The Central Connecticut softball team dropped game one of the NCAA Regionals to the 10th ranked Louisiana State University Tigers by a narrow, one-run margin on Friday evening at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, LA. The Tigers earned the win by a score of 3-2, handing Central its first post season loss and snapping a seven-game win streak.
Sophomore Laura Messina pitched six innings for the Blue Devils, allowing just five hits and walking only one while allowing only one earned run. She also struck out two batters on the day to add to her impressive season total, which now stands at 241. Her record is now 27-10 on the season.
The Tigers kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the first, posting two runs on two Blue Devil errors to put LSU up by two.
Central narrowed the deficit to one in the top of the second when, with two outs, freshman Evie Rentzel registered the first hit of the game. She laid down a bunt and beat out the throw to first. A deep overthrow to the first baseman sent Rentzel around the bases to score the first NCAA tournament run in CCSU softball history. Central entered the bottom of the second down by one.
In the top of the third, junior Arielle Bruno stepped into the box and blasted a homer over the left field wall to tie the game at two. The home run is her 10th of the season, the 19th of her career, and ties her for the CCSU single-season record.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers broke the tie after a hard hit line just past freshman shortstop Eileen Purcell plated a runner. The run put the Blue Devils down by one, for a deficit they would not overcome.
The Blue Devils posted three hits in the game compared to LSU's five. The Blue Devils were led at the plate by Rentzel, who hit two of the three hits for CCSU.
Central will play Northwestern State University tomorrow, Saturday, May 18 at 4 p.m. (3 p.m CDT).