After capturing its first two Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) wins over the weekend, the Stony Brook softball team extended its winning streak to three games with a victory over a nonconference opponent.
The Seawolves (11-14, 2-6 CAA) returned home to University Field on Wednesday for a midweek matchup with the Seton Hall Pirates. Led by the white-hot bat of right fielder Catherine Anne Kupinski and a solid effort from its pitching staff, Stony Brook convincingly defeated the Pirates 4-1.
Seton Hall drew first blood in the top of the third inning. Seton Hall designated player Kelsey Carr ripped a double to center field off of starting pitcher Ashton Melaas, setting up an RBI groundout by catcher Hannah Alexander to make it 1-0.
The Pirates’ lead did not last long, as Stony Brook answered immediately. Center fielder Alicia Orosco dragged a bunt to lead off the bottom of the third inning, putting the tying run on base for the Seawolves. With two outs and Orosco on second, Kupinski torched an opposite-field double off of Seton Hall’s starting pitcher Shelby Smith to tie the game 1-1.
Stony Brook’s offense padded its lead in each of the next two innings. Left fielder Alyssa Costello led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single and advanced to second off a sacrifice bunt by catcher Emily Reinstein. Shortstop Naiah Ackerman then singled Costello home to make it 2-1.
Ackerman’s RBI marked her third-straight game driving in a run, giving her five RBIs in her last three starts. Head coach Megan Bryant praised the freshman following the contest.
“Naiah had a nice game here today,” Bryant said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “She is a ballplayer. It is a little bit of a challenge to be a freshman shortstop at this level, but I think she is doing an admirable job.”
In the bottom of the fifth, the Seawolves got their leadoff hitter on base yet again when designated player Corinne Badger singled down the third-base line. With a chance to add some much-needed insurance runs, Kupinski delivered. She hammered a two-run home run over the left field fence to put the game away.
The win marked Stony Brook’s first at University Field this season after starting 0-4 at home. Ackerman emphasized the importance of confidence and home-field advantage following the win.
“I thought we went out with a bang,” Ackerman said. “We brought energy, we wanted to win on our home field and we brought the swag.”
Kupinski had a big day, going 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and three RBIs. After starting the season just 1-for-22, Kupinski is 10-for-26 since then, with four home runs, one double and seven RBIs. Her slugging percentage is up to .563 for the year.
Kupinski attributed her success to being more selective at the plate and aggressive early in the count.
“I am just staying composed in the box and not swinging too wide,” Kupinski said. “I have a tendency to get big once I get late in the count, so I am just making sure that I am attacking early at my own pitches and good things will happen.”
Melaas and relief pitchers Amanda Flynn and Mia Haynes combined to limit the Pirates to just one run on four hits. The trio walked only one hitter while striking out a pair over seven innings. Haynes earned her first save of the season while Melaas picked up her third win, improving to 3-6 on the year.
The Seawolves will look to continue their winning ways this weekend when they welcome the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) Seahawks for a three-game series. Game one is scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m. and the weekend matchups will begin at 3 p.m and 1p.m. The Seahawks are 12-17 overall and 6-3 against CAA opponents this year.