Softball Grabs First Conference Win

Ryan Jones, Assistant Sports Editor

After going winless in its first two Northeast Conference series of the year, the Central Connecticut softball team came close to doing the same in the opener of the weekend series with Sacred Heart.

Down 5-0 only four innings into the game, some late offensive firepower brought the Blue Devils back into the game to steal their first NEC victory on the year.

A familiar face of the CCSU offense started the fifth inning rally. Sophomore Sydney Bolan, whose slugging percentage of .721 is more than .200 more than the next highest Blue Devil, ripped a two-out double to clear the bases and give Central its first three runs of the game. Two walks Blue Devil walks following the double loaded the bases up again, this time setting up junior Emily Cronin to single, sending two more Blue Devils home to tie the game at five.

Central wasted no time in getting the winning runs on base following its five-run inning. The top of the sixth came with it an runs batted in (RBI) single from freshman Carli Buckland, giving them the first lead of the game.

Bolan hit a sacrifice fly to score the game-winning run in the sixth, putting her RBI total this season at 35. This career high is just one of the offensive stats Bolan has excelled at already this year. In her 86 plate appearances for the Blue Devils, the clutch hitter has bullied opposing pitchers, currently sitting in the top two in on base percentage, home runs and slugging percentage in the NEC.

The insurance run from the batter who started and ended the scoring proved to be all the Blue Devils needed to secure their first NEC win. Finishing her complete game on the mound, Carley Stoker had possibly her best inning pitching in the final frame, where she forced quick outs and closed out the seventh facing only four batters. The win gives the right handed freshman a 6-5 record on the year.

The same winning offense could not be found in the second game of the doubleheader, as Central combined for three hits as a team in the shutout, two of which coming in the first inning.

After allowing only two runs on three hits over the first four innings, Central sat on the other side of a five run inning, giving up six hits to the Pioneers and RBI to three straight batters. The five-run fifth inning solidified the victory for Sacred Heart, who would go on to win 8-0.

With their one win in conference, the Blue Devils sit at ninth in the NEC, however, they hold the fifth best overall record among NEC teams.

The Blue Devils will play in two out of conference games before returning to NEC play next week. Central will be visiting Massachusetts on Wednesday before starting a home stretch of games started by a match up with a tough Providence Friars team, who is 22-14 on the season so far.

They will then resume NEC play with a doubleheader against Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday.