The Central Connecticut softball team tied the program record for wins in a season with a sweep of Holy Cross on Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Devils (29-19) topped the Crusaders (9-36) by a score of 8-3 and 13-2. Freshman Kat Malcolm had six hits and six RBI on the day.
The Blue Devils' 29 victories tie the program record for wins that was set by the 2011 squad that went 29-22-1.
The Blue Devils earned an 8-3 victory over the Crusaders in game one behind seven innings from freshman Laura Messina.
Messina allowed three runs on four hits to earn her 21st victory. She tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts and did not allow a walk.
The Blue Devils scored a pair of runs in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead. Freshman Ashley Black, batting in the two spot in the order, reached on an error and sophomore Tessa Brown doubled to plate Central's first run. Brown scored the second run of the inning on a passed ball.
Holy Cross scored a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning.
Central responded with a six run inning that was highlighted by a two-run home run from sophomore Arielle Bruno.
Junior Stephaine Chotkevys started the frame with a single and Bruno followed with the home run. Black restarted the rally by tripling to right and Brown hit her second RBI double of the game to plate Central's fifth run. Malcolm doubled to score Brown and then came in to score on an error by the Crusader catcher. Singles by senior Sarah Vlahos and junior Macy Stefanski helped the Blue Devils score their final run of the game.
Malcolm and Brown both went three-for-four in the game. Stefanski also had a multi-hit game.
Bruno and Brown both had two runs batted in in the game.
The Blue Devils eight-run ruled Holy Cross in the second game of the doubleheader. Malcolm launched two home runs in the game including a grand slam in the six run fifth inning.
Malcolm got Central on the board with a one out, solo home run in the second inning. Freshman Alyssa McCoart followed with a single and Stefanski and Chotkevys each recorded RBI doubles to put the Blue Devils ahead, 3-2.
Both offenses went quiet until the top of the fifth when the Blue Devils scored six runs to break the game open.
Chotkevys started the inning with a double, sophomore Emily Pogemiller pinch-ran at second and came around to score on a single by Bruno. A walk and a fielder's choice loaded the bases for junior Nicole Springer who delivered an RBI single, but the bases remained loaded. Malcolm was the next batter and she came through with the grandslam, which officially broke the game open.
Junior Jordan Tingley pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning, setting Central up for another big frame.
The Blue Devils tacked on four runs in the sixth inning with the first two coming on a home run by Bruno, her second of the day. Black, Brown and Springer strung together three consecutive singles to score a run and McCoart ended the scoring with an RBI ground out.
With a 13-2 lead, Tingley worked a quick sixth inning to close out the victory.
Tingley improves to 5-3 on the season with the victory. She pitched six innings and allowed two runs on six hits. She struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Malcolm went three-for-four in game two with five RBI. She finished the day six-for-eight with two home runs and six RBI.
"It is nice that we were able to match our win total from last season, but obviously we fell short of our goal to reach the NEC Tournament," head coach Jeff Franquet said after the game. "Laura and Jordan did a great job in the circle and Kat put some great swings on the ball to spur some big innings."
Tingley and Messina combined to pitch 13 innings ans strikeout 18 without allowing a walk.
The Blue Devils will have a chance to reach 30 wins with a doubleheader at Bryant on Sunday. The game will be the regular season finale for both teams.