The Central Connecticut softball team split its doubleheader against the Hartford Hawks Wednesday, dropping the first game 6-4 but taking the second by a score of 6-2, at the CCSU Softball Field in New Britain, CT. The Blue Devils are now 8-5 on the season.
"We struggled a bit on defense in the first game," Coach Jeff Franquet said. "But in the second we had only one error and it was great that we were able to come off with the win."
Sophomore Laura Messina started in the circle for Central in the first game of the doubleheader. She pitched the full seven innings for the Blue Devils, posting four strikeouts and allowing seven hits. With the loss, her record falls to 4-3.
The Hawks (4-9) kicked off scoring in the top of the first inning with a pair of singles that eventually crossed the plate to put Hartford up 2-0 at the end of the half inning.
Sophomore Kat Malcolm answered in the bottom of the inning with a center-field bomb, her fourth of the season, to score one for the Blue Devils and end the inning 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, Central loaded the bases with one out on the board. Pinch hitting freshman Gianna Sandstrom drew a walk that plated senior pinch runner Sarah Emery to even the score 2-2. Junior Arielle Bruno reached first on a fielder's choice, bringing senior Kelsey Barlow home to give the Blue Devils the lead 3-2.
The Hawks regained the lead, however, in the top of the fifth on four Blue Devil fielding errors following a pair of Hartford singles. CCSU exited the half inning on a Bruno put-out at first, 6-3 Hartford.
In the bottom of the sixth, sophomore Ashley Black singled to third base and eventually scored to narrow the Hawks' lead to 6-4 for the final score.
Senior Nicole Springer pitched the second game for the Blue Devils. In seven innings, she allowed only four hits, walked five batters and earned two strikeouts. Springer gave up one run each in the first two innings and held the Hawks scoreless throughout the final five. Her season record improves to 3-0 with the win.
Once again, the Hawks were the first to put runs on the board in the top of the first inning. A single to left field drove in a walked batter to put Hartford up by one.
It was Hartford who struck again in the top of the second with a double to right field landing a runner in scoring position. A single up the middle drove her in to put Central down 2-0.
A homer over the center-field wall in the bottom of the fourth by senior Stephanie Chotkevys reduced the Hawks' lead to 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Malcolm smacked a single to center field followed by a Springer double to left-center. A sacrifice bunt by freshman Alicia Keough plated Malcolm to tie the game 2-2.
Central sealed the win in the bottom of the sixth inning, an inning that began with a single to center field by reining NEC Rookie of the Week Evie Rentzel. The Blue Devils loaded the bases and a double down the left field line by freshman Brittany Ernst drove in Rentzel as well as freshman Eileen Purcell who reached base on a bunt, and Chotkevys who had walked. Ernst earned three RBI on the play and put CCSU up 5-2.
It was a Malcolm double that scored Ernst to reach the final score of 6-2. In her past four games, Malcolm, this week's NEC Co-Player of the Week, has gone 11 for 14 at the plate including two homeruns.
The Blue Devils return to action this weekend, March 16-17, at the Hofstra Tournament in Hempstead, NY. Central will face off against the Pride and the University of Connecticut in two doubleheaders.