All posts by Dillon Meehan

Blue Devils Drop Two of Three In Weekend Series Against Binghamton

by Tyler Roaix

The Central Connecticut State University baseball team went into a weekend series at Binghamton riding high, scoring a combined 17 runs in their last two games. But the offense struggled to get much going, scoring just six runs total in the three-game set.

The weekend series began with a double header on Saturday. The early game featured a CCSU offense that struggled to get anything going, as Central fell 6-1.

The Blue Devils started off well with junior Dean Lockery, hitting a leadoff homerun to take an early 1-0 lead. He would later single to account for two of the team’s three hits in the game.

Justin Yurchak carried Binghamton to the win. The third baseman went two-for-three at the plate, but his two-run homerun in the fifth inning delivered a huge blow to Central’s plans for a comeback.

Nick Gallagher was strong on the mound for Binghamton, allowing just one run on two hits in six innings of work. Gallagher also had two strikeouts, pushing his record to 6-1 on the season. The bullpen got the job done as well. Joe Orlando and Nicholas Liegi finished the game giving up just one hit combined.

Brendan Smith received the loss for CCSU, dropping his record to 3-6 on the year. He gave up two runs on five hits, but pitched just four innings. Tom Curtin struggled as well; he allowed three earned runs in three innings out of the bullpen.

Central was able to bounce back in the second game with a hard-fought 3-2 victory, earning a split of the double header.

The Blue Devils again jumped out to an early lead with a homerun from Mitch Guilmette, leading off the second inning. They added on two more in the fourth inning to make it 3-0, after an RBI triple from Buddy Dewaine and an RBI single from Dylan Maher.

Ron Grant had an impressive start for Central, holding Binghamton to just two hits in the first five innings of play. But the Bearcats finally broke through in the sixth.

Grant ended up allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out six in 5.1 innings of work. Two hits and a walk in the inning helped Binghamton cut the lead to just one going into the final inning.

The Bearcats again rallied in the seventh, getting runners on second and third with two out. Coach Charlie Hickey brought in Patrick Mitchell to get the final out of the game. Mitchell did just that, inducing a ground ball out to secure his third save of the year.

The rubber match proved to be the most exciting game of the series, as the two teams took it to extra innings in yet another pitchers duel.

The scoring started early yet again as TT Bowens singled in a run to give the Blue Devils an early 1-0 lead. But the Bearcats answered quickly with a solo homerun off the bat of Brendan Skidmore, tying it up at one run apiece. The teams then traded runs in the sixth to bring the score to 2-2.

The pitching duel then continued all the way into extra innings. But in the bottom of the 11th inning, Skidmore came through again for the Bearcats with a bases-loaded walk-off single to secure the win and the series.

The weekend performance brings Central’s overall record to 22-18. But their second-place position in the Northeastern Conference remains unchanged with a 12-5 record in NEC play. The Blue Devils will be back at home this weekend to face conference opponent Sacred Heart.

Baseball Inches Closer To Top Spot in Conference

by Dillon Meehan

After Central Connecticut (21-16, 12-5 NEC) dropped the first two games of their weekend series against Bryant (17-21, 10-4 NEC) 6-3 and 7-0, a weekend series sweep seemed likely.

“On Friday were going against James Karinchak, who when healthy is one of the ten best pitchers in the country. It’s deflating from that standpoint, but thats what the game is,” said Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey. “This team at times struggles with it’s confidence and gets deflated; that’s the danger of running into a hot pitcher. And sometimes that can get contagious and impact other games and kick yourself.”

However, during the second game of this past Saturday’s doubleheader, freshman pitcher Mike Delease threw a two-hit complete game shutout en route to an 8-0 win against the NEC’s best team.

The Blue Devils rode the momentum from Saturday’s win to hold onto a 9-7 win on Sunday to split the weekend series, and are inching closer to the top spot in the conference.

“It was a good opportunity in the middle of our season to sort of access where we can play,” said Hickey. “Losing the first two of the series can be discouraging, but we get a good performance from Mike Delease yesterday and today was an old fashioned, gut wrenching win.”

Since Bryant has joined the NEC in 2008, the Bulldogs have only lost three series total in conference, with their last loss coming four seasons ago in 2013.

“The reality is, they beat us last year eight out of nine times, and they were the better team,” said Hickey in regards to the difficulties facing Bryant over the years.

It’s the first time since late-March that the Blue Devils lost consecutive games in conference play.

“There’s still a long way to go. We get an off week against Binghamton, an out of conference team next week, and then we finish with three series to go,” said Hickey on his team’s outlook for the rest of the season.

In the second game of the double header, Delease allowed a base hit to leadoff the game, but Bryant could only gather another two baserunners for the rest of the game.

The Blue Devils grabbed the lead in the third inning when junior Dean Lockery doubled down the right field line, with runners on second and third, to score the first two runs of the game. Later in the inning Lockery would score on a baulk etc make it 3-0.

In the fifth, the Blue Devils put the game out of reach. Freshman TT Bowens brought in two runs with a single to left field making it 5-0. On the next at-bat, junior Mitch Guilmette would launch a three run homerun to right field to make it a better 8-0.

On Sunday, Bryant jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. However, in the bottom of the third, the Blue Devils would come back to take the lead when junior Nick Garland hit a solo homerun to left field to tie it. A few at-bats later, junior Ryan Costello would bring home his fellow classmate Nick Landell with a sacrafice fly to take a 2-1 lead.

