After dropping its last four games, the Stony Brook softball team bounced back in a big way with a doubleheader sweep.
On Thursday, the Seawolves (8-10, 0-3 CAA) faced off against the Sacred Heart Pioneers for a midweek doubleheader in Connecticut. Stony Brook completed a comeback to take game one 3-2 before dominating the second half of the doubleheader 5-0.
Starting pitcher Mia Haynes took the circle and was hit hard in the bottom of the first inning. Back-to-back singles to lead off the frame set the table for Sacred Heart designated player Alyssa Gonzalez. She ripped an RBI double down the left field line to bring home third baseman Jenna Mowad. Sacred Heart second baseman Grace Saad then added to her team’s lead with a sacrifice fly to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
Sacred Heart starting pitcher Sam Kowalski befuddled Stony Brook’s hitters for a majority of the contest, hurling five no-hit innings to start. It was not until the top of the sixth inning where the Seawolves turned the tide on Kowalski and the Pioneers.
While trying to ignite a comeback, third baseman Brooke Dye broke up the no-hitter with a bunt single. Stony Brook received some good fortune when left fielder Shauna Nuss laid down a bunt of her own, which was overthrown into right field by Mowad. Dye scored and Nuss was able to go all the way to third on the play to cut the deficit in half.
Immediately after, center fielder Alicia Orosco tied the game by sending an RBI double into the left-center field gap. Later in the inning, with two outs and two runners on, first baseman Ashley Jacobson came through by slicing an RBI single through the right side of the infield. Stony Brook took the lead and never looked back.
Haynes shut the door on Sacred Heart and pitched a complete game. She allowed just two earned runs on seven hits while striking out four hitters and walking one. After the first inning, Haynes settled down, tossing six scoreless innings to open the door for a comeback by Stony Brook.
Game two was a much more convincing victory for Stony Brook. Starting pitcher Ashton Melaas had her best outing of the year, leading Stony Brook to its second shutout victory of the season. She pitched the second complete game shutout of her career; the first of which was also against Sacred Heart last March.
Similar to game one, Stony Brook did not muster up any offense against Sacred Heart starting pitcher Liv Vadas, who pitched four scoreless innings to open the game. In the top of the fifth inning, Vadas was pulled from the game for relief pitcher Emily Heath, who struggled mightily.
Heath led off the top of the fifth by allowing a free pass to shortstop Kyra McFarland, who then stole second base. With McFarland now in scoring position, catcher Corinne Badger lined a single to center. Sacred Heart center fielder Victoria LoPinto overran the ball, allowing McFarland to score the game’s first run.
The top of the sixth inning began the exact same way for Heath, as she issued a leadoff walk to right fielder Catherine Anne Kupinski. Nuss then singled and McFarland walked once again to load the bases. Designated player Julianna Sanzone took advantage of the opportunity, ripping a two-RBI single into left field to make it 3-0 Stony Brook.
Sanzone’s two-run single chased Heath from the game in favor of relief pitcher Carly Koltko. In just 1 ⅔ innings, Heath allowed three hits, three walks and three earned runs.
Stony Brook firmly put the matchup to bed in the top of the seventh. For the third inning in a row, the Seawolves’ leadoff hitter found their way on base, as second baseman Naiah Ackerman singled to left. Kupinski followed with a bunt single, and then Nuss laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. Orosco put the game out of reach by slapping a single into left-center field to drive in both runners.
Head coach Megan Bryant commended her offense for delivering late in both games.
“We saw a lot of good things from our team today and came away with two solid wins,” Bryant said in a post-game interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “Our small ball game was key, and it was great to see hitters come through with timely hits with runners in scoring position.”
Orosco had a terrific day at the plate, going 3-for-7 with a double, three RBIs, two walks and a run scored.
Kupinski also had a good day with the bat. She went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in game two of the doubleheader. Coming into Thursday, she was just 1-for-22.
Melaas allowed only four hits and a walk while striking out five hitters during her seven innings of work. All in all, Stony Brook’s pitchers allowed just 11 hits, two walks and two runs in 14 innings pitched on Thursday.
“Mia and Ashton both gave us great efforts in the circle and we played good defense behind them,” Bryant said.
The Seawolves will look to capture their first-ever Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) victory this weekend in their home opener against the Hofstra Pride. The Battle of Long Island will commence with a doubleheader on Saturday, with the first pitches scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively. Hofstra is 5-13 this year after being swept by Boston College over the weekend.