The Central Connecticut softball team earned a split against the Bryant Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon in New Britain, winning the second game 7-1 after dropping the first game 1-0. With the split, CCSU moves to 23-8 overall on the season and is now 9-1 in the Northeast Conference. The loss in game one snapped the Blue Devils 11 game winning streak and also marked the first loss in NEC play. Bryant is now 15-27 overall and 6-6 in the NEC.
Senior Laura Messina pitched two complete games for Central in the circle. She struck out 16 Bryant batters over the course of the two games and also logged her 200th strikeout of the season amid a 12 strikeout game in game one.
Freshman Brittany Camara and junior Hannah Cooper paced the CCSU offense on the day. Camara collected four hits (4-8) over the two games and scored a run. Cooper ripped two doubles and had a pair of RBI's, finishing the afternoon 2-for-5.
Game #1 - CCSU 0, Bryant 1
Bryant's Robyn Ukegawa hit a home run to lead off the top of the seventh inning to win game one for the Bulldogs, 1-0.
In a classic pitcher's duel between Messina and Bryant's Elle Madsen, neither team could put a run on the scoreboard until the blast by Ukegawa in the seventh. Messina and Madsen both worked in and out of trouble, getting clutch outs with runners on base and in scoring position all throughout game one. The Blue Devils left nine on base in game one, including two in the third, two in the fourth and three in the third.
Central's best opportunity to score came in the bottom of the fourth after junior Evie Rentzel and freshman Tori Constantin singled to begin the inning. Cooper moved them both up a base with a sacrifice bunt, but the Blue Devils were unable to capitalize with a runner on third and less than two outs.
Similarly one inning later, senior Ashley Black and Camara singled to start the bottom of the fifth for CCSU. Black was moved to third after a fly out to centerfield, but again Central could not capitalize on the opportunity.
Madsen earned the win for Bryant, pitching a complete game shutout and striking out four. She worked around seven hits and one walk to improve her record to 9-14 on the season.
Messina was dealt the loss, just the fourth of the year for the senior, even though she pitched very well. She allowed one run on six hits without issuing a walk. The lone blemish came in the top of the seventh on the lead off blast from Ukegawa.
Messina struck out 12, recording her 200th strikeout of the season by getting Haylee Haas swinging in the top of the fifth inning. However, Messina moves to 18-4 on the year with the setback.
A pair of freshman, Camara and Constantin, highlighted game one offensively for the Blue Devils. Camara finished 3-for-4 with three single and Constantin went 2-for-3 with a double, to account for five of the seven CCSU hits in the game.
Game #2 - CCSU 7, Bryant 1
The Blue Devils responded to the loss in a big way in game two on Sunday. They came out of the gate swinging and plated four runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. Constantin continued to have a good day at the plate and brought home her classmate, Camara, for the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Purcell followed with an RBI single to right-center, bringing home Black to make it 2-0.
Central continued to build their lead in the first inning, executing a perfect double steal play with runners on first and third to take a 3-0 advantage. Cooper then followed with a scorching double into the left-center gap to conclude the early CCSU rally and give them a 4-0 lead.
The Blue Devils didn't settle and added three more runs to take a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior Kat Malcolm led off the inning with a triple to centerfield and came around to score on safety squeeze bunt by Rentzel. Cooper then ripped her second double of the game to bring in junior Eileen Purcell, before junior Katie Schmidt laced a RBI single through the left side to complete the scoring for Central.
The Bulldogs lone run came in the top of the sixth off Messina. Maritza Martinez led off the inning with what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right field, but was directly in the sun and dropped in for a double. She would eventually come in to score on a RBI single to left field by Liana Ogata.
Messina was on the right end of the decision in game two, twirling a complete game four-hitter to improver her record to 19-4 on the season. She struck out four Bulldogs in game two, and for the second consecutive game she didn't allow a walk.
Cooper and Malcolm paced the Central offense in game two, collecting five of the 10 CCSU hits. Malcolm finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and Cooper went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a pair of RBI's.
The Central Connecticut softball team will return to action with a mid-week doubleheader on the road at UMass-Lowell. The Blue Devils will take on the River Hawks next Thursday with the first game of the two-game set scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
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May 16, 2015 Softball Battles UNC in Elimination Game at 2:30 PM
May 16, 2015 Softball Season Ends vs. UNC in NCAA Tournament
May 15, 2015 Softball Drops NCAA Opener to #14 Georgia
May 15, 2015 CCSU Opens NCAA Tournament vs. Georgia Today, 5 PM
May 10, 2015 CCSU Headed to Athens Regional on Friday
May 8, 2015 CCSU Advances to Championship Game, Tops LIU 6-2
May 6, 2015 Messina, Malcolm Named All-Conference
May 4, 2015 Constantin Tabbed NEC Rookie of the Week
April 30, 2015 Softball Edged by Quinnipiac on Thursday, 2-1
April 28, 2015 Messina Claims ECAC Pitcher of the Week Accolades
April 27, 2015 Messina Named NEC Pitcher of the Week
April 26, 2015 Purcell Powers CCSU to Split with RMU on Senior Day
April 25, 2015 Messina, Blue Devils Shutout SFU Twice on Saturday
April 23, 2015 Softball Wins Two at UMass Lowell on Thursday
April 21, 2015 Messina Earns Third Straight ECAC Weekly Honor
April 20, 2015 Messina Earns Third Straight NEC Weekly Award
April 19, 2015 Softball Splits Doubleheader at Home on Sunday
April 15, 2015 Softball Wins 11 Straight, Tops UConn 3-1 Wednesday
April 14, 2015 Weekly Honors Continue for Messina, Constantin
April 13, 2015 Messina, Constantin Defend NEC Weekly Awards
April 12, 2015 Messina, Rentzel Power Blue Devils Over the Mount
April 11, 2015 Softball Wins Eighth-Straight, Sweeps Wagner Saturday
April 9, 2015 Softball Doubleheader at LIU Postponed Thursday
April 8, 2015 Messina, Constantin Honored by ECAC
April 6, 2015 Softball Duo Earn NEC Weekly Awards
April 4, 2015 Messina, Blue Devils Blank Pioneers Twice on Saturday
April 2, 2015 Softball Takes Two From Fairfield on Thursday
March 29, 2015 Softball Sweeps NEC Doubleheader at Home on Sunday
March 25, 2015 Softball Drops Two Tough Games on the Road Wednesday
March 23, 2015 Malcolm, Messina Honored by NEC
March 19, 2015 Softball Splits With Yale on Thursday
March 17, 2015 Softball Splits With Purdue on Tuesday
March 16, 2015 Softball Edged by USF on Monday Night
March 16, 2015 Malcolm, Camara Earn NEC Softball Weekly Awards
March 15, 2015 Blue Devils Mercy Rule Army in USF Tournament Finale
March 14, 2015 Softball Sweeps on Saturday at USF Tournament
March 13, 2015 Softball Drops Two at USF Tournament Friday
March 10, 2015 Messina, CCSU Softball Sweep Hartford
March 9, 2015 Softball Sweeps NEC Weekly Awards
March 8, 2015 Softball Takes Two More on Sunday
March 7, 2015 Softball Wins Two on Opening Day
March 3, 2015 Updated: Softball Restructures Schedule
February 26, 2015 Softball's Opening Weekend Cancelled
February 12, 2015 Softball Predicted to Win Second NEC Championship
January 28, 2015 Messina Named to USA Softball POY Watch List
January 26, 2015 Messina Ranked Among the Nation's Elite