The Central Connecticut softball team swept UMass-Lowell in Lowell, MA in a doubleheader Thursday afternoon. The Blue Devils earned a 2-0 victory in game one, followed by a 6-1 win in game two on a six-run rally in the top of the eighth.
The Blue Devils improve to 25-14 overall while the River Hawks fall to 9-31.
Junior Laura Messina pitched a one-hitter in game one for her 11th shutout of the season, improving her season record to 20-11. She pitched all seven innings for CCSU, racking up 11 strikeouts while allowing just one hit for the third time in her career.
The junior entered this week tied for second in the nation in shutouts with 10, trailing the nation's leader by just one. Messina now posts 11 on the season.
CCSU put the first run on the board after two scoreless innings. Junior Ashley Black led off the top of the third with a double and, after stealing third, was driven home on a sacrifice fly from senior Arielle Bruno to give CCSU a 1-0 lead.
The River Hawks tallied their only hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning on a one-out double from Ariana Darcy. Messina delivered two back-to-back strikeouts to work out of the inning.
CCSU posted nine hits in game one, led by sophomore Eileen Purcell who went 3-for-3 at the plate including a double. Black also performed well, both at the plate and on the bases. The junior went 2-for-3, posting one run and adding two stolen bases. The first four in the lineup including Bruno, sophomore Evie Rentzel, senior Tessa Brown and Debrosse contributed CCSU's remaining four hits.
Senior Julie Marks took to the circle for CCSU in game two. Marks allowed just two hits in 22 at bats while striking out four before being replaced in the bottom of the eighth by sophomore Sarah Gaalswijk. Gaalswijk faced five batters in the eighth, walking one. She allowed one hit and one run.
With the win, Marks' record improves to 4-3.
The squads went a full seven innings scoreless in game two before heading into extras. The Blue Devils exploded with a six-run rally in the top of the eighth to clinch the victory.
Debrosse sparked the rally in the eighth, leading off with a single up the middle. Debrosse scored on a two-run single from sophomore Kenya McVey to help put CCSU up 2-0. The Blue Devils brought in four more runs on three hits to close the half inning.
UML scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth to prevent the shutout.
CCSU posted 12 hits in the win, three of which came from Debrosse. The freshman went 3-for-4 at the plate while scoring one run and tallying one RBI. Brown and Bruno both went 2-for-5, driving in one run each and scoring one apiece.
The River Hawks totaled three hits, two of which were doubles. Freshman Lauren Ramirez takes the loss for UML after striking out 10 Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils are set to return to action on Sunday, April 27, at home when they close NEC play with a doubleheader against Mount St. Mary's. CCSU will also honor its seniors prior to the first pitch, which is scheduled for 12 p.m.