The Central Connecticut baseball team opened up a three-game weekend Northeast Conference series with a 5-3 home victory over Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday afternoon. The Blue Devils improve to 4-8 overall and 2-2 in NEC play with the win. FDU drops to 7-7 overall and 0-1 in league play with the loss.
Central had 13 hits in the home victory and Central pitchers struck out 10 FDU batters on the day.
The two teams will continue their weekend series on Saturday with a single game at 1 p.m. in New Britain. The series will end with a single game on Sunday.
The Knights struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. Joe O'Rourke and Jason Ortiz each drove in a run as the Knights took the 2-0 lead.
Central answered in the bottom of the inning and cut the lead to 2-1. Senior Dylan Maher's RBI fielder's choice with men on second and third scored sophomore Buddy Dewaine who had singled to lead off the inning.
The Blue Devils took the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Central used three hits in the inning, including RBI singles from senior Nick Garland and Dewaine, to take their first lead of the game.
Fairleigh Dickinson tied the game in the top of the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly from Matt Armindinger.
The Blue Devils answered quickly in the bottom of the inning. Garland singled to lead off the inning and scored on a double down the left field line by Dewaine. Dewaine scored on an RBI double from freshman Peyton Stephens to push the lead to 5-3.
Sophomore Brandon Fox did not factor in the decision but put together a solid outing for the Blue Devils. He pitched seven innings allowing just one run on four hits while striking out eight Knight batters. Junior Jared Gallagher earned the win pitching the final two innings, allowing two hits while striking out two.