The Central Connecticut softball team (1-1) split day one of the 2013 season at the USF Under Armour Invitational in Clearwater, FL. After falling in the season-opener against Georgia State 3-1, the Blue Devils topped Stephen F. Austin 8-4. Freshman Hannah Cooper posted five RBI on the day and sophomore Kat Malcolm blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth against SFA to help earn the win.
"I am very proud of how we came out in our first two games of the season," Head Coach Jeff Franquet said. "Nicole [Springer], Kat and Hannah had great success behind the plate today and Jordan [Tingley] pitched a solid game against Stephen F. Austin. We are looking forward to heading back onto the field tomorrow."
Game 1 vs. Georgia State
CCSU fell to Georgia State (9-7) by a score of 3-1 in the first game of the double header. Cooper shot a double to left field to bring in the Blue Devils' solo run.
Sophomore Laura Messina started in the circle for Central and gave up only five hits in the first match-up of the season. She takes the loss and begins her sophomore campaign 0-1.
Messina held the Panthers to only one hit in the first inning before the Blue Devils took to the plate and GSU freshman pitcher Katie Worley sent the first three batters in the lineup back to the dugout.
Georgia State loaded the bases in the top of the second on two walks and a Blue Devil error before Messina ended the Panther run with a clutch strikeout. CCSU took to the plate and Cooper singled up the middle before the Panthers secured a double play and a ground out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, senior Nicole Springer approached the plate with two outs and hit a single to right field for the second hit of the day for Central. Freshman Brittany Ernst took Springer's place on first as a pinch runner before Cooper blasted a double to left field, sending Ernst home for the first Blue Devil run of the season.
The Panthers responded in the top of the fifth with a three-run homer to left field from sophomore Callie Alford. It was her fourth of the season.
The Blue Devils put one runner on base in the bottom of the fifth on a single to right field from freshman Evie Rentzel and another single in the sixth landed Springer on base, but Central was unable to capitalize on either hit and the game concluded with Georgia State on top 3-1.
Game 2 vs. Stephen F. Austin
Central claimed a win in the second game of the day against Stephen F. Austin (5-10) by a score of 8-4 with some explosive action at the plate.
Senior Jordan Tingley started on the mound for the Blue Devils and pitched six innings in the match-up. Classmate Nicole Springer entered the circle for Tingley in the top of the seventh to wrap up the game. Tingley, credited with the win, begins her senior campaign 1-0.
In the first inning, the Ladyjacks were the first team to put points on the scoreboard on a double and an RBI.
After two and a half innings of scoreless play, SFA added two more runs to the board. Junior Elizabeth Arana kicked off the inning with a triple down the right-field line. The Ladyjacks followed that up with a single to Blue Devil freshman shortstop Kenya McVey to send Arana home. After another single and an advanced runner, SFA added another run before Cooper connected with McVey on the throw to catch junior Charlotte Singleton stealing and send the Blue Devils back to the plate down three.
CCSU responded with a double from junior Arielle Bruno followed by a single from Rentzel. With two on base, Cooper approached the plate and launched a single to left field to bring Rentzel and Bruno home, making the score 3-2. Central was able to hold off the Ladyjacks in the top of the fifth.
Entering the bottom of the fifth down one, the Blue Devils loaded the bases with a single from freshman Gianna Sandstrom, a walk and an error. The set-up was prime for Malcolm who belted a right-field grand slam to bring senior Kelsey Barlow, sophomore Ashley Black and Renzel home. With the hit, Malcolm notched four RBI and gained the lead, 6-3.
With the bases cleared, Springer singled to left field and was followed by a Cooper homer that drove in the pair to increase the lead to 8-3.
In the top of the seventh, SFA added one more run to the board to end the game with a final score of 8-4.
The Blue Devils will return to action tomorrow for another double header beginning at 10 a.m. against Eastern Kentucky (7-2). Following that match-up, Central will face off against the University of Illinois-Chicago (0-10) at 12:15 p.m.