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Blue Devil Comeback Halted by Uconn

by Dillon Meehan

In the bottom of the eight inning, Central Connecticut was trailing the Uconn Huskies 5-2, as Chandler Debrosse and Dean Lockery were sitting on first and second.  Ryan Costello stepped up to the plate and blasted a homerun into deep right-center field, tying the game up at 5-5.

However, in the following inning Uconn would retake the lead, after Isaac Feldstein singled in two runs with the bases loaded to make it 7-5.  In the bottom of the ninth, the Blue Devils simply couldn’t respond.

“We give them an extra out and got caught in the middle of the order and we payed for it,” said CCSU head coach Charlie Hickey after the game.

The close loss to their in-state rival snapped the Blue Devils (10-10, 4-2 NEC) three game winning streak.

Patrick Mitchell started the game for the Blue Devils. The sophomore pitcher played well, allowing only one hit before being pulled after two innings.

“With some injuries in our pitching staff at the front end, it makes us protect the pictures in the middle of the week a little bit more,” said Hickey on his decision to pull Mitchell early.

Austin Salnitis came in for relief in the top of the third. However, the junior struggled in his lone appearance this season, giving up three hits and allowing two runs before being pulled without recording an out.

Arik Sypher came on in relief of Salnitis but struggled at first, walking the first batter he faced in four pitches.

Ron Jackson was the next at bat, making a diving catch at first base and fired over to Dean Lockery at second for the force out.  Lockery then threw home and beat the runner at the plate, but Nick Garland dropped the ball when attempting to tag the runner who scored safely. Instead of completing a rare triple play, the Blue Devils were now down 3-0.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Blue Devils had bases loaded with Lockery up to bat. Lockery swung on the second pitch he saw and drilled a line drive into right field, scoring two.

With the Blue Devils down 3-2, they tried to get creative to bring home the game tying run.

Dean Lockery took off to steal second, hoping to force Uconn into making an error to score the runner from third. But it backfired; instead of getting in a run down at second, the Uconn infielder threw over to third and tagged out Tyler Coleman.

“It was a sign, it’s not one of my favorite plays. It works in little league, but it doesn’t work at this level. The batter has an 0-2 count, you’re hoping that with some young infielders that they have that they’re gonna throw the ball around a bit. More often than not, at this level it doesn’t work. It’s not something I’m a fan of. If you’re better at the plate you don’t try one of those plays,” Hickey said of his decision.

The Huskies grabbed some insurance runs in the top of the seventh when Wily Yahn hit a sacrifice fly ball into deep center field, expanding the lead to 4-2. A few plays later, Zac Susi hit a double down the right field line, scoring the runner from second base to make it 5-2.

CCSU had 11 hits, which was capped off by Garland getting three hits in five at-bats.  Costello had three RBIs, thanks to his homerun while Lockery added another pair.

The Blue Devils left 13 runners on base, which was the main reason for their offensive struggles.