The Central Connecticut softball team remains undefeated in NEC Championship Tournament play topping LIU Brooklyn 5-4 on Friday to head to its first ever NEC Championship game in the history of CCSU softball. Senior Nicole Springer blasted two homers in the one-run win to tie her own CCSU single-season home run record.
Sophomore Laura Messina registered eight strikeouts in the circle for the Blue Devils, gave up nine hits and walked only two batters. Her record improves to 26-9 on the season.
Central got out to an early lead in the bottom of the first when, with two outs, Springer stepped up and sent her first homer of the day to right to put the Blue Devils on the board. The start resembled the start of yesterday's game when sophomore Kat Malcolm launched one past the fence for Central's first run in the bottom of the first.
Freshman Evie Rentzel notched an RBI with a single to left center, plating Barlow who reached base on a walk, to increase the lead to two.
The Blue Devils struck again in the bottom of the second when freshman Brittany Ernst beat out the throw to first on a well-placed bunt. Springer notched her second RBI of the game when she hit a single to right center to plate Ernst, increasing the lead to three.
The Blackbirds battled back in the top of the third, scoring three to tie the game. They threated to take the lead in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with two outs. Messina, however, shut down the threat with her 236th strikeout of the season.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Blue Devils regained the lead when Springer led off with her second blast of the day, tying her own CCSU single-season home run record with 10. Central earned a two-run cushion after freshman Eileen Purcell smacked a double to drive in Rentzel, who had reached on a fielder's choice. Central headed into the sixth with a 5-3 advantage.
In the top of the sixth, the Blackbirds narrowed the lead to one on an RBI single to right field but the Blue Devils held LIU through the top of the seventh to ultimately claim the win.
The Blue Devils were led by Springer, who went three-for-three at the plate with two home runs and three RBI. Purcell went two-for-three with one RBI.
Central will play in the championship game tomorrow, Saturday, May 11, at 2 p.m. The Blue Devils' opponant will be decided by the result of the continuation of the Monmouth vs. LIU game. The conclusion of that game will begin tomorrow at 12 p.m.