Softball Shines At Nor’Eastern Classic

Daniel Fappiano, Layout Editor

After losing seven of the last nine games, Central Connecticut softball entered the weekend looking to bounce back with Northeast Conference play on the horizon. Against Rider in the Nor’Eastern Classic, the Blue Devils did just that, sweeping the Broncs and scoring 30 runs in the process.

Game one saw the Blue Devils take an 8-2 lead into the sixth inning. Rider then marched back, hitting two home runs and scoring nine runs to take an 11-8 lead. Central then made a comeback of its own, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth via freshman Rian Eigenmann and Carli Backlund. Entering the seventh inning tied, the Blue Devils held Rider scoreless before an Alicia Bertolino walk-off single gave CCSU a 12-11 victory.

Eigenmann shined on offense for Central, hitting a double, driving in four runs and stealing a base. Sophomore Sydney Bolan was another major contributor with two hits, two walks and three RBI. Overall, five different Blue Devils drove in a run with four driving in at least two.

Bolan credits the offensive explosion to the entire team’s effort at the plate.

“Everyone does a good job of being a big part of the offense, we definitely need every single person because we are so young,” Bolan said. “It’s never just one person that gets the big hit, you can see throughout our whole lineup, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior it doesn’t matter, everyone’s contributing.”

On the mound, freshman Kari Marks looked well on her way to another victory, allowing just two runs through five innings. After Rider’s big inning, sophomore Ashley Antonazzo entered, throwing 1.1 innings of scoreless softball to take home her fourth victory of the year.

Head coach Breanne Gleason was impressed by her team’s confidence and ability to come back despite the deficit.

“Based on how we’ve been swinging this year, they know that no matter how many runs we give up, we can score more,” Gleason said. “They have a great mindset right now and I’m liking it.”

Game two again saw Rider get out to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning. Much like the first game, the Blue Devils were able to march back, hitting five home runs. After a nine-run sixth inning, including a grand slam from Bolan, CCSU mercied the Broncs 18-7 in six innings.

On offense, six different Blue Devils came through with an RBI including Bolan who had five and outfielder Giuliana Hathaway who had six, including two home runs. Eigenmann again had a strong performance, hitting a home run in her first at-bat and driving in three runs overall.

Much like game one, Antonazzo again helped CCSU out of trouble on the mound. After starter Carley Stoker allowed seven over her 2.1 innings, Antonazzo entered, pitching 3.2 innings of scoreless ball, allowing just one hit.

Antonazzo says that while it was a little nerve-wracking she was ready to help her team win as a reliever.

“I did the best I could, I threw what I knew how to throw and it all just translated onto the field,” Antonazzo said. “As long as I throw as I usually do I do fine, I try not to overthink it.”

Following the doubleheader sweep, Gleason was excited and impressed about her team’s performance.

“It feels great, finally. I don’t remember that last time we scored 30 runs in a day. Anytime you do that hopefully, you can pull out a win,” Gleason said. “Every at-bat just seemed locked in, even our outs were hard hits. I feel like the team is super bought into our style of offense right now. Coach Holden has done an amazing job with our kids, they’re super young but they look really good.”

Going forward, Gleason is hoping her team can remain focused and keep the momentum going.

“We just need to keep our focus, keep our energy and keep wanting to win,” Gleason said.

The Blue Devils will next take the field Wednesday against Yale.