Softball Sweeps & Slams in Conference Opener


Steve McLaughlin

CCSU homered six times against the Mount this weekend.

Ryan Jones, Editor-in-Chief

Central Connecticut softball swept its first conference series of the season over the weekend on the back of the long ball, smashing six home runs en route to four victories.

The Blue Devils defeated Mount St. Mary’s by a combined score of 23-12 over the four games. The last win came in dramatic fashion as junior Carli Backlund won the game on a walk-off home run.

Paige Stringer, a freshman first basemen for the Blue Devils, earned both the Rookie and Player of the Week honors for her performance. She contributed three of the six CCSU home runs, eight RBIs and hit a grand slam in the first game, her first career home run.

Both teams started early in game one but cooled off in the middle innings. Down 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the Blue Devils loaded the bases up for Stringer. In only the ninth at bat of her collegiate career, Stringer crushed a ball to right center, putting four runs on the board with one swing. The five-run sixth inning was all CCSU needed to take the first game 7-4.

The second game was a pitcher’s duel from the start. Another rookie shined for CCSU, this time on the mound.

Freshman pitcher Kate Houghton threw two separate three up, three down innings before allowing a run. Houghton pitched all seven innings of the game, striking out five.

Stringer broke the scoring drought in the fifth with a solo shot. Rian Eigenmann sent Backlund home with a single, and a series of errors from the Mount opened up the base path for her. The Blue Devils’ three runs sealed the 3-1 victory.

The Blue Devils trailed 3-0 in the early goings of Sunday’s first game. Stringer quickly settled that issue, though, sending another ball past the fences that put three runs on the board.

Senior centerfielder Meg Dugas joined in on the fun, bringing in three runs with a home run in the third.

The Mount made things interesting with a two run fourth inning. Freshman Anaya Hunte relieved Kaylee Whittaker and proceeded to slam the door on the Mount’s comeback chances shut. The win is the first of Hunte’s season and career with the Blue Devils.

The fourth and final game of the weekend was the closest the Mount came to victory.

The score sat tied at 1-1 heading into the seventh and final frame. The Mount got one run across and were now three outs away from taking its first victory of the weekend.

Stringer singled to start up the rally, and Backlund finished it off. One out away from defeat, Backlund lifted one to right field, saving the game for the Blue Devils and securing the series sweep. Backlund also hit a home run in the Sunday’s first game.

The Blue Devils now sit at a perfect 4-0 in NEC play and will host Maine this weekend before returning back to conference play against Fairleigh Dickinson.