After suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of #10 LSU on Friday in its first game of the NCAA Regionals, the Central Connecticut softball team (35-14, 16-4 NEC) will face Northwestern State Saturday, May 18, at 4 p.m. (3 p.m. CDT) in the first elimination game of the tournament at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, LA.
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Check out HIGHLIGHTS from Friday's match-up vs. LSU.
The Blue Devils demonstrated that they can compete with the tough tournament competition on Friday, tying the LSU Tigers but ultimately falling by just one run. They will get another chance to secure the first NCAA tournament win in CCSU softball history on Saturday against the Lady Demons (40-14, 16-6 SLC).
Central has never played Northwestern State in its 27 years in division I, however the Blue Devils and the Lady Demons have faced a common opponent this year, Stephen F. Austin. The Blue Devils faced the Ladyjacks in their second game of the season at the University of South Florida tournament on March, 1. CCSU claimed an 8-4 win in the match-up with seniors Jordan Tingley and Nicole Springer in the pitcher's circle.
The Lady Demons have prevailed in each of their three meetings in 2013 against the Ladyjacks. Northwestern State posted scores of 3-1, 6-1 and 12-0 over SFA on April 13-14.
Yesterday, junior Arielle Bruno hit her 10th home run of the season, tying Springer and sophomore Kat Malcolm for the single-season home run record. The Blue Devils have blasted 52 homers to date compared to 39 for the Lady Demons. As a team, NSU is batting .303 and the Blue Devils, led by Malcolm (.426) are hitting .318.
Defensively, the Lady Demons have two pitchers with less than a 2.0 ERA. Kylie Roos boasts a 1.54 ERA and she is 17-5 on the season. She has 146 strikeouts in 158.2 innings pitched this season. Kaylee Guidry has pitched 97.0 innings and posts a 1.66 ERA.
For the Blue Devils in the circle, sophomore Laura Messina added two more strikeouts on Friday to her already impressive season total. She now boasts 241 in 241.2 innings and brings to the table a 1.71 ERA. Messina's season record is 27-10 after Friday's loss.
The winner of Saturday's match-up between the Blue Devils and the Lady Demons will play LSU at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. CDT). The winner of that game will advance to the championship game on Sunday vs. the UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns.