Softball Continues to Roll Through Schedule

The Blue Devils are a perfect 16-0 against NEC opponents this year.

Steve McLaughlin

The Blue Devils are a perfect 16-0 against NEC opponents this year.

Ryan Jones, Editor-in-Chief

Central Connecticut softball kept its winning streak going last week after a four game sweep of Sacred Heart. The Blue Devils are a perfect 16-0 against fellow Northeast Conference opponents this season.

The Blue Devils outscored the Pioneers 9-6 over the first three games of the series. The bats flew off the rack in the final game as CCSU closed out the series with a 15-1 win.

CCSU trailed SHU in both of Wednesday’s games. Heading into the bottom of the sixth in game one, the Blue Devils were facing a 3-1 deficit before they turned things on. Freshman pitcher Anaya Hunte shut down the SHU offense in her two innings of work, striking out four and not allowing a run. Over her two appearances in relief against SHU, Hunte pitched five innings, did not allow a run, struck out seven batters and only gave up a single hit.

Down to their final two outs, Megan Dugas hit a walk-off home run in the seventh for CCSU to wrap things up in game one.

Staring down a 3-0 deficit, CCSU’s offense was desperate for a spark in game two. Sacred Heart put in a new pitcher to start the bottom of the sixth and likely regretted it immediately. The Blue Devils strung together four straight hits for two runs before SHU pulled their pitcher, but it didn’t stop the bleeding. Kim Howard knocked a two-run double to left, giving CCSU its first lead of the game. Kaylee Whitaker struck out the side in the seventh and won the day for CCSU.

The bats on both sides were mostly quiet in game three. Bri Walker sent Howard home in the bottom of the fourth and that proved to be all the Blue Devils needed for a 1-0 win.

“Sacred Heart’s pitching is probably the best that we’ve seen so far so the first three games were expected to be pretty close,” Head coach Bre Gleason said after the Wednesday. “In that last game, our offense just exploded.”

Things escalated pretty quickly in the final game of the series. You could say the Blue Devils wanted to finish the week off quickly, but the truth is the only thing CCSU was rushing to was the plate in the first inning. Sacred Heart’s starter only made it an out before getting pulled; six Blue Devils had already made it on base, a wild pitch brought Carli Backlund home and Paige Stringer hit a two-run homer to center field.

The Blue Devils then loaded up the bases and drew three walks to put three more runs on the board, batting through the lineup in a single inning and putting seven runs on the board. But the Blue Devils weren’t done yet.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, the Blue Devils strung together four straight hits that was capped off by a three-run home run from Backlund. The Blue Devils finished the day with 14 hits. On the mound, CCSU did not walk a single batter.

“What we’ve been missing the  past couple years is an X factor and a willingness to compete. This team definitely has a willingness to compete and come out here and want to win for each and Central,” Gleason said.

CCSU will be back in action this weekend against Long Island University. The road series will follow the usual format of four games over two days on Saturday and Sunday.