The Central Connecticut softball team dropped both games in Sunday's doubleheader at Monmouth. The Blue Devil defense held strong in game one, forcing extra innings, before the Hawks claimed the victory 1-0 in the 10th. In game two, an early lead sealed CCSU's fate, 5-2. Central falls to 21-12 overall and 11-3 in the NEC.
Monmouth is now 23-12 overall and 10-4 in the NEC.
Sophomore Laura Messina pitched both games for the Blue Devils. She struck out 12 batters in 9.1 innings in game one and added three more in game two. She faced 69 batters on the day, walking only four. Messina's record is now 16-8 on the season.
"The first game was very close and we really battled," Head Coach Jeff Franquet said. "Unfortunately we left some runners on base and committed some errors today that prevented us from earning the wins. We have six NEC games left and we are hoping to get a few more wins to make it to the tournament."
The teams remained scoreless through nine innings of play. In the 10th inning, a tie-breaker rule was enforced in which each team placed a runner on second prior to the start of their at-bat. Freshman Katie Schmidt landed on base for Central and advanced to third on a single to left field by Barlow. Following the hit however, she was unable to make it across the plate before three outs were registered.
In the bottom of the tenth with one out, a single up the middle brought in the placed Hawk runner for the winning run of the game.
The Hawks started the scoring in the bottom of the first, putting up three runs for an early lead.
Central battled back however, and narrowed the Monmouth lead to 3-2 after the top of the third.
In the top of the second, freshman Evie Rentzel blasted a triple, her 13th extra base hit of the season, and scored on a throwing error by the shortstop.
In the top of the third, sophomore Kat Malcolm hit her ninth home run of the season to bring the Blue Devils within one. The homer renders her just one short of the CCSU single season record, held by Barlow and classmate Nicole Springer.
The Hawks added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to increase their lead to 5-2 and held CCSU in the top of the seventh to end the game.
The Blue Devils posted five hits in game two, two each from Malcolm and Rentzel and another from freshman Hannah Cooper. Central left five runners on base compared to seven for Monmouth.
CCSU returns to action Wednesday, April 17, at Holy Cross for a doubleheader. The Blue Devils swept the Crusaders, who are 13-19 overall, earlier this season.