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. The graduate center fielder had two of the Seawolves’ three hits against James Madison over the weekend. SARA RUBERG/STATESMAN FILE

Playing four games in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Stony Brook softball team was swept in a doubleheader by the James Madison Dukes on Friday, March 12 before sweeping the Rhode Island Rams on Saturday, March 13. By going .500 on the weekend, the Seawolves’ record moved to 7-3.

Despite solid pitching performances in all four games, including a 16-strikeout outing by senior Dawn Bodrug, the Seawolves lived and died with their bats. They scored two runs total against James Madison compared to 18 against Rhode Island.

Bodrug took the mound in the early game at James Madison, and though she gave up only two earned runs in the 4-1 defeat, she lost her first game of the season.

Graduate center fielder Jourdin Hering had two of the Seawolves’ three hits, including a game-opening single off JMU pitcher Alissa Humphrey. A fielding error and a walk loaded the bases before graduate catcher Jordyn Nowakowski drew another walk that brought Hering home.

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James Madison broke the game open in the bottom of the third, when Bodrug gave up a home run to left fielder Kate Gordon. With only one out on the board, Bodrug failed to escape the inning, although a costly fielding error that allowed two batters to advance did not help matters. Right fielder Logan Newton’s 2-RBI single put James Madison up 3-1.

Gordon’s second solo home run in the bottom of the fifth added insurance.

Stony Brook stranded eight batters during the game, continuously popping up to the outfield in key situations.

The Seawolves took the field again just minutes later for an even more lopsided loss, dropping a second game against James Madison 7-1 and looking completely outmatched for the first time this season. They recorded just three hits and continued to strand the batters that did reach base while graduate pitcher Melissa Rahrich gave up seven hits.

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Stony Brook’s lone run, an RBI groundout by sophomore right fielder Shauna Nuss in the top of the third, was only possible because of two fielding errors that allowed graduate left fielder Alina Lance to reach third base. That set a theme for the entire game, with the Seawolves struggling to reach base without JMU errors.

The Dukes had no such issues, taking a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning. There, everything that could go wrong for Stony Brook did: wild pitches, throwing errors, line drives and deep hits. Six James Madison batters reached base even after Rahrich was pulled for junior pitcher Shelbi Denman. They scored five runs before the Seawolves had time to regroup.

The loss capped a three-game losing streak for Stony Brook.

The Seawolves returned to their winning ways on Saturday with a 7-3 win over struggling Rhode Island, scoring all their runs in the first two innings. Bodrug nearly threw a perfect game, striking out 16 batters over a full seven innings before faltering late.

To her delight, her team’s bats finally woke up to help her out. A four-run first inning, capped by Lance’s 2-RBI single, set a tone for the entire doubleheader. Nowakowski added an RBI single of her own, and McCarvill drew a walk to send Hering in for another score.

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Nuss continued the run with a 2-RBI double in the second, set up by Hering’s steal of second. Nuss reached home immediately after off of Rahrich’s groundout to shortstop.

Down 7-0, Rhode Island elected to keep pitcher Liz Lynchard in the game. She managed to keep the Seawolves scoreless for the rest of the game, but with Bodrug on the mound, a comeback was nearly impossible.

Bodrug struck out the first six batters and 11 of the first 15, her most dominant stretch of the season so far. Her finish was less impressive, letting up an RBI double in the sixth and a two-run homer by left fielder Alex Pleasic in the seventh.

The late game was an 11-6 slugfest, the highest Stony Brook run total of the season so far. The team scored eight runs in the final two innings, powered by McCarvill’s 3-RBI day.

Hering opened the scoring with a 2-RBI single in the top of the fourth inning, extending her hitting streak to nine games. Freshman second baseman Kyra McFarland added her first career RBI in the fifth to put the Seawolves up 3-0.

McCarvill’s RBI sac fly in the sixth inning kicked off a scoring sequence that ended with graduate first baseman Riley Craig’s first home run of the season, a two-run shot that put the Seawolves up by six.

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Rahrich, efficient on the mound for four innings, allowed four runs in the bottom of the sixth that cut Rhode Island’s deficit to two.

She redeemed herself with a 2-RBI double in the seventh inning, which McCarvill followed with a two-run homer. Hering also reached base with a triple, reminding fans how dangerous Stony Brook’s fifth-year stars can be with a bit of momentum behind them.

Bodrug entered in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a run after two wild pitches but easily earning the save.

With conference play still two weeks away, the Seawolves will look to keep tallying up wins in Massachusetts against the Boston University Terriers on Saturday, March 20 and the Boston College Golden Eagles on Sunday, March 21.

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