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Stony Brook softball secures second-straight run-rule victory

First baseman Ashley Jacobson loads her swing as a pitch comes in against Hofstra on Saturday, March 18. Jacobson hit her third home run in the last two games against Iona on Tuesday. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

Powered by three home runs, the Stony Brook softball team picked up right where it left off with a mercy-rule win.

The Seawolves (17-22, 3-11 CAA) were a well-oiled machine on Tuesday, as they trounced the Iona Gaels 9-1 to beat them in five innings. Starting pitcher Ashton Melaas went the distance while right fielder Alyssa Costello, first baseman Ashley Jacobson and shortstop Hailey Guerrero all homered in the win.

Despite its struggles in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Stony Brook is now 14-11 in nonconference play.

Just two batters into the game, Iona drew first blood when designated player Jamie Sheeran took Melaas deep for a solo shot in the top of the first inning.

Costello returned the favor in the bottom half of the inning with a home run of her own, tying the game at one apiece.

After working out of trouble in the top of the second inning, Melaas found herself in a jam again in the top of the third. With runners on first and second and two outs, Iona catcher Brooke Acker stepped to the plate with a chance to take the lead. She smacked a hard-hit grounder up the middle for what looked to be an RBI single, only to be stopped on a diving play by Guerrero, who flipped it to second to get the force out.

Head coach Megan Bryant had high praise for Guerrero after the game and the spark that she has provided.

“She’s making the most out of the opportunity to play,” Bryant said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “She has stepped up and is really poised and is coming through both offensively and defensively.”

With two on and two out in the bottom of the third inning, catcher Corinne Badger smacked an RBI double off the left-center field wall to give the Seawolves a 2-1 lead.

Later in the inning, Iona shortstop Alivia Lichtner mishandled a ground ball off the bat of designated player Catherine Anne Kupinski, allowing center fielder Alicia Orosco and Badger to score on a ball that never left the infield.

Orosco extended the Seawolves’ lead to 5-1 with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth inning, bringing home Guerrero after she led off the inning with a single. The Gaels were presented with a chance to make it a one-run game in the top of the fifth inning, but Melaas struck out Acker looking to strand two runners on base.

Stony Brook put the finishing touches on its run-rule victory with four consecutive hits to open the bottom of the fifth inning. Kupinski kicked off the spree with a double. Jacobson followed Kupinski with a laser beam two-run homer to dead center field. A single by second baseman Sofia Chambers set the stage for Guerrero, who crushed her first-career home run on a 2-0 pitch to left-center field to win the game for the Seawolves.

Building off her four hit day on Sunday, Guerrero was exceptional on Tuesday. She went 2-for-3 with the walk-off homer, collecting a pair of runs and RBIs.

Guerrero was happy after hitting her first longball, but all that mattered was that she helped the team win.

“It feels really great,” Guerrero said. “I am just really excited and so happy that I can help my team in any way that I could today. That was my main goal — just like Sunday — to just get on base any way that I can. And if it was a home run, then that’s the way I had to do it.”

Jacobson also went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBIs and a run scored. She has been red hot as of late, hitting safely in seven of her last eight games. Over that stretch, she is 9-for-26 with a double, a triple, three home runs, eight RBIs and four runs. Jacobson credits her approach at the plate for her recent success.

For me, it’s continuing to have good at-bats,” Jacobson said. “I’m doing whatever I can to help out my team because we have been struggling a little bit offensively this season.”

Costello posted a solid performance as well, going 2-for-3 with a homer, an RBI and a run scored.

Melaas picked up her seventh win of the season, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings of work. She struck out four and issued three walks, stranding seven runners on base during her outing.

Bryant was proud of the way Melaas pitched despite not having her best stuff.

“I don’t think Ashton really felt in sync today but she worked around that,” Bryant said. “She came up with some big strikeouts and was tough in situations when she needed to be.”

The Seawolves will return to conference play this weekend to host the Hampton Pirates for a three-game series. The series will open with a doubleheader on Saturday with the games scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m. The Pirates are 12-23 overall and 2-12 in CAA play after falling to Hofstra 11-1 on Sunday.

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