A big day from the bottom of the order helped the Stony Brook softball team pick up another nonconference win.
The Seawolves (20-23, 5-12 CAA) wrapped up their eight-game homestand at University Field in style by defeating the Fordham Rams 4-3 on Wednesday. Stony Brook’s offense was bottled up for the most part, but a couple of clutch at-bats were enough to carry the team to victory.
In the bottom of the first inning, Stony Brook put runners on the corners with a one-out double from right fielder Alyssa Costello and a single from designated player Catherine Anne Kupinski. Kupinski stole second base and Fordham catcher Sydney Wells sailed her throw into center field, allowing Costello to score.
Following the unearned run, Fordham starting pitcher Holly Beeman settled down. She pitched out of jams in the first and second innings, stranding four total runners to keep the Rams within a run.
In the top of the third inning, starting pitcher Ashton Melaas gave up a pair of hits to set Fordham’s table. With runners on the corners, Fordham right fielder Bailey Enoch bounced a comebacker off Melaas’ glove and reached on an infield single to tie the game at one apiece.
After left fielder Julianna Sanzone led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single, third baseman Brooke Dye smoked a two-run homer to left-center field to put Stony Brook back in the driver’s seat.
After failing to lay down a bunt earlier in the at-bat, Dye was glad that she still came through for her team.
“I was actually supposed to bunt in that at-bat,” Dye said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “Then I had two strikes, so I was just trying to hit the ball hard and help the team.”
The Rams immediately responded in the top of the fifth inning. Enoch got the best of Melaas again, demolishing a two-run home run over the center field wall to even things up at 3-3.
The bottom of the order came up clutch again in the bottom of the sixth inning, as it helped manufacture the game’s winning run. Sanzone got things going with a leadoff single and then advanced into scoring position on an error by Fordham third baseman Julia Martine. A sacrifice bunt from second baseman Sofia Chambers moved the go-ahead run to third base with only one out, setting the stage for center fielder Alicia Orosco.
Orosco lifted one to center field, and it was deep enough for pinch runner Shauna Nuss to tag up and score the tie-breaking run.
Orosco credited her fundamentally sound approach for her coming through in the clutch.
“It’s easy to get big and just pop out,” Orosco said. “But I was just trying to stay small and do anything productive that I could.”
In the top of the seventh inning, an error by shortstop Hailey Guerrero and a sacrifice bunt by Fordham shortstop Kate McGuire put the tying run in scoring position. Despite this, relief pitcher Mia Haynes pitched out of trouble and retired the next two hitters with ease to secure the win.
Hitting in the bottom third of Stony Brook’s lineup, Sanzone, Dye and Chambers played a huge role in the win. As a group, the three scored two runs while tallying four of the team’s six hits. Sanzone went 2-for-2 with a run scored and a walk. Dye and Chambers each went 1-for-2 and laid down a successful sacrifice bunt. Dye finished the day with two RBIs and a run scored, all of which came on the home run.
After the game, head coach Megan Bryant acknowledged the contributions that the bottom of the order made.
“We had a home run today which was fun,” Bryant said. “We saw some good bunts and good baserunning and I think that was really key.”
Costello went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored, extending her hitting streak to 11 games.
In the circle, Melaas earned a no-decision on the day after allowing three runs on six hits in five innings of work. She struck out two and issued only one walk.
In relief of Melaas, Haynes picked up a win in her third consecutive appearance. She is now 12-6 on the year and has the second most wins in the conference. After winning her second CAA Pitcher of the Week award of the year for her performance last week, she pitched two hitless innings while striking out two and walking only one.
Stony Brook has now won five out of its last six games and is 15-11 in nonconference games. Bryant feels the team has finally found its stride.
“There’s ebbing and flowing every season,” Bryant said. “We’re hitting a little bit of a stride now at the most important time of the year.”
Currently sitting in ninth place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), the Seawolves will look to make up ground in the playoff hunt this weekend. They will travel down to Maryland to face the Towson Tigers in a three-game series. The series will open with a doubleheader on Saturday with the games scheduled for noon and 2 p.m. The Tigers are 24-20 overall and 13-8 in CAA play after losing two out of three games to Delaware over the weekend.