The Central Connecticut softball team opened Northeast Conference play sweeping the Wagner Seahawks (4-16) in less than seven innings. The first, a 13-1 win in five innings, was followed up with a six-inning 8-0 shutout from sophomore Laura Messina, her ninth. The shutout ties Messina for second in CCSU history. Senior Kelsey Barlow hit a two-run homer in game two to put her at 21 career home runs, breaking the CCSU record.
The Blue Devils improve their record to 10-9 (2-0 NEC) with today's victories.
"Our team performed very well today both offensively and defensively," Head Coach Jeff Franquet said. "Laura gave up only one run all day and our offense was explosive. We are looking forward to this season in the NEC and to tomorrow's match-up against LIU Brooklyn."
Messina took the mound for Central in both games, pitching 11 innings on the day and her season record improves to 6-5. Messina faced 17 batters in the five-inning 13-1 win. She struck out 10 batters, walked one and allowed only one hit.
The Blue Devils came out swinging in the top of the first inning taking an early lead 4-0. Junior Arielle Bruno kicked off the inning, reaching base on a Seahawk error, and was followed by a single through the right side by sophomore Kat Malcolm. Junior Tessa Brown sent a shot to left center to load the bases.
Barlow came to the plate and put the ball into play. Bruno was out at home on the play and the bases remained loaded. Malcolm scored on an error by the Wagner catcher and Rentzel followed with a three-run homer to clear the bases and put CCSU up 4-0. The Blue Devils would go through the batting order before heading into the bottom of the first inning.
Central added two runs in the top of the second to increase the lead to 6-0. Malcolm crossed the plate following her seventh career double and Barlow plated senior pinch-runner Sarah Emery.
The Blue Devils rallied in the top of the fourth starting with a homer by Rentzel over the center field wall to drive home Barlow and sophomore Gianna Sandstrom. With the lead increased to 9-0, Central put four more runs on the board to reach the final total of 13.
The Seahawk's lone run came on a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth inning. Central posted 15 hits and 11 RBI in the event.
Messina registered five strikeouts in her ninth career shutout and gave up only three hits in game two. She completed the 8-0 win in six innings.
Bruno kicked off the game with a double to left center field. She was followed by Malcolm who earned an RBI on a ground-out to first base to drive her in. Barlow smacked her 21st career home run to break the CCSU record and plate Brown who had walked. The homer put Central up 3-0 until the top of the fifth inning.
Central added another run to the board on a lead-off solo homer by Bruno in the top of the fifth and closed the game in the top of the sixth with a two-out, four-run rally.
Senior Stephanie Chotkevys smacked a homer in a pinch hit situation to put the Blue Devils up 5-0 and was followed by an additional home run from senior Nicole Springer, her fourth of the season. Springer drove in Malcolm and Bruno, who had walked, on the three-run shot.
The Blue Devils posted seven hits, eight RBI, one double and an impressive four home runs to conclude day one of NEC play.
Central will face the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds tomorrow, Sunday, March 24, in Brooklyn, NY. The doubleheader is set begin at 12 p.m.