Melissa Rahrich pitches during a game against UMass Lowell on April 28, 2019. The graduate pitcher increased her ERA to 5.16 after a game against Boston University on March 20. SARA RUBERG/STATESMAN FILE

Stony Brook Softball went 2-2 in a weekend trip to Massachusetts on March 20 and 21, dropping both games of a Saturday doubleheader to the Boston University Terriers and sweeping the Boston College Eagles the next day. The team’s fortunes revolved around their pitching, as they rode stellar Sunday performances from senior Dawn Bodrug and graduate student Melissa Rahrich.

“We got off to a slow start [against the Terriers], didn’t really play well in BU,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said in an interview with The Statesman. “But we were able to regroup and play some really good softball in two key wins [against the Eagles.]”

The Seawolves (9-5) faced undefeated pitcher Ali DuBois in their first game against Boston University, who shut down their boom-or-bust offense and handed them a 6-3 loss. 

Graduate catcher Jordyn Nowakowski opened the scoring in the top of the fourth. However, three straight Boston runs — kickstarted by left fielder Jen Horita’s 2-RBI single and ending with a wild pitch by Rahrich — put the Terriers up 4-1 heading into the fifth. 

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The Seawolves chipped away at the deficit for the next few innings, but DuBois killed any momentum they might have built. A fifth inning RBI triple by freshman second baseman Kyra McFarland and a sixth inning RBI from graduate left fielder Alina Lance were both followed by ground outs in the top of the order.

“You’re only gonna improve so much in practice,” Bryant said. “We just need to see pitchers, and I think consistently seeing good pitchers [will help us].”

Rahrich, normally a frightening presence on the mound, once again struggled to escape dangerous situations. Her ERA increased to 5.16 after she allowed five runs in as many innings. She struck out two batters, giving her five strikeouts in her last three outings. 

Stony Brook was shut out 3-0 in the second game, doomed by a messy first inning and continuing to struggle against above-average pitchers.

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Bodrug was sloppy out of the gate, giving up a leadoff triple to third baseman Caitlin Coker and allowing her to reach home on a wild pitch. Designated player Emily Gant drove in another run soon after, bunting into a potential double play but reaching first base instead after graduate third baseman Riley Craig’s off-target throw. With runners on first and third, another error allowed Gant to score on a fielder’s choice.

Bodrug was excellent afterwards, giving up only one hit in six scoreless innings. But Boston pitcher Allison Boaz matched her every step of the way, allowing four hits and never more than one in an inning.

Boaz faltered briefly in the seventh, after freshman infielder Lindsey Osmer’s double fired up an exhausted Stony Brook dugout. Craig and Nowakowski then drew walks to load the bases, but freshman outfielder Julianna Sanzone and graduate right fielder Jourdin Hering both struck out to end the game.

The Seawolves rebounded on Sunday, getting enough help from their bats to ride Bodrug’s 12 strikeout day to a 4-1 victory over Boston College. 

“Dawn had a good game today too, which was nice to see her bounce back after yesterday,” Bryant said. “We’ve got a good pitching staff. In this game, tough pitching is where it all starts, and I’m really pleased to see our progress in the circle this weekend.”

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Bodrug gave up a towering home run in the second, which sailed over the scoreboard and put the Eagles up 1-0. Not one to lose confidence, she struck out the side in the third inning and allowed only five more hits the rest of the way.

Craig, entering the game with a .063 batting average, found her stride with an RBI bunt in the fourth inning that tied the score 1-1. Osmer scored soon after on a wild pitch, reaching her fingertips out to beat catcher Gianna Boccagno. Nowakowski’s 2-RBI single in the seventh padded the lead.

In the second game, Rahrich bounced back with one of the best pitching performances of her career, allowing three hits in her first shutout since March 2019. Though UMBC pitcher CC Cook fanned 11 batters, a personal best, a few flashes of offense by the Seawolves were enough to earn a 3-0 win. 

“It was Mel’s best game of the year so far,” Bryant said. “I thought she was sharp, she was attacking hitters, she had good stuff and did a good job at getting ahead and using her defense.”

Rahrich put Saturday’s pitching issues behind her immediately, fielding a ball off her leg and spinning around to throw the leadoff batter out at first. From there, she drew soft contact throughout the game and benefitted from an error-free day from Stony Brook’s defense.

Hering’s seventh inning home run highlighted the scoring effort, which also included RBI singles from Nowakowski and senior shortstop Nicole McCarvill. Nowakowski finished the weekend 3-for-7 with four RBIs.

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However, the Seawolves’ eleven hits should have led to a higher final score. They stranded ten batters, and at least one in six different innings. Bryant, however, is pleased with what she saw from her offense.

“We’re getting in there and we’re battling and working a little harder and getting those at bats,” she said. “And I think we’re just gonna see improvement heading forward.”

Stony Brook plays its first home game of the year this Wednesday, March 24 against Fairleigh Dickinson, and opens conference play next weekend against Binghamton.

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