The Central Connecticut softball team played two games on Saturday at the USF Spring Break Tournament in Clearwater, FL, topping Florida A&M 9-5 before falling to Rutgers 6-5 in eight innings on a tiebreaker rule.
CCSU is now 8-4 on the season.
Game #1 vs. Florida A&M
Senior Julie Marks started in the circle for CCSU, pitching 2.1 innings. She struck out two batters before being relieved by sophomore Sarah Gaalswijk. Gaalswijk picked up her first win as a Blue Devil, pitching 4.2 innings. She struck out one batter and walked two. Her record is now 1-0.
Central posted two runs to get out to an early lead in the top of the first. Senior Tessa Brown singled to drive home classmate Arielle Bruno, who reached a Rattler error. The next batter in the lineup, sophomore Eileen Purcell, also reached base on error, advancing Brown and plating sophomore Evie Rentzel, who singled.
The Rattlers narrowed the lead to one in the bottom of the first, scoring Alyssa Weaver on a Blue Devil error. FAMU tied it up in the next inning, making it 2-2 after two innings.
Central took the lead again in the top of the third. Brown blasted a triple with just one out and Purcell followed with a single to bring her home. The Blue Devils then added two more in the top of the fourth when a double off the bat of junior Kat Malcolm drove in Bruno and sophomore Alicia Keough, who both walked.
With CCSU up 5-2 headed into the bottom of the fourth, FAMU's Christina Robbs doubled to bring home a walked batter and narrow the lead to 5-3.
The Rattlers tied it up again in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run double from Kieifi Myrick, making it 5-5 going into the sixth.
The Blue Devils took the lead for good in the sixth, notching three runs. Brown singled to drive in sophomore Katie Schmidt, who reached on error. Purcell followed the go-ahead run with a double to bring home Bruno, who singled, and Brown.
Central added one final run in the top of the seventh to close the scoring when sophomore Kenya McVey crossed the plate on a ball put in play by Malcolm.
The Blue Devils racked up 11 hits and eight RBI while leaving nine on base. FAMU tallied 12 hits, five RBI and left 11 on base. The Rattlers posted four errors compared to two for CCSU.
Brown led CCSU on offense, going 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two RBI. She was followed by Malcom and Purcell who each registered three RBI in four at-bats.
Game #2 vs. Rutgers (9-7)
Junior Laura Messina pitched a complete game for CCSU, posting nine strikeouts and allowing nine hits. With the loss, her record drops to 7-2.
Central got off to a strong start, scoring two runs in the top of the first. Reigning NEC Rookie of the Week Alexis Debrosse registered a single to drive home junior Kat Malcolm, who reached on a fielder's choice, and senior Arielle Bruno, who led off with a single.
Rutgers tied it up in the bottom of the third on two singles and a double to combine for two runs and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fourth, taking a 3-2 lead.
The Blue Devils rallied in the top of the sixth, leading off the inning with a Debrosse homer, her third of the season to even the score for the second time, 3-3.
With two outs, Bruno smacked a double to center field, plating pinch runner Brittany Ernst to take the lead 4-3. Malcolm followed with a single and an RBI, sending pinch runner Ashley Black across the plate, making it 5-3 Blue Devils.
RU attempted a comeback in the bottom of the sixth, but with two runners in scoring position, Messina retired the final batter to work out of the inning.
Central threated to add insurance runs to the board in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs, but Bruno grounded out to second to put CCSU back in the field.
Messina walked the first batter in the bottom of the seventh and the Scarlet Knights blasted a homer off the bat of Jackie Bates to tie the game 5-5 with two outs. Messina tallied her second strikeout of the inning to close regulation before heading into tiebreaking procedures.
CCSU posted 13 hits on the day compared to nine for the Scarlet Knights. Debrosse went 2-for-4 at the plate, notching one run and three RBI, Bruno tallied three hits in five at-bats and posted one RBI. Bruno was left on base four times.
The Blue Devils are scheduled to conclude the USF Spring Break Tournament Sunday morning at 11:15 a.m. against Providence.