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Stony Brook softball thumps Manhattan to extend winning streak to five games

Starting pitcher Gabrielle Maday (center) fires a pitch against Manhattan on Wednesday, March 20. Maday pitched a five-inning shutout to help the Stony Brook softball team sweep a doubleheader. MIKE ANDERSON/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook softball team was firing on all cylinders in its midweek matinee, as it extended its winning streak to five games with a doubleheader sweep.

The Seawolves (13-9, 3-3 CAA) returned to University Field on Wednesday for a midweek doubleheader against the Manhattan Jaspers (3-20). Stony Brook had its way with Manhattan in every aspect, as it picked up an 8-0 mercy-rule win in game one before taking the second half 7-0 in a rain-shortened contest.

After a quiet first inning, the Seawolves busted the game one wide open in the bottom of the second. To lead off, designated player Julianna Sanzone blasted starting pitcher Ava Metzger’s delivery over the center-field fence to make it 1-0. After a trio of walks loaded the bases with two outs, Metzger was pulled in favor of relief pitcher Karissa Spring, who immediately surrendered a two-run single to shortstop Kyra McFarland.

McFarland — who totaled three hits and two runs batted in (RBI) in game one — believes her more relaxed approach at the plate this season has helped her achieve a .366 batting average.

“I’m not trying to get too big in the moment,” McFarland said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “In the past, I’ve come up with runners on and I’ve tried to hit the ball deep, but that’s never been my job or skill set. I’ve tried to keep it more simple and get on base.”

During the ensuing at-bat, right fielder Alyssa Costello shot an opposite-field double into left-center field to bring in another run. Left fielder Catherine Anne Kupinski then walked to fill the bases yet again for Sanzone, who pulled a ground ball that deflected off the glove of third baseman Kaitlyn Flood to score McFarland.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Kupinski tripled into right field and later trotted home after Sanzone notched a single up the middle to make it 6-0. In Stony Brook’s next turn at-bat, Costello reached on an infield single to second baseman Bella Cahueque, whose throw to first base went awry, allowing McFarland to score from first base. Two batters later, second baseman Naiah Ackerman sent an RBI double into the right-center field gap to invoke the mercy rule after five innings and walk the game off.

Now in midseason, head coach Megan Bryant has seen her offense come into form.

“The more games you get, you hope the team gets better,” Bryant said. “We’ve got a lot of buy-in from our kids and we’re seeing the results.”

Along with the Seawolves’ potent offensive performance, starting pitcher Mia Haynes was dominant. She picked up a five-inning complete game shutout against the Jaspers to the tune of four hits, a walk and five strikeouts.

In the second half of the doubleheader, Stony Brook immediately jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the first inning when Kupinski banged an RBI single up the middle off Manhattan starting pitcher Sophia Kiseloski.

After hoping for big things coming into the campaign, Kupinski has worked hard to deliver. 

“I mentioned before the season that I wanted this to be my best offensive season yet, so I’m really buying into that piece,” Kupinski said. “I’ve been going into the individual work and taking practice very seriously. I think both of those two things have contributed to my success.”

After a scoreless second inning, the Seawolves doubled their lead in the bottom of the third. Catcher Emily Reinstein — who started game two as a designated player — flew out to right fielder Paige McLaughlin, whose throw to third base got past Flood and allowed center fielder Alicia Orosco to score.

WIth one gone in the home half of the fourth inning, catcher Corinne Badger demolished a no-doubt, two-run homer to left-center field to make it 4-0.

The Jaspers turned to relief pitcher Mollie Charest in the bottom of the fifth inning, where the game was put to bed. With one out, McFarland tripled into left field for her first extra-base hit of the year and Reinstein hit a sacrifice fly to bring her home. Immediately after, Kupinski singled and Sanzone was hit by a pitch, which allowed Ackerman to hammer an opposite-field, two-RBI double to make it 7-0.

Now just one run away from a second-straight mercy victory, the rain picked up and the game was called.

Starting pitcher Gabrielle Maday was nearly untouchable against the Jaspers. She hurled a two-hit shutout over five innings pitched while punching out five batters and walking two.

Bryant was thrilled with the performances that she saw from her two starters.

“To put up two shutouts is a good day,” Bryant said. “I thought it was a good game for Mia and I thought it was a really good game for Gabrielle. She was a great matchup against the Manhattan hitters.”

Offensively, Kupinski and McFarland thrived through the two games. Kupinski went 4-for-6 with a double, triple, two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. McFarland went 5-for-6 with a triple, two RBIs, four runs and a sacrifice bunt.

Ackerman and Sanzone had nice days as well. Ackerman went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, two runs and a walk. Sanzone also went 2-for-5, notching a homer, two RBIs, two runs and a hit-by-pitch. Orosco only went 1-for-4, but she walked three times and scored twice.

Costello only played in game one, but she went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run.

Stony Brook will be back at home this weekend to square off with the Delaware Blue Hens for a three-game series. The Blue Hens are 18-7 overall this season after beating the University of Pennsylvania 7-1 on Wednesday, and they are 5-1 in Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) play this year. First pitch of the series is set for 1 p.m. on Friday.

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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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