The Central Connecticut softball team continued the USF Under Armour Invitational on Saturday with a double-header loss to Eastern Kentucky by a score of 6-1 and the University of Illinois-Chicago 3-2. Senior Nicole Springer brought in both runs in the game against UIC with a home run in the top of the sixth to force an extra inning.
"Nicole had a great home run to tie the game against UIC," Head Coach Jeff Franquet said. "Our team struggled on offense today, but we'll get back on track when we hit the field again tomorrow for the final day of the tournament."
Game 1 vs. Eastern Kentucky
Senior Jordan Tingley took the mound for the Blue Devils going into game one against Eastern Kentucky (9-3). She pitched five innings in the loss and her record drops to 1-1. Classmate Springer stepped in in the sixth inning to close the game for Central before the Colonels sent three batters back to the dugout to end the game in the top of the seventh.
EKU put the first points on the board in the bottom of the second inning. A Blue Devil error and a triple by the Colonels brought in the first run followed by another runner crossing the plate during a caught fly ball to left fielder junior Arielle Bruno. The play put the Blue Devils down two.
It was Eastern Kentucky who scored again the bottom of the fourth inning. The Colonels, on a trio of singles, sent one more player across the plate to increase the Central deficit to three.
The Blue Devils responded in the top of the fifth when junior Tessa Brown shot a single to left field. Senior Sarah Emery took Brown's place on first before freshman Eileen Purcell launched a double to center field to bring Emery home. The teams entered the bottom of the fifth with Central down, 3-1.
The Colonels cinched their victory in the bottom of the fifth after senior Melissa Costa hit a single to Tingley in the circle followed by a double by Lauren Mitchell to send Costa across the plate. EKU sent Mitchell home on another Colonel single followed by the second EKU double of the inning to draw another RBI.
The score at the bottom of the fifth stood at 6-1. The Blue Devils (1-2) were unable to overcome the deficit throughout the rest of the game.
Game 2 vs. University of Illinois-Chicago
Sophomore Laura Messina took her place in the circle at the start of the match-up against the Flames (2-11). Messina posted seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings allowing only ten hits and two walks. Messina takes the loss in the game and her record falls to 0-2.
UIC kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with three singles to bring in the lone RBI of the inning.
With the Blue Devils down 1-0, Brown approached the plate in the top of the second and sent a shot down the left field line to land her on first base. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Purcell but was left stranded on base as the next two Central batters were sent back to the dugout.
Central remained down by one until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Flame's freshman Laura Swan smacked a homer to notch another run for UIC.
Down by two in the top of the sixth, the Blue Devils kicked off the inning with a double through the left side from Bruno. With Bruno half-way around the bases, Springer blasted a homer to tie the game at two.
Play through the end of the seventh inning remained scoreless and the teams headed into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Bruno was placed on second as a result of the tie-breaker rule, however the Blue Devils were unable to bring her home. Central took the field with the Flame's Coryn Schmit placed on second. A fielding error by Bruno allowed UIC's Laura Swan to make it to first base and Schmit advanced to third. Following a single from UIC's Jenna Marsalli, Schmit crossed the plate to end the game.
The loss drops CCSU's record to 1-3. Tournament competition concludes tomorrow when the Blue Devils face off against Loyola Marymount at 11:30 a.m.