The Central Connecticut baseball team advanced to the championship round of the Northeast Conference tournament with a 10-4 win on Saturday at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT. Freshman TT Bowens sparked the Blue Devils offense with a pair of home runs to help erase an early four-run deficit.
The victory moved CCSU to 35-20 on the season, while SHU slipped to 22-35 overall. The championship game is scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. first pitch.
The Blue Devils advance to Sunday's championship game for the first time since 2010 and the seventh time in program history. Central will be looking for its fifth conference title.
Sacred Heart built a four-run lead in the bottom of the first. PJ Defilippo drew a bases loaded walk to force in the first run and Anthony Capozziello followed with a two-run single. The Pioneers added a run on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
Bowens would get the Blue Devils offense going to lead off the second. His homerun to right-center to open the scoring. CCSU would load the bases with one out and a ground ball allowed senior Franklin Jennings to score and make it 4-2. A bases-loaded walk to junior Ryan Costello brought home another run before junior Mitch Guilmette hit a deep sac fly to bring in junior Dean Lockery from third. Senior Tyler Coleman hustled on the play to come around from second to score and make it 5-4.
Bowens struck again for CCSU to lead off the third. He sent an 0-1 pitch over the fence in centerfield to make it 6-4. Jennings followed with a single and would eventually score on a single by Lockery to make it 7-4.
Central loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth inning. Costello would double to left field to score two runs and push the CCSU lead to 9-4.
Dewaine led off the sixth inning with a walk for Central and moved to second on a wild pitch before stealing third base. Jennings would bring him home on a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 10-4.
After the first inning, sophmore Mike Appel settled in and only scattered four SHU hits over the next five innings. The Pioneers would load the bases with two outs in the sixth, but Appel would get the strikeout to end the threat. He finished with 6.0 innings of work and allowed four runs, two earned on nine hits, while striking out four to earn the win.
Central pounded out 13 hits as a team. Bowens and Lockery finished with three hits apiece. Costello drove in three runs, while Bowens and Guilmette had two RBIs each.
John Sostarich started for Sacred Heart and was charged with three runs in 2.0 innings of work. Jackson Aldam tossed 2.2 innings in relief and was charged with the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits.
CCSU advances to the championship game on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. against the winner of the late game on Saturday night. The Blue Devils will need to win just one game on Sunday to claim the championship. An "if necessary" game will be played if Central falls in the first game.