Baseball Looks Ahead After Dropping Four


CCSU Athletics

Chandler Debrosse (pictured) finished the day 3-for-5 with a run scored against Lehigh.

Ryan Jones, Managing Editor

Central Connecticut baseball traveled to warmer pastures this past weekend as they continue to wipe away the rust of a new season. The rust has not fully cleared, it seems, as Central dropped all four of its games of the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.

The Blue Devils came into the weekend business trip rolling. In the team’s inaugural series, CCSU took two of three against Bethune-Cookman on the back of some strong pitching performances.

After putting out the same rotation for the first three games, it appears head coach Charlie Hickey will be going with a starting rotation of Brandon Fox, Andrew Braun and Anthony Mozzicato, despite the third having just started his rookie campaign.

These starters only gave up five runs over 22 innings of work over the weekend.

Central’s first three games of the weekend were closer contests than their finale. All three games came down to a pair of runs or less, but some ninth-inning meltdowns kept the door to a comeback shut for the Blue Devils.

Buddy Dewaine sent one past the fence to kick off the inning. Dewaine’s homer was matched by Peyton Stephens, giving CCSU a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom half of the seventh against Pitt.

After the Panthers posted four runs to swing the pendulum the other way, the Blue Devils struck out swinging in a three up, three down manner in the eighth and grounded into a double play in the final inning.

CCSU took on Lehigh in their next game. With the game even at one apiece, TT Bowens took advantage of an error to break the tie in the seventh.

Peyton Stephens, who has shuffled around from the field to the mound often in his three seasons, was put in to potentially seal the victory for the Blue Devils, and the start of the eighth seemed liked Stephens would not take long to do so.

Finesse sent the two batters packing for Stephens, striking them out looking. With one out remaining in the inning, the Panthers struck, plating two runs for their first lead of the game.

Two Blue Devils struck out swinging in the ninth, closing the door to a comeback.

CCSU faced a six-run deficit in their second game against Lehigh, but four doubles in the eighth cut the lead to two.

Back to back batters struck out swinging in the ninth, again halting a late push from Central.

The final game of the Invitational was a rematch against Pittsburgh, where the Blue Devils did not fair as well as the team’s first matchup.

Hickey opted to use freshman Dominic Niman in an opener role. Previously used in the bullpen against Bethune-Cookman, Niman only allowed one run to cross the plate in his three innings of work against Pittsburgh.

The arms out of the pen did not fare as well against the bats of the Panthers.

Dylan Benton allowed a homer to the third batter he faced, then allowed four more runs on three hits. A throwing error from Dan Covino, playing in his second game of the season, allowed another run to score.

Randy Reyes came in relief of Benton to start the fifth. A walk loaded the bases for Pittsburgh and an ensuing walk started the damage on the scoreboard. Over the next three batters, five more runs crossed the plate.

Tim Buchek came in to finish off the fifth with a strikeout, then struck out two for a clean sixth inning.

The Blue Devils had runners on first and second in the seventh, but a double play ended the game. Because of the 12 run lead, the mercy rule took effect following the seventh.

The next time the Blue Devils take the diamond will be Wednesday, March 4, the team’s first taste of home-field advantage. Their road opponent will not be far traveled, however, as the Hartford Hawks come into town for a 2:30 game.