For the fourth straight game, Central Connecticut got a strong effort out of its starting pitcher to force a game seven at the Northeast Conference Championship with a 3-1 win over top-seeded Bryant on Saturday at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT. Senior Mike Appel allowed one run over six innings before turning the ball over to senior Jared Gallagher for a three inning save. Sophomore TT Bowens hit a two-run homerun to provide the difference in the game and give Central its second win of the day.
CCSU improves to 29-21 with the win at the double-elimination tournament. Bryant falls to 40-19 overall. The teams will meet for the decisive game of the championship at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The Bulldogs strung together three straight singles to open the scoring in the second inning. James Ciliento hit a one-out single to open the string of three straight hits. Gaby Cruz would follow two batters later with a single to left field to drive in a run and make it 1-0.
The Blue Devils leveled the score in the bottom of the inning. Junior Dave Matthews led off with a double deep to the gap in right-center and classmate Buddy Dewaine followed with an infield single. On the play, the throw to first went into the bleachers and Matthews was allowed to come around and score to make it 1-1.
CCSU took the lead with a two-run homerun in the bottom of the third. Sophomore Sam Loda laced a two-out single to right-centerfield. Bowens promptly sent a blast over the left field fence to put the Blue Devils ahead 3-1.
Appel scattered five hits from the third to sixth innings, but after allowing a leadoff walk in the seventh, senior Jared Gallagher came on in relief and got a double-play and pop up to end the inning. Appel's day finished after 6.0 innings and one run allowed. He scattered eight hits, while striking out six and walking two.
Gallagher would record the final nine outs, allowing just a hit and walk, while posting two strikeouts. A groundout to junior Buddy Dewaine ended the game to force a decisive game to decide the championship.
With the win, Appel improves to 6-0 on the season, while Gallagher collected his ninth save of the campaign.
The Blue Devils had seven hits as a team with Dewaine going 3-for-4. Bowens drove in two runs and went 1-for-3.
The teams will meet for the decisive game of the championship at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday.