The Central Connecticut softball team opened play at the USF Spring Break Tournament 2-0 on Friday. The Blue Devils claimed a 2-1 win over St. Joseph's before shutting out Penn State 1-0. With Friday's wins, the Blue Devils improve their record to 7-3 and extend their win streak to five. Five of Central's seven wins have been shutouts.
Junior Laura Messina started both games in the circle on Friday, pitching four innings against St. John's and the full seven against Penn State. She tallied a total of 14 strikeouts on the day, pushing her career total to 511. She has sent 58 batters back to the dugout in 43.0 innings this season and posts a 0.49 ERA. With Friday's wins, Messina's record improves to 7-1 on the season.
Game #1 vs. St. Joseph's (6-7)
Messina posted nine strikeouts in four innings against the Hawks while allowing just one hit. Senior Julie Marks relieved Messina in the bottom of the fifth to finish out the game, striking out one and holding St. Joseph's to just one run.
CCSU got the scoring started in the top of the second. Senior Tessa Brown kicked off the inning with a single and was replaced on base by sophomore Brittany Ernst. After Ernst advanced to second, two-time NEC Rookie of the Week Alexis Debrosse smacked a double to drive in Ernst and put CCSU up 1-0.
The Hawks answered in the bottom of the sixth on a similar play when Sarah Yoos doubled to drive in Nicole Palase for the only St. Joseph's run of the game.
Central racked up eight hits compared to seven for the Hawks. Brown went 2-for-3 at the plate and was the only Blue Devil to post more than one hit. Bruno, Debrosse, Black, freshman Evie Rentzel and sophomore Hannah Cooper each added one.
Game #2 vs. Penn State (5-13)
Messina pitched all seven innings for CCSU against the Nittany Lions, posting her third shutout of the season. She struck out six batters, walked one and allowed just one hit.
Friday's win marks the second-consecutive time that CCSU has topped Penn State. The last time the two squads met, CCSU claimed the victory 4-3.
Both teams remained scoreless through five and a half innings of play until CCSU scored the lone run in the bottom of the sixth.
Sophomore Kenya McVey began the bottom of the sixth with a single to left center. With sophomore Katie Schmidt running the bases for McVey, freshman Sarah Drazin singled and Bruno put the ball in play to score Schmidt and earn the RBI.
CCSU posted seven hits and was led on offense by sophomore Eileen Purcell, who notched her second double of the season while going 2-for-3 from the plate, and McVey who also collected two hits. Bruno, Cooper and Drazin accounted one more apiece.
The Blue Devils return to action tomorrow as they continue the USF Spring Break Tournament. They are scheduled to take on Florida A&M at 4:30 p.m. and Rutgers at 6:45 p.m.