning. Akron sophomore starter Lexie Petrof only went three innings but was charged with three of Stony Brook’s four runs. She took the loss, falling to 2-4. 

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On Saturday, Feb. 29, the Seawolves played a doubleheader featuring a rematch against Akron and an afternoon game with North Florida. Early on, the Seawolves stayed perfect. Senior pitcher/first baseman Melissa Rahrich earned her second win of the season as Stony Brook beat Akron in their second consecutive game 5-1. 

A pair of runs in the first and sixth innings put the Seawolves up 5-0 with Rahrich only allowing three hits by the start of the seventh inning. Hering came up big again with just as many hits as Akron’s entire team, adding an RBI and two runs scored.

“It was good to beat Akron back to back,” head coach Megan Bryant said in a press release. “Mel threw a real solid game and the top of our order came up big.”

The perfect record would quickly end at the hands of North Florida later in the afternoon, in an ironic fashion. The Ospreys needed a perfect game from sophomore pitcher Morgan Clausen to pull out the victory against another strong pitching performance from Stony Brook junior pitcher Dawn Bodrug, who threw a perfect game herself on Feb. 23. The defensive battle saw the game stretch to nine innings until a North Florida bunt was just enough to drive a runner home and end it. 

“UNF is the best team we have played so far, but we sure didn’t help ourselves at all offensively,” Bryant said. “Pitching and our defense kept us in it but we didn’t make the adjustments we needed to.”

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