The Central Connecticut baseball team dropped a 3-0 decision to top seed Bryant in the winner's bracket game of the Northeast Conference Tournament on Friday night in Norwich, CT. The Bulldogs advance to the championship game on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. and will need just one win to win the title.
The Blue Devils will face third-seed Sacred Heart for the second time in the tournament on Saturday at 12 noon in an elimination game. Central beat Sacred Heart 4-3 on Thursday in each team's first game of the tournament. The Pioneers beat Wagner on Friday, 13-8, in the first elimination game of the tournament.
With the victory Bryant is now 41-14 overall. CCSU is now 27-21 with the loss.
Senior Tom Coughlin was spectacular for the Blue Devils in the loss. He is now 5-5 on the season. He went eight innings and allowed just two earned runs and only three hits while striking out five batters.
Central's best chance to score came in the fourth inning. Senior J.P. Sportman recorded a one-out single and then went to third on a failed pick off attempt by Bryant starting pitcher Craig Schlitter. Schlitter, the league's Pitcher of the Year, recorded a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
Coughlin cruised through the first seven innings of play before Bryant struck first in the top of the eighth inning. Bryant catcher Buck McCarthy hit his fourth home run of the season to lead off the inning and give Bryant the 1-0 lead. The hit was just the third of the game for Bryant. With the bases loaded and one out a sacrifice fly from A.J. Zarozny made it 2-0.
The Bulldogs added a run in the ninth inning to push the lead to 3-0. Central managed just three hits in the game off of Schlitter, who improves to 10-1 with the win. It's his second shutout vs. the Blue Devils this season and his fourth of the season.
Bryant advances to Saturday's second game (4:15 p.m.) and will need only one win to secure the NEC title. The Blue Devil will play Sacred Heart in an elimination game at 12 p.m. on Saturday, and will need to win three straight to win the title.