The Central Connecticut baseball team fell to Bryant, 3-1, in a winner's bracket game on Friday in the Northeast Conference Championship at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT. CCSU scored a run in the top of the first on the top-seeded Bulldogs, but was held scoreless over the final eight frames and left 10 runners on base in the setback. The Blue Devils fall to 27-21 overall on the year.
Central plays Wagner in an elimination contest at 12:00 p.m. Saturday. The winner will advance to play Bryant in the championship round at 4:00 p.m.
Central had its first three batters reach base to lead off the game. Junior Chandler Debrosse doubled down the left field line to lead off and sophomore Sam Loda followed with a walk. Sophomore TT Bowens hit a double into centerfield to plate Debrosse and make it 1-0. The Blue Devils would draw a walk to load the bases with two outs, but Tyler Mattison would get his third strikeout of the inning to avoid further damage.
Junior Brandon Fox would keep Bryant off the scoreboard and extended CCSU's shutout streak at the NEC Tournament to 16.0 innings before giving up three runs in the third inning. Ryan Ward doubled with one out and following a walk, Jimmy Titus lofted a ball down the right field line that dropped in for a single. A miscue on the throw to second base allowed Ward to come around and tie the game, 1-1. Chris Wright followed with a single to drive in a run and James Ciliento would hit a sacrifice fly to bring home a run to make it 3-1.
Central would put runners on first and second with no outs in the fourth, but came away empty-handed. After a fielder's choice at third base, Mattison recorded a strikeout. Loda would come to bat with two outs and send a sinking liner to left field, but Ward made a diving catch to end the scoring threat and the inning.
Fox would keep the Bryant bats at bay, but CCSU was unable to get to Mattison. Sophomore Jake Siracusa would lead off the sixth with a single. He moved to third with one out after a wild pitch and a passed ball, but Mattison worked out of the threat ending the inning with a popup and a strikeout. The Blue Devils were hindered by leaving eight runners on base through the first six frames.
Bryant closer Chris Wright tossed three innings to get the save. He allowed three walks, but did not allow a hit and earned the save.
After surrendering the CCSU run in the first inning, Mattison pitched five shutout innings and earned the win. He picked up the win after tossing 6.0 innings and recording nine strikeouts, while walking two and scattering five hits.
Fox pitched 8.0 innings, but was saddled with the loss. He was charged with three runs on seven hits and walked two, while striking out three.
Bowens went 2-for-3 for Central. Debrosse, junior Dave Matthews and Siracusa each added a hit as CCSU was held to five hits as a team.
Central plays Wagner in an elimination contest at 12:00 p.m. Saturday.