The Central Connecticut softball team shut out Saint Francis U 5-0 in game two of a doubleheader in Loretto, PA on Friday afternoon after dropping the first 3-2. Junior Kat Malcolm blasted a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to clinch the win for CCSU. The Blue Devils are now 22-13 overall and 8-4 in the NEC.
Reigning NEC and Corvais ECAC Pitcher of the Week Laura Messina pitched both games for CCSU. She struck out eight batters in game one and six more in game two, giving up nine hits in 13.0 innings.
In game two, Messina allowed just two hits en route to her 10th shutout of the season. Prior to Friday's doubleheader, Messina ranked fifth in the nation with nine shutouts, behind a four-way tie at 10. Messina also ranked 18th in the nation in strikeouts and now posts 199 on the season.
The Blue Devils went down early in the first as the Red Flash (21-15, 4-4 NEC) put up two runs in the bottom of the inning, including a solo home run from SFU pitcher Alexis Bower.
Saint Francis U remained on top until CCSU tied it in the top of the fourth. Central posted three singles in the inning to score two runs. Freshman Sarah Drazin sent a single up the middle to score classmate Alexis Debrosse, who reached on error, followed by another from sophomore Hannah Cooper. Cooper drove in classmate Eileen Purcell, who reached base on a fielder's choice.
The Red Flash broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth with another solo homer, this time off the bat of SFU's Sabrie Neeb.
Central tallied five hits on the afternoon, two from Cooper, and one from Drazin and seniors Arielle Bruno and Tessa Brown. The Red Flash registered just one more hit but completed the game errorless in the field while the Blue Devils committed three fielding errors.
After four innings of scoreless play, Drazin led off the top of the fifth with a solo homer, her second of the season, to give CCSU a narrow 1-0 lead. The Blue Devils plated one more run in the inning to lift the lead to two.
Central took a commanding lead in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Evie Rentzel led off with a single to second followed by a successful bunt from Brown to put two on base. With just one out, Malcolm stepped up to the plate to register her fourth home run of the season, tallying three RBI and giving CCSU the 5-0 lead.
The Blue Devils posted 13 hits compared to just two for Saint Francis U in game two and went errorless in the field. The Red Flash committed three errors.
Malcolm went 2-for-4 with three RBI and one run scored, leading the CCSU offense. Rentzel went 3-for-3, scoring one run while Purcell, and junior Ashley Black added two hits apiece. Bruno, Brown, Drazin and Cooper each posted one hit.
The Blue Devils will continue NEC action tomorrow, April 19, in another doubleheader. CCSU will play Robert Morris at 12 p.m. in Moon Township, PA. Fans can follow all of the action via LIVE STATS.