First baseman Ashley Jacobson trots home to score a run against Monmouth on Saturday, May 6. Jacobson had a hit and an RBI in the Stony Brook softball team’s playoff win over Charleston. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

In its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) postseason game, the seventh-seeded Stony Brook softball team took advantage of some crucial mistakes to advance to the next round.

The Seawolves (26-25, 10-13 CAA) traveled to the other side of town on Tuesday to take on the sixth-seeded Charleston Cougars in the opening round of the 2023 CAA softball tournament. In a back-and-forth affair, Stony Brook came out on top over Charleston, 5-3. The team will now face third-seeded Hofstra — the tournament hosts — on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

Charleston drew first blood immediately. With one out in the bottom of the first inning and two runners on base, starting pitcher Mia Haynes allowed an RBI single to Charleston first baseman Shealyn Starks to make it 1-0 Cougars.

In the top of the third inning, the Seawolves took their first lead of the day. Following a leadoff single and a passed ball by Charleston catcher Malaka Belser, left fielder Alyssa Costello knotted the game up with an RBI double off of Charleston starting pitcher Caroline Conner. With runners now on second and third base, first baseman Ashley Jacobson put Stony Brook in front with a sacrifice fly.

Advertisement

In the bottom of the third inning, Charleston set itself up with back-to-back singles and a groundout, putting two runners in scoring position with just one out. Starks capitalized on the opportunity and singled both runners in to make it 3-2 Charleston.

To start the top of the fifth inning, Charleston relief pitcher Payton Lemire took the circle. Like she did throughout the regular season, Lemire struggled with her command, and her defense failed to support her.

A leadoff infield single, an error and two wild pitches from Lemire gave Stony Brook a prime opportunity with two runners in scoring position. After getting a big strikeout of catcher Corinne Badger, Lemire got shortstop Naiah Ackerman to roll a ground ball over to third base. However, Charleston third baseman Karlee Hughes airmailed her throw over Starks’ head. Costello and Jacobson came in to score and put Stony Brook on top 4-3.

In the top of the seventh inning, Stony Brook tacked on a much-needed insurance run. With runners on the corners and two outs, Lemire sent yet another wild pitch to the backstop, allowing pinch runner Hailey Guerrero to score. The Seawolves took their two-run lead into the bottom of the seventh inning and never looked back.

Advertisement

Though she got off to a rocky start, Haynes delivered a solid outing to help propel Stony Brook to victory. She allowed three runs on eight hits across seven innings, striking out six batters and walking only two.

After the game, head coach Megan Bryant commended Haynes for her efforts on Tuesday.

“Mia was outstanding,” Bryant said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “I think [she was] maybe a little jitterish early on, as all of us [were]. She settled in nicely. She had great command. She was making adjustments, and she really pitched a heck of a game.”

Similar to the regular season, Costello fueled Stony Brook’s offense. After earning a spot on the 2023 All-CAA First Team, Costello went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base. Jacobson had a good day at the plate as well, going 1-for-3 with an RBI on the sacrifice fly and a run scored.

Though Ackerman did not earn any RBIs due to Hughes’ throwing error, she had a successful day at the dish. The 2023 CAA All-Rookie Team selection went 2-for-4 on the day along with the go-ahead reach on error.

Advertisement

Third baseman Brooke Dye swung the bat well, going 2-for-3 with a walk. Badger went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts but was productive, as she drew two walks and scored a run.

Bryant credited Stony Brook’s win to its stout defense.

“Really great ballgame,” Bryant said. “We had to fight hard from the opening pitch, but I thought we did a great job putting all three parts of our game together, and I thought our team defense was the difference in this game.”

By eliminating Charleston, the Seawolves have escaped the single-elimination portion of the tournament and will now be playing in a double-elimination format. They will be back in action at Bill Edwards Stadium to take on Hofstra for a postseason edition of the Battle of Long Island. The Pride went 24-24 in the regular season, but went 16-7 in conference play. When the two teams faced off back in March, Hofstra swept Stony Brook in three games.

If the Seawolves win, they will go on to face top-seeded Delaware on Thursday at noon. If they lose, they will play the loser of the Elon-Towson game on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. That potential game would be win or go home for both teams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.