Four members of the Central Connecticut baseball team earned All-Northeast Conference recognition it was announced by the league office on Wednesday on the eve of the conference championship. Senior Patrick Mitchell was named All-NEC First Team, while senior Jared Gallagher, junior Dave Matthews and sophomore TT Bowens were named All-NEC Second Team.
The conference championship begins on Thursday, May 23, and second-seeded CCSU will open play against third-seeded Wagner. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. after the matchup of top-seeded Bryant and fourth-seeded Sacred Heart.
Mitchell slid into the Blue Devils' weekend rotation as a senior and posted a 5-3 record in 10 starts. The righthander led the league in complete games and tied for the top spot with a shutout. His win total tied for the fourth-best mark on the circuit, while holding opposing batters to a .292 average, which ranked ninth. On the year, the Hollywood, FL native posted a 4.74 ERA in 62.2 innings, while striking out 36 and walking just 15 batters. Mitchell was at his best on May 4 at Wagner. Mitchell dazzled with a complete-game shutout. He limited Wagner to only five hits, all of which were singles, and one base on balls over 9.0 scoreless frames, while whiffing a career-high 13 batters and did not allow a base runner to safely reach second base until the eighth inning. From April 28-May 11, Mitchell ran up a string of 18.0 scoreless innings of work across three starts.
Gallagher earned a spot on the All-NEC Second Team as a reliever after tying for second in the league in all games with eight saves on the season. In 20 appearances he posted a 2-0 record with a 2.05 ERA in 30.2 innings. He held opposing hitters to a .151 average while surrendering just 16 hits, while striking out 34 and walking 13. In conference play, the Berlin, CT native tied for league-high marks with 12 appearances and five saves. Gallagher was an All-NEC First Team pick in 2017, and ranks second on the CCSU career list with 19 saves. In 66 career appearances he has a 12-3 record with a 3.32 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 119.1 innings.
In his first season with the Blue Devils, Matthews led the team in homeruns (5), doubles (15), runs (34), RBIs (35), and hits (50). An outfielder, he ranked second in the NEC in doubles, while also ranking among the league leaders with 30 walks. In conference play, the Newtown, CT product batted .315 and ranked among the leaders with five homeruns, 15 walks and 24 RBIs. Matthews had 14 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI games. He had three hits in a game on five occasions, including the regular season finale when he went 3-for-4 in a CCSU win at LIU Brooklyn. He twice drove in four in a game when he hit a grand slam at LIU on May 17 and when he had three hits and drove in four in a win at Mount St. Mary's on April 27.
Bowens, who was named to the Second Team at first base, has been a spark in the Central lineup since returning on April 10. In just 24 games since his return, Bowens has batted .385 with 20 runs scored, 18 RBIs and 16 extra-base hits, including three homeruns. He slugged a team-leading .635 and got on-base at a .473 clip. The Montville, CT product batted .382 in NEC games and also ranked among the leaders in doubles (9), on-base pct. (.453), and slugging pct. (.645). Bowens earned Player of the Week honors on May 14 after posting four multi-hit games in the week and recording at least one RBI and one run during each of his four appearances. He led the league batting .579 (11-for-19) and slugged 1.000 over the four-game sample that included CCSU's NEC series sweep of Fairleigh Dickinson. He had five extra-base hits, five RBI and six runs scored. Bowens, who was the 2017 NEC Tournament MVP, capped the regular season by going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two homeruns with four RBIs at LIU Brooklyn on May 18.
The Blue Devils are making their 16th appearance in the NEC Championship and have won the league crown on five previous occasions, most recently in 2017. Central has gone 26-20 overall this season and posted a 16-8 mark in NEC play, which included a program-record 10-game winning streak in league play.