Softball Splits Doubleheader at Home on Sunday

Softball Splits Doubleheader at Home on Sunday

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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