The Central Connecticut softball team (3-4) earned a, 2-1, walk-off victory against Northern Iowa (11-6) on Friday afternoon. The game was dominated by pitching, with both starters throwing no-hit ball into the seventh inning.
Blue Devil freshman Laura Messina dominated the Panthers over the first six innings of the game. The Panthers' first hit off Messina came with one out in the top of the seventh inning, when miscommunication by the Blue Devil defense led to a pop-up falling into short right field. The Panthers used a walk and a single to score UNI's first and only run of the game. Messina got out of the seventh inning with a strike out, her tenth of the game.
Central had pushed across its first run in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
Freshman Ashley Black reached on a strike out and sophomore Arielle Bruno was hit by a pitch settiing up first and second, with no outs in the sixth. After a sacrafice by senior Rebecca Mussatti, Black scored from third on a squeeze bunt by freshman Kat Malcolm.
Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh, senior Macy Stefanski lined a single to left to start the inning. Senior Sarah Vlahos and freshman Ashley Black followed with singles to load the bases for Bruno. Bruno hit a ground ball to second base scoring the winning run.
Messina allowed only two hits and one run over seven innings in the complete game victory. She struck out 10 batters and allowed only two walks. With the win she is now 2-2 on the season.
Over her last 18 innings, Messina has posted a 26-4, strike out-walk ratio and a 2-0 record.
"Laura did a great job in the circle today, she was a couple of feet away from a no-hitter," head coach Jeff Franquet said after the game. "I can't say enough about the job she has done the last three games."
The Blue Devils will wrap-up day one action tonight at 6:30 p.m. against Miami (OH).