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Stony Brook softball sweeps two doubleheaders to ascend over .500

The Stony Brook softball team gathers in a circle during a Jan. 24 practice. The Seawolves won all four of their games this past weekend. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

It was a bad weekend to be named George, as the Stony Brook softball team swept two different teams with the same first name to have its best weekend of the new season.

The Seawolves (8-6) took on the George Mason Patriots (6-9) in Virginia for a doubleheader on Saturday before playing another twinbill up in Washington, D.C. against the George Washington Revolutionaries (6-9) on Sunday. Stony Brook escaped with a 4-3 win over George Mason in the series opener before taking the nightcap 5-3. On Sunday, the team blanked George Washington 5-0 in game one and closed out its weekend with a 5-3 victory.

In game one on Saturday, the Patriots broke through in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs and a runner on third base, George Mason catcher Logan Pickford stepped to the plate and drove a single into left-center field to bring in the game’s first run.

Though they mustered up just two baserunners through the first three innings, the Seawolves’ offense came up big in the top of the fourth. Right fielder Alyssa Costello led off the inning by lining a triple into the left-center field gap. Immediately after, left fielder Catherine Anne Kupinski grounded a single through the left side to tie the game.

Designated player Julianna Sanzone bunted Kupinski over to second base with one out before second baseman Naiah Ackerman dumped a single into right-center field to score her.

In the top of the sixth inning, Stony Brook added a pair of insurance runs. With one out, Kupinski singled and Sanzone walked before catcher Emily Reinstein advanced both runners with a groundout. With two away, Ackerman laced a two-run single up the middle to make it 4-1.

Despite their three-run lead, the Seawolves’ defense allowed the Patriots to claw their way back into the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. To lead things off, George Mason designated player Maddy Myers reached first base on a throwing error by shortstop Kyra McFarland and left fielder Sydney Bales singled to left to drive in the run. 

After the run batted in (RBI), Pickford reached on a costly error by center fielder Alicia Orosco that allowed Bales to score and make it a one-run ballgame.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Patriots almost pieced together a rally. After getting two quick outs, starting pitcher Gabrielle Maday surrendered back-to-back singles. Head coach Megan Bryant went to the pen and brought in starting pitcher Ashton Melaas to get the final out, but she made things interesting by issuing a single to right fielder Elyssa DeRosa. However, Melaas settled down and struck out Bales swinging to lock down the save.

Through 6 ⅔ innings of work, Maday allowed three runs (one earned) on eight hits and a walk while also striking out four batters en route to the win.

In the second half of the doubleheader, Stony Brook had some luck on its side, as it put up five unearned runs in the top of the first inning.

George Mason starting pitcher Kylie Wilkerson walked Orosco to lead off the game and Costello slapped an infield single to shortstop to board two runners with only one out. The Patriots shot themselves in the foot when shortstop Rachel Warrens booted a ground ball from Kupinski, allowing Orosco to score and Costello to move to third base.

Sanzone grounded out to short during the ensuing at-bat to score Costello and move Kupinski up to second base. After Wilkerson threw a wild pitch that advanced Kupinski to third, Reinstein knocked an RBI single into right field to make it 3-0.

Ackerman followed with a double to put herself and Reinstein in scoring position, setting up another big defensive blunder. Third baseman Brooke Dye sent a ground ball to her counterpart — George Mason third baseman Kamryn Inman — and she botched the throw to bring in both runners.

In the bottom of the first inning, starting pitcher Mia Haynes allowed the Patriots to get one back with an RBI single from second baseman Marlaina Bozek. However, Haynes settled down and held them scoreless over the next five innings.

Like the series opener, things got interesting in the bottom of the seventh inning. George Mason designated player Emily Lampela notched a leadoff single and catcher Zoe Vozick shot a double down the left-field line to bring her home. Inman followed with a triple deep into left-center field to cut the Seawolves’ lead to 5-3.

Following the triple, Melaas was brought in for the save and she delivered once more, inducing a pop out before getting a big strikeout to end it.

Despite her late-inning struggles, Haynes delivered arguably her best start of the young season with three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. She struck out nine batters across 6 ⅓ innings.

Melaas was terrific as the closer on Saturday, earning a save in both matchups. She combined to pitch an inning and racked up two strikeouts while allowing just one hit.

Bryant was thrilled with her pitchers’ performances.

“We competed well and put together two good wins,” Bryant said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “Our pitchers led the way and were so effective and efficient. Ashton was terrific closing both games.”

After falling to 4-9 by being swept, the Patriots bounced back on Sunday by sweeping maday’s former team: Cornell. All the while, the Seawolves traveled up to the nation’s capital on Sunday, where Melaas took the bump for her first start of the weekend and found herself in a pitchers duel with George Washington starting pitcher Cece Smith.

The two right-handers traded scoreless frames through the first five innings before Smith finally faltered in the top of the sixth.

