The Central Connecticut softball team is slated to play its first game of the 2014 NEC Tournament Thursday, May 8, at 2 p.m. in Smithfield, RI. The Blue Devils enter the tournament as the #2 seed and will face #3 Fairleigh Dickinson Thursday.
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The Blue Devils earned the first NEC Championship in program history last year and look to defend their title this season at the 2014 NEC Tournament hosted by Bryant University. CCSU enters the double elimination tournament with an 11-5 record.
Here's a look at how CCSU matched up with the tournament field earlier this season:
CCSU vs. LIU Brooklyn | 4/5/14 | New Britain, CT | L, 4-0/L, 4-3 (8)
The Blue Devils suffered their only NEC sweep of the season at the hands of the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds at home on April 5. LIU shut out CCSU in game one by a score of 4-0, scoring four runs on just seven hits before the two squads took game two to eight innings.
The two squads were deadlocked at the end of seven innings in game two with three runs apiece before LIU scored the winning run in the top of the eighth. CCSU's three runs came from a two-run homer off the bat of junior Kat Malcolm and an RBI single from senior Tessa Brown.
The Blue Devils posted five hits in game one followed by eight in game two. Junior Laura Messina tallied nine strikeouts on the day.
CCSU vs. Fairleigh Dickinson | 4/12/14 | Hackensack, NJ | W, 1-0/W, 5-0
CCSU traveled to Hackensack, NJ to face Fairleigh Dickinson on April 12 as part of a two-day NEC road stint, earning a sweep of the Knights on back-to-back shutouts. The Blue Devils claimed game one by a narrow margin of 1-0 on a solo home run by senior Arielle Bruno in the top of the third before taking game two 5-0.
Central blasted 11 hits in game two including a two-run double by sophomore Eileen Purcell as well as two RBI singles from Brown.
Messina tallied nine strikeouts in game one while allowing just three hits. She continued her impressive showing in the circle in game two, fanning 10 batters and allowing just five hits.
CCSU vs. Bryant | 4/13/14 | Smithfield, RI | W, 10-2/L, 7-2
Central traveled to Smithfield, RI on April 13 to face the Bulldogs for its second conference doubleheader in a two-day period. CCSU dominated game one 10-2 before falling to the Bulldogs 7-2 in game two.
In game one, CCSU scored 10 runs on 17 hits, compared to two runs on five hits for Bryant. The Bulldogs rallied for a comeback in game two, posting four runs in the bottom of the sixth to seal the win.
Entering the games coming off of a doubleheader against FDU the day before, Messina stayed strong in the circle, posting eight strikeouts in both games for a total of 16 on the day.
Fans can follow all of the NEC Championship action live via LIVE STATS and by following @NECsoftball on Twitter. Fans can also watch all of the games LIVE for FREE on NECFrontRow.com. Links to live stats will be posted to CCSUBlueDevils.com as soon as they are made available.
For more information regarding the 2014 NEC Championship, visit the NEC Softball Championship Headquarters page.