The Central Connecticut softball team earned its fifth and sixth straight wins on Wednesday afternoon topping Holy Cross by a score of 2-0 in the first game of the doubleheader and 8-0 in five innings in the second. Sophomore Laura Messina pitched her 11th career shutout, breaking the CCSU record. Senior Nicole Springer also notched a shutout, her first at Central. The Blue Devils improve to 14-9 with the win.
"Both Laura and Nicole did a great job on the mound for us today," Head Coach Jeff Franquet said. "Kelsey placed the ball really well down the left field line to bring in those two runs in the first game and we also performed well at the plate in the second game. Today's wins are great to have under our belt, but we are concentrated on our next conference match-up this Friday against Bryant."
Messina pitched all seven innings against the Crusaders (6-12). She posted 13 strikeouts, tying her game high. Her season record improves to 9-5.
Both teams remained scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when senior Kelsey Barlow, who broke the CCSU home run record last week, hit a single down the left line to drive in both Blue Devil runs.
Central kicked off the inning with a walk by junior Arielle Bruno followed by a single from sophomore Kat Malcolm. Junior Tessa Brown loaded the bases with a single shot to left center just before the Barlow rip that put the Blue Devils on top 2-0.
CCSU held the lead throughout the duration of the game. The Blue Devils posted eight hits in the shutout including two from Bruno, Malcolm and Brown and one by Barlow and freshman Evie Rentzel.
Springer earned her first shutout as a Blue Devil in the 8-0 win against the Crusaders. She faced 17 batters in five innings, struck out eight and allowed only three hits. She improves to 4-2 on the season.
Central got out to a two-run lead in the bottom of the third starting with a Springer rip through the right side that sent senior pinch-runner Sarah Emery across the plate. Freshman Brittany Ernst replaced Springer on base and, after stealing second, was driven in by a Brown double to right field.
The Blue Devils broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth tallying five runs to get out to a 7-0 lead headed into the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fourth, with the bases loaded, Bruno launched a double to left center, her sixth of the season and second of the day. She tallied two RBI as Rentzel, who had walked, and pinch-running freshman Gianna Sandstrom crossed the plate to put Central up 4-0.
Following a Crusader pitcher change, Malcolm sent a pitch to center field driving in sophomore Alyssa McCoart, 5-0 Blue Devils.
Springer sent Bruno home on a sacrifice fly and Brown ripped a single through the right side to drive in Malcolm.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Blue Devils clenched their victory with back-to-back doubles, first from Rentzel then from freshman Eileen Purcell. Rentzel came home on the hit and the game ended on an eight-run rule.
CCSU smacked four doubles in the game and tallied two stolen bases.
The Blue Devils return to action this Friday, March 29, for an NEC match-up against the Bryant Bulldogs (5-12, 1-3 NEC). The first game of the doubleheader is set to begin at 2 p.m. at the CCSU Softball Field in New Britain, CT.