The Central Connecticut baseball team fell to LIU Brooklyn, 8-6, on Friday afternoon at LIU Field. The Blackbirds rallied from a 6-1 deficit in the opening two innings to snap CCSU's 10-game Northeast Conference winning streak. Sophomore Sam Loda had a three-hit day for Central.
The loss drops CCSU to 25-20 overall and 15-8 in the NEC. LIU Brooklyn is 20-32 overall and 10-13 in conference play.
Central Connecticut and LIU Brooklyn wrap up the series on Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch, which will also close out the regular season for both teams.
The Blue Devils built an early lead with a five-run first inning. CCSU had its first three batters reach base to open the game and junior Dave Matthews deposited a grand slam to center field to make it 4-0. With one out, sophomore Jake Siracusa hit a solo homerun to increase the Central lead to 5-0.
LIU got a run back in the bottom of the inning. A walk and single put runners on first and second with one out and Greg Vaughn singled through the middle to drive in a run and make it 5-1.
Sophomore Matt Bertochi led off the second inning with a double before scoring on a single by sophomore Sam Loda to make it 6-1. The Blackbirds would make a pitching change following Loda's single and would only allow just six hits, while keeping Central scoreless over the final 7.2 innings.
The Blackbirds took advantage of an error to push across three runs in the second inning. Joe Mercadante and Rob Griswold had back-to-back run-scoring hits, before an RBI-groundout pushed across another to make it 6-4.
The Blue Devils put runners on second and third with one out in the fifth inning, but Alec Huertas ended the threat with back-to-back strikeouts. LIU took advantage by scoring a pair of runs on a two-out single by Andrew Smith to tie the game 6-6 in the bottom of the inning.
The Blackbirds took the lead in the sixth inning. After a single, Luin Monegro doubled to left field and after a misplay, Colin Adams scored on the error to make it 7-6.
LIU tacked on an unearned run in the seventh inning. With two outs, Smith scored on a single by Adams to make it 8-6 before Edward Modica was thrown out at third.
Mike Kreiger came on in the eighth for LIU with runners on first and third. After a walk to load the bases he got an inning-ending strikeout. He recorded a perfect ninth inning to close out the game and earn the save.
Central collected 12 hits as a team and had at least one hit from each of its starters. Loda finished 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Siracusa added two hits with a run and RBI, while Matthews drove in four runs.
Junior Brandon Fox started for CCSU and went 5.0 innings. He allowed five earned runs, while walking one and striking out five. Junior Michael Delease (2-3) was saddled with the loss, allowing an unearned run in .2 innings of work.
Huertas (4-4) earned the win for LIU, tossing 5.2 shutout innings. He allowed five hits, while walking one and striking out eight. The Blackbirds had 13 hits as a team and four players collect at least two hits.