The Central Connecticut baseball team opens the 2018 season with a three-game series in the Snowbird Baseball Classic against North Dakota State beginning on Friday, February 23, in Port Charlotte, FL. The teams will play a three games in the series from Feb. 23-25 in Port Charlotte, FL.
Friday's opener will take place at 1:00 p.m. at South County Regional Park (670 Cooper St., Punta Gorda, FL 33950). Saturday's game will be at 3:00 p.m. and be played at North Charlotte Regional Park (1185 O'Donnell Blvd, Port Charlotte, FL 33953). The series finale will be on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at South County Regional Park (670 Cooper St., Punta Gorda, FL 33950). Live stats are slated to be available for the games at the links below.
FRIDAY, Feb. 23 | 1:00 p.m. | South County Regional Park | Live Stats
SATURDAY, Feb. 24 | 3:00 p.m. | North Charlotte Regional Park | Live Stats
SUNDAY, Feb. 25 | 11:00 a.m. | South County Regional Park | Live Stats
The Blue Devils are coming off a season in which they won the fifth conference title in program history and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Central collected three first-place votes and was picked second in the Preseason Northeast Conference Coaches' Poll.
CCSU posted a 36-22 record overall and went 21-7 in conference play last season. Head coach Charlie Hickey was named the 2017 NEC Coach of the Year and won his 600th career game and also his 500th at Central Connecticut. He returns an experienced roster, including a trio of First Team All-NEC choices. Senior Mitch Guilmette led the Blue Devils with a .331 average and earned all-conference honors as a designated hitter. Senior Dean Lockery hit .330 and tied the single-season program record with 22 doubles and was named to the All-Conference team at second base. Junior Jared Gallagher was the First Team relief pitcher after posting a 2.35 earned run average with eight saves.
The Blue Devils are also slated to return senior Andrew Hinckley who earned All-NEC First Team honors in 2016 after going 8-4 and ranking seventh in the NCAA with seven complete games. Sophomore TT Bowens is also returning after earning NEC Tournament MVP honors when he batted .636 (7-for-11) with two homeruns, five runs scored and three RBIs in three games. He added a double and a triple to hit for the cycle in helping CCSU to the title.
The top four teams in the Northeast Conference regular season standings will qualify for the Northeast Conference Championship, which will be held at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT, on May 24-26.
Central's home-opener is slated for Wednesday, March 7, against Hartford at 3:00 p.m.
North Dakota State is 2-2 after opening the year at Incarnate Word last weekend. The Bison have reached the 20-win mark in eight straight seasons and were picked to finish third in The Summit League Baseball Preseason poll. NDSU finished the 2017 campaign with a 31-25 mark overall and went 19-11 in conference play. NDSU fell to Oral Roberts in the Summit League championship game.