Softball Picks Up Crucial NEC Win In Split Against FDU

Daniel Fappiano, Layout Editor

With the dog days of Northeast Conference play raging on, Central Connecticut softball picked up a crucial victory against Farleigh Dickinson. The team’s winning ways didn’t last long, however, as the Knights took game two of the doubleheader.

Game one saw freshman Carley Stoker dominate on the mound, allowing just one run in an 8-1 complete game victory. Of the seven hits Stoker allowed, only one went for extra bases. Stoker’s one run was the lowest she has given up since March 8 against Furman.

At the plate, the Blue Devils got after FDU early and often. Central scored all eight of their runs in the first four innings, forcing Knights’ starter Abby England out of the game after just two.

Five different players drove in a run for Central, with Kristen Ulmer and Stoker each having two. Stoker and sophomore Sydney Bolan each hit home runs. Bolan’s homer currently puts her second in the NEC, sitting at 10 on the year.

Head coach Breanne Gleason was impressed with her entire team’s performance in the first half of the doubleheader.

“We definitely came out swinging,” Gleason said. “I thought Stoker threw the ball very well, we played good defense, I thought we did everything well.”

Despite entering the day’s second game with all the momentum, Farleigh Dickinson dominated in game two, winning 10-2 in just six innings.

Stoker again started for the Blue Devils and allowed just three runs in the first three innings. However, in the fourth, FDU scored six, extending their lead to seven at the time and putting the game away for good.

Gleason took the blame for the six-run fourth and felt she should’ve relieved Stoker sooner.

“I probably should’ve made the change a bit earlier, that’s on me,” Gleason said. “After watching Stoker throw the first game so well, I thought we could hit a spot and get out of it, that inning is on me, it could’ve been a smaller inning if I just made a pitching change earlier.”

While FDU’s six-run inning was Central’s downfall, their bats went cold after their first game outburst. The team mustered just four hits overall, with both runs coming off the bat off pinch hitter Samantha Pizzonia.

Gleason stated that in game two her team wasn’t prepared to play a full game of softball. She went on to say that her team needed to find their killer mentality.

“We just need to switch our mindset, we need to have the killer instinct and hate to lose,” Gleason said. “I know we like to win but I don’t know if we hate to lose right now, whatever it is going to take to make these losses hurt worse than the feeling of a win. We don’t fight until the end all the time; we need to figure out how to do that.”

As the Blue Devils get into the heart of their NEC schedule, only eight games remain. Gleason understands how important those matchups are and says her team has to be prepared to sweep.

“We don’t necessarily have to win out, but we have to start sweeping people if we expect to have a chance,” Gleason said. “We have to get two wins in one day.”

Central will next take on Connecticut on Apr. 16 in Storrs in a non-conference matchup. They then face the tall task of doubleheaders against LIU Brooklyn and Bryant, the top two teams in the NEC.