Coming in unbeaten in conference play, the Stony Brook softball team looked to continue its streak this past weekend as the Seawolves traveled north to Orono, Maine to take on the Maine Black Bears in a three-game series. While Stony Brook took its first conference loss, the team still won the series due to dominant pitching.
Game one on Saturday was a battle of the aces, as the Seawolves’ best pitcher, senior Dawn Bodrug, would go face-to-face with Black Bears’ star pitcher, senior Kyleigh O’Donnell. The pitching lived up to its hype, as the bats were quiet until late.
O’Donnell and Bodrug both turned in strong starts, as O’Donnell retired her first 12 batters while Bodrug struck out seven through the first four innings. Bodrug exceeded 100 strikeouts in conference play during the third inning, striking out nine overall in the game. The Black Bears threatened with runners in scoring position in both the second and fourth innings, but Bodrug stranded those runners with some clutch two-out pitching.
In the top of the fifth, the Seawolves finally broke through off O’Donnell, playing small-ball to get the scoring started. Senior shortstop Nicole McCarvill poked a single over the third baseman’s head to lead off. Then, junior designated hitter Lindsey Osmer laid down a sacrifice bunt to move McCarvill to second, who then aggressively took third on the play, too. With a runner on third and one out, graduate catcher Jordyn Nowakowski hit a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in the game’s first run. Bodrug would then pitch a perfect bottom of the fifth, striking out a pair.
The Seawolves picked up some insurance runs for their ace in the sixth with a two-out rally. Graduate center fielder Jourdin Hering reached on an error by the second baseman and then stole second. With a runner in scoring position, freshman second baseman Kyra McFarland drove her in with a clutch RBI double. Graduate first baseman Melissa Rahrich would single home McFarland to make it 3-0 Seawolves.
Bodrug slammed the door in the bottom of the seventh. The four-hit shutout improved her to 11-4 on the season, lowering her ERA to 1.37.
The second game started at 2:20 p.m., with Rahrich in the circle for Stony Brook, opposed by Maine’s sophomore right-hander Caitlyn Fallon. The Black Bears got off to a quick start, as junior shortstop Kelby Drews singled home junior center fielder Kya Enos in the bottom of the first.
Maine made a pitching change early, entering senior reliever Lilly Volk to start the third. Fallon pitched two scoreless innings for the Black Bears, leaving the mound with their 1-0 lead still intact.
Volk would toss a pair of scoreless innings before finally breaking in the top of the fifth. After an error in center field, a single by Hering and a walk to Rahrich, the Seawolves loaded the bases with two outs. McCarvill would capitalize on the opportunity, cashing in a two-run single up the middle to put Stony Brook on the board and give them the lead.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Black Bears would tie the game at two apiece. Junior catcher Keely Clark led off with a double to right center, and then Pearson reached on an error by McFarland at second base to let the tying run score.
Stony Brook threatened to score in the top of the seventh. The Seawolves got the first two runners aboard to lead off the inning with an error and a fielder’s choice. Maine made another pitching change, entering O’Donnell, its game one starter to get them out of the jam. She would do just that, as McFarland bunted into an unorthodox 5-6-8 double play to lessen the threat. O’Donnell stranded the runners and preserved the 2-2 tie, heading into the home half of the seventh.
Rahrich allowed a single to Clark, her second hit of the game. The Black Bears pinch-ran junior outfielder Brianna Neely for Clark. Neely promptly stole second base and the throw by Nowakowski went into center field. Neely advanced on the error and rounded third, sprinting home and scoring the walk-off run. Rahrich took the complete game loss, falling to 8-4 as a pitcher on the season. By splitting Saturday’s doubleheader, Stony Brook suffered its first loss in conference play this season, falling to 6-1 in-conference and 20-9 overall.
Game three on Sunday featured the same pitching matchup as game one but saw a blowout instead as the Seawolves got to O’Donnell early and often. Stony Brook scored three runs before Bodrug even took the mound and added another in the second when McFarland drove in freshman outfielder Julianna Sanzone with an RBI groundout.
Bodrug protected her run support through the first three innings, but her biggest moment came in the bottom of the fourth. Maine loaded the bases with nobody out, but Bodrug pulled off a Houdini act, striking out the next three hitters to escape the inning unscathed.
Then came the long ball. McCarvill extended the lead to 5-0 with an opposite field solo shot to right center for her third homer of the season. Nowakowski followed the next inning, crushing her team-leading fifth home run of the year to lead off. Hering knocked O’Donnell out of the game with an RBI double, with Maine’s pitcher giving up seven runs (six earned) in five and two-thirds innings.
Bodrug dominated the Black Bears, pitching her second complete game shutout of the weekend and striking out 13 as the Seawolves won 7-0. With the win, Stony Brook took two out of three from Maine, improving to 21-9 on the season and 7-1 in conference play. Bodrug improved to 12-4, lowering her ERA to 1.28. Overall, she tossed 14 scoreless innings, only allowing 10 hits and four walks while striking out 22 batters in the series.
Stony Brook is set to host the UMass Lowell River Hawks for a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 28. They will look to continue the run they are on, as UMass Lowell is only 9-10 on the year, but 5-3 in conference play.