by Daniel Bates
The Central Connecticut baseball team dropped their series opener to Long Island University Brooklyn 2-0 on Friday afternoon. The Blue Devils were held to only six hits on the day as LIU’s Baylor LaPointe threw a complete game shutout.
“We weren’t able to capitalize and put pressure on them and on the couple occasions that we did, we didn’t have the right guy up,” explained CCSU Head Coach Charlie Hickey. “But, it’s game one, we have three more starting tomorrow and we’ll come out and play as hard as we can.”
With the loss, CCSU slips to 15-21 overall and 7-10 in Northeast Conference play, while LIU improves their record to 11-22 overall and 5-6 in the NEC.
The Blackbirds kept consistent pressure on the Blue Devils all game long. LIU loaded the bases in the top of the first, but senior pitcher Casey Brown worked his way out to escape the inning without allowing a run.
LIU broke through and scored the first run of the game in the top of the fourth, following Charles Misiano’s RBI single up the middle. A great diving stop by sophomore second baseman Dean Lockery ended the inning, allowing the Blue Devils to limit the damage to just one run.
“He’s one of our best players and we expect him to do that stuff,” said Hickey.
The game was interrupted with two outs in the top of the sixth due to a lightning delay. Before play was stopped, Harrison Preschel had doubled and Andrew Turner walked to put runners in scoring position for LIU. Following an almost 30 minute delay, right fielder Joe Mercadante hit a two out single to left, to drive in Preschel and increase the lead to 2-0.
The Blue Devils made a late push in the bottom of the ninth; scraping together back-to-back singles to threaten the LIU lead. Senior Corey Lerche and sophomore Nick Garland recorded base hits to place runners on first and second, but LaPointe finished the Blue Devils off with a game-winning strikeout to seal the win.
Senior Matt Martinez finished two-for-three at the plate on the day and was the only Blue Devil to reach third base, when he did so in the bottom of the third inning. Martinez, Lerche and Garland combined for all six of the Blue Devil’s hits in the contest, each with two respectively.
Brown threw seven innings, allowing two runs on nine hits. He struck out five, and walked one.
LaPointe improved to 4-5 on the year, throwing nine innings of no-run ball, giving up 6 hits, with four strikeouts and one walk.
The Blackbirds finished the game with a total of 11 hits. Mercadante and Misiano each had two hits and a run batted in, leading the offense for LIU.
The Blue Devils are on the road next week as they take on Albany on Tuesday and face Northeastern in a weekend series.