A career-high 13 strikeouts from pitcher Shelbi Denman carried Stony Brook softball to a season sweep against its Long Island rivals.
An hour delay did not affect the Seawolves at all, as Stony Brook (28-13) beat the Hofstra Pride 4-2 on Thursday, April 28 to sweep the season series. The offense struck early and often, helping pave the way for Denman’s gem. It may have been a sign of things to come for the softball team, as the two schools will be conference rivals come next season in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The scoring started with a three-spot in the first when right fielder Alyssa Costello blooped a two-run single to right field and then advanced to second on the throw. After tagging up and advancing to third on a popout to the shortstop, Costello scored on a groundout from first baseman Lindsey Osmer.
Denman took the three-run lead and ran with it, going the first three innings without a hit. However, Hofstra took advantage of a defensive mistake and found the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning. After a fly ball fell between shortstop Kyra McFarland and center fielder Alicia Orosco, Hofstra had two runners aboard for catcher Olivia Malinowski. Malinowski dropped a single down the right field line — just out of the reach of a diving Costello — and Hofstra cut the lead to 3-1.
Hofstra scratched across another run in the fifth and threatened to tie the game in the sixth. However, Denman induced a groundout to shortstop and preserved her lead.
Second baseman Sofia Chambers drove in an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, grounding an RBI single off the glove of the third baseman to score Osmer. Stony Brook led 4-2 heading to the top of the seventh, where Denman finished strong.
Denman worked around a two-out double and struck out three in the inning to secure the Seawolves’ win. Denman’s three strikeouts in the seventh gave her that new career high, and also improved her individual record to 9-6 on the year.
“I think we went into today knowing we were going to go outside on them because when we played them before, Dawn [Bodrug] had success on the outside corner. We just kept pumping outside and it was working for us,” Denman said in an interview with The Statesman. “Later in the game, we started mixing in some offspeeds and some changeups just to mix up their timing.”
Denman pitched in and out of trouble, leaving eight runners on base throughout the game. She did the same in her last start; a complete-game shutout against Hartford.
“I thought the great thing was that Shelbi pitched tough throughout. She got out of some jams and really threw a great game,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said.
The Seawolves’ next competition will be their most important series of the season, as the second-place Albany Great Danes will come to town for a three-game series. It will start with a doubleheader Saturday, game one starting at 1 p.m. The Seawolves are only one game ahead of Albany in the loss column, and will have a chance to extend their conference lead with a series victory.
But for Bryant and her team, they just have to do their jobs.
“It’s always a battle with Albany, and it sounds cliche, but we have to take it one game, one inning and one play at a time,” she said.