Baseball Drops Home Opener, Picks Up Win At Stony Brook

Ryan Jones, Managing Editor

The start of baseball season here at Central Connecticut is comparative to its professional counterpart, Spring Training. The games themselves have no implication on the playoffs; you could beat every team by 100 and miss out on the post season or not show up and be the first seed come conference play.

The most important thing about games before conference play is getting into a groove: establishing a set rotation, trying out different orders, etc.

CCSU baseball has been working their way through its Spring Training, but have only yielded winning results three times through the first 11 games.

The panic button should be in another continent right now, though. When CCSU won the Northeast Conference Championship in 2017 and 2019, their start to the season was similarly slow (6-5 and 5-6, respectively).

However, there are some noteworthy points to take away from the team’s three losses this past week.

As head coach Charlie Hickey continues to experiment with pitchers, the starting rotation has remained unchanged through the first three series. Though they hold a combined 3-4 record, the pitchers’ numbers have been some of the best in the NEC to this point.

The only program that has a better combined earned run average (ERA) among starters is Long Island University. The Sharks three starts and a pitcher out of Merrimack are the only four starting pitchers with a better ERA than Anthony Mozzicato and Andrew Braun, while Brandon Fox touts the second best ERA among starters. The senior has been a monster on the mound, giving up only one earned run over his three starts for a 0.43 ERA. Braun also holds the lowest opponent batting average in the NEC.

Fox threw eight scoreless innings at Stony Brook and struck out six. The win was his first of the season and the team’s lone win of the week.

The offense that won Central the game was not glorious, but plenty productive.

Jay Devito singled to send Dave Matthews home. The bases proceeded to load up, while an out could not be found from the Stony Brook defense. A fielder’s choice and sacrifice groundout later, there were two outs for Central, but two more runs on the scoreboard.

Sam Loda tripled to left center in the eighth, his two-run RBI being all the insurance Central would need for a 5-3 victory.

Loda has an even bigger contributor on the other side of the ball this season. He’s fifth in the conference with 49 putouts on 52 attempts (TT Bowens is right behind him with 42 putouts) and has already caught two runners stealing. Last season he caught 27.

While the defense has been running smoothly most of the season, the Blue Devils’ first game against Stony Brook was a well pronounced bump in the road. The defense gave up five errors in the field, which helped start the scoring in the first for the Seawolves.

CCSU only had two errors in their last game against Stony Brook, but one proved to be fatal. An error in the sixth from Chris Kanios lead to two runs crossing the plate and the Seawolves getting a lead they did not give up.

Central will be back at home for its next game against Manhattan Tuesday, because of the recent news about the Coronavirus, this game will be played without fans.

With the outbreak of Coronavirus across the world, Central has cancelled most out of state travel through the school. If this holds up to be the case for baseball, the team would miss out on 11 games.