With one out, McFarland laid down a bunt single to start the rally. During the next at-bat, Costello hit a potential inning-ending double play ball at second baseman Alena Ramirez, but she bobbled it and got nothing. After Kupinski singled to load the bases, Sanzone crushed a grand slam over the left-center field fence to put Stony Brook ahead 4-0.

Two batters later, Ackerman continued her big weekend by driving a solo homer that also went over the left-center field wall, promptly chasing Smith from the game.

The Revolutionaries had no answer for Melaas, as she worked out of jams in the bottom of both the sixth and seventh innings to earn the shutout. Across seven scoreless frames, Melaas allowed nine hits and a walk. Despite striking out just one batter, her defense performed well behind her, highlighted by a double play in the second and a pair of diving catches by Costello and Kupinski.

In the second half of the doubleheader, the Seawolves jumped out to an early lead. With George Washington starting pitcher Sophia Torreso in the circle, Kupinski lined a single into right-center field to lead off the top of the second inning. With one out, Reinstein blooped a single into left to put runners at the corners. After Reinstein stole second base, Ackerman worked a walk and ball four got away from catcher Allison Heffley, allowing Kupinski to score on the wild pitch.

With runners at the corners once again, first baseman Chloe Montalvo earned her first collegiate hit and RBIs, as she doubled home a pair into the right-center field gap to make it 3-0.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Revolutionaries inched a bit closer. With one out, Maday plunked George Washington left fielder Ashley Corpuz, who then advanced to second on a groundout. With two away, Maday issued a bloop single to first baseman Abby Schaub, who poked it just beyond the reach of a diving McFarland for an RBI single to make it 3-1.

Stony Brook tacked on some insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, second baseman Sofia Chambers pulled a double down the left-field line and McFarland earned a free pass. After designated player Emma Scheitinger bunted both runners into scoring position for Costello, who smacked a two-out, two-RBI double into left-center field to double the lead to four runs.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Revolutionaries began to cut into the Seawolves’ four-run lead. George Washington third baseman Maggie Greco tripled off Maday to lead off the inning and Ramirez brought her home with a groundout. During the next at-bat, Corpuz lifted a double over Costello’s head in center field, prompting Bryant to bring in Haynes from the bullpen.

Upon entering the game, Haynes was greeted rudely, as George Washington center fielder Paige Hayward sliced a single down the right-field line to set up a first-and-third situation. Schaub then dumped an RBI single into right-center field to make it 5-3. However, Haynes escaped further trouble with a pop out and a groundout.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Haynes worked around a two-out double to ensure that Stony Brook’s undefeated weekend stayed intact.

Bryant thought all three of the team’s facets came together during the sweep.

“Two tough ball games today and we earned both wins,” Bryant said. “Our pitchers once again did a great job attacking hitters and limiting free bases. We played solid defensively and we continue to get better offensively.”

Despite not being as sharp as she was on Saturday, Maday captured her second win of the weekend. The southpaw tossed 5 ⅓ innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits and a hit-by-pitch while also striking out four batters. Through her two starts, Maday racked up eight strikeouts and allowed six runs (four earned) on 14 hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch across 12 innings pitched.

Haynes was effective on Sunday, allowing three hits over 1 ⅔ innings pitched to pick up her first save of the campaign. Across her two appearances, she allowed three earned runs, 10 hits and a walk, while also accumulating nine punch outs over eight innings of work.

Though Haynes and Maday were both good, Melaas was the Seawolves’ best pitcher throughout the weekend, as she earned a win and two saves. She hurled eight scoreless frames to the tune of 10 hits and a walk while also punching out three hitters.

At the plate, Ackerman and Sanzone were Stony Brook’s main run producers. Ackerman went 4-for-11 with a double, home run, five RBIs, three runs scored and two walks. Despite delivering just one hit in nine at-bats, Sanzone’s lone hit was a grand slam and she drove in five runs, scored a pair herself and walked three times.

Per usual, Costello, McFarland and Kupinski were honed in at the dish. Costello went 7-for-17 with a double, triple, two RBIs, three runs scored and a walk. McFarland went 6-for-13 with two runs scored, two walks and two steals, while Kupinski went 5-for-13 with two RBIs, five runs and a walk.

Chambers and Montalvo also performed well. Chambers went 5-for-13 with a double, while Montalvo went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in her only start of the weekend.

Next weekend, the Seawolves will return home to University Field for the first time this year, where they will take on the Campbell Camels for their first conference series of the year. The Camels are 8-12 this year and will play Fordham on Wednesday before their matchup with Stony Brook. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and the series will wrap up on Sunday at noon.

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About the Contributor
Anthony DiCocco
Anthony DiCocco, Assistant Sports Editor
Anthony DiCocco is an Assistant Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a sophomore majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports derives from years of playing dek hockey and watching his favorite teams, the New York Islanders, New York Mets and New York Jets. He is the beat reporter for Stony Brook’s hockey and softball teams. He has also covered football, baseball, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper the Devil’s Tale at Plainedge High School. He is a local product from North Massapequa, N.Y.
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