Blue Devils Beginning to Find Their Groove

by Dillon Meehan

Following last week’s string of games, Central Connecticut is beginning to find their form. Winning four of their five games this past week, the Blue Devils have now won seven out of their last nine games overall.

“You get into a little bit more of a groove, I think it’s better to say we’re evolving as a team,” Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey said.

On Tuesday, the Blue Devils (16-12, 7-3 NEC) came back from a 1-0 deficit in the third inning to defeat Quinnipiac 6-3.

Just a half inning later, CCSU was able to kickstart the comeback. Junior Nick Garland led off the inning by reaching safely on an error by Quinnipiac’s third baseman. The next at-bat senior Nick Landell walked, while fellow senior Franklin Jennings moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.

With runners on second and third, freshman Chris Kanios grounded out at third to score. Garland and Landell would score on a wild pitch during the following at bat, giving the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Devils extended their lead in the forth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior Sean Udris grounded into a double play allowing fellow junior Ron Jackson to score, giving the Blue Devils a 3-1.

CCSU would extend their lead in the fourth inning to 5-1, with hits from junior Ryan Costello and Landell.

“The emergence of Ryan Costello was big for us Tuesday,” said Hickey. “He delivered with a clutch hit for us to win the ballgame.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Jennings practically scored by himself. He reached first safely with a leadoff bunt, and proceeded to steal both second and third base before scoring on a throwing error by the catcher.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth Quinnipiac hit a two-run home run to make it 6-3 but were unable to retake the lead.

Freshman Andrew Braun started for the Blue Devils and completed three innings, allowing only one run and two hits. Arik Sypher came on in relief for the final six innings, allowing only two runs and three hits.

“With conference games losing, trying to maximize pitching depth is crucial,” said Hickey of the ability to . “Arik Sypher continued to throw strikes and continue to take advantage of their aggressiveness. The more versatility and more depth you have, the better you’re going to be, that’s what we are striving for.”

Following Tuesday’s game, the Blue Devils went on the road for a four game series against LIU-Brooklyn, winning three of the games.

The Blue Devils won Friday’s opener shutting out LIU-Brooklyn 5-0.

It was the Blue Devils third shutout in NEC play this season.

The Blue Devils started the scoring off in the third, when freshman Buddy Dewaine walked with the bases loaded. On the next at bat, Costello singled to score two runs to extend the lead to 3-0.

Costello would get another RBI in the fifth inning, when he launched a double to left field to score junior Dean Lockery, extending their lead to 4-0.

CCSU would add their final run in the eight, when junior Ron Jackson singled in Jennings who had tripled to center field.

Senior Brendan Smith pitched eight shutout innings, allowing seven hits.

Saturday saw both teams split the doubleheader. The Blue Devils won the opening game 9-8, scoring all of their runs in the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth, the Blue Devils were trailing. Freshman TT Bowens started the comeback with a pinch hit single to score junior Dylan Maher. With the score at 5-1, four singles from Mitch Guilmette, Jennings, DeBrosse and Kanios to score four more runs.

Following that, the bases were still loaded with no outs. With the score tied 5-5, Lockery earned a walk with the bases loaded to score a run, as Costello lined a double off and cleared the bases to make it 9-5.

The Blue Devils offensive inefficiencies reappeared for the second leg of the doubleheader, when they were only able to score four runs off of nine hits.

The Blue Devils trailed 4-1 in the fifth inning before Bowen’s third home run of the season tied the game. But the Blue Devils could not complete the comeback, as LIU would add another two runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure their lone win in the series.

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