The teams traded runs until the bottom of the eight inning, where the Blue Devils blew the game open. Up 5-4, Costello singled in Landell to make it 6-4. A ground ball by Guilmette would make it 7-4, with a single by senior Tyler Coleman that would bring home two more to give CCSU a 9-4 lead.

Bryant would attempt a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, having the first three batters reach base safely before scoring three runs.  However, Bryan’t comeback fell short and Blue Devils were able to walk out Sunday with a split series,

“The first game was where we didn’t realize compete as hard as we should of and were feeling sorry for ourselves. But to their credit to go out there and fight and get a win shows how mature they are,” said Hickey.

The Blue Devils will have a stretch of out of conference games away against Albany, Binghamton and Quinnipiac, before beginning a weekend series against Sacred Heart starting May 5.

Football Holds Annual Blue And White Spring Game

Pete Rossomando is confident his team will improve from a disappointing 2016 season.

by Dillon Meehan

After spending the past month and a half waking up early and preparing for the upcoming fall season, Central Connecticut’s football team held it’s annual Blue and White spring scrimmage, with the White team edging past the Blue team 10-0.

The White team, led by backup quarterback Tanner Kingsley and backup running back Drew Jean-Guillaume jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on their first drive of the game. Kinglsey scored  on a 25-yard run after keeping the ball on a read-option play.

On the next drive, another long run by Kinglsey set up a 25-yard field goal by Frankie Palmer, making it 10-0. That would be the final time either team had a chance to score.

The game excessively featured the current Blue Devils roster with first, second and third stringers drafted to each team.

While the game is mostly put on for students and fans to catch a glimpse of the team before the fall, it’s difficult to perform well when backups and starters are randomly mixed together.

“The hard part is you break up the offense, when you do that you have 11 guys that have been playing together for the whole spring, and when you break them up they just aren’t used to playing together,” said Blue Devils head coach Pete Rossomando.

After the initial first drives, the majority of starters were pulled in order to give backups reps and to protect themselves from being injured.

“We didn’t play Drew, Cam or KJ that much simply because we’re just trying to keep them healthy. We saw enough out of those guys all spring that we just needed to take them out,” said Rossomando on putting his team’s heath first. “We’ve got two guys out because of surgery and overall we’re just thin in numbers, so we’re just trying to keep everyone healthy.”

After a difficult 2-9 season, including going 1-5 in conference, the Blue Devils are looking to bounce back in 2017.

“We’ve looked good. I think we’ve done a nice job. Spring was really positive offensively with Jake and the other veteran group, our offensive line is coming together,” said Rossomando on his outlook for the team. “You couldn’t tell from today because we split them up, the communication just isn’t the same.”

Now heading into his second season as the full time starting quarterback, Jacob Dolegala is looking to add on to his record breaking 2016 season. The junior set the school record for most passing yards in school history with 2,934 yards, which was also good for second bets ever in the history of the NEC. On top of that, Dolegala completed 60 percent of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions.

“He’s had a great spring, it’s just different when you have a guy back there that knows what he is doing. We’ve talked about synergy in the past and there is just so much synergy with him out there. He’s not just worried about what he’s doing, he’s lining every else up too,” said Rossomando on his starting quarterback.

The Blue Devils start their season on September 1. against Syracuse, with their first home game coming on September 9, against Fordham.

UMass Win Big Against Blue Devils 15-0

by Dillon Meehan

In a rare showing of poor form, Central Connecticut State University fell to University of Massachusetts 15-0 this past Tuesday.

After winning seven of their nine previous games before Tuesday’s outing, the Blue Devils (19-13. 10-3 NEC) suffered their biggest loss of the season.

“There was nothing we did well. I’m definitely trying to get this out of my memory,” said Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey after the game.

UMass jumped out to an early lead in the first inning, when Ryan Lever hit a two run homerun to left field. 

In the following inning, Dylan Robinson singled home a run to make it 3-0, before Lever followed up with his second homerun of the game, doubling UMass’s lead by making it 6-0. Following Lever’s second homerun, freshman pitcher Arik Sypher, who earned the loss, was pulled after throwing 1.2 innings.

“We didn’t do anything well. We didn’t hit, we didn’t pitch, we didn’t field, we didn’t do anything,” said a frustrated Hickey after the game.

UMass added another run in the third inning to make it 7-0, before recording six straights in the fourth and exploding for six runs to extend their lead to 13-0.

“We were displaying some ugly baseball which is pretty uncharacteristic for us, especially as of late,” said Hickey.

The Minutemen added two more runs in the sixth inning to make it 15-0, and cap off their impressive scoring output for the day.

“Obviously you never want to suffer a loss like this, but luckily enough it was out of conference play so it won’t impact us too much.”

Despite being shutout for only the third time this season, the Blue Devils faired well offensively, garnering nine hits. But they weren’t able to bring home any runs.

Senior Franklin Jennings and junior Dean Lockery played well, each grabbing a pair of singles. While junior Mitch Guilmette had both a single and a double.

“Luckily we have some veteran leadership, so this shouldn’t carry over to the weekend series,” Hickey said of his team’s chances this weekend.

Hickey was right, despite the rough outing against UMass, the Blue Devils were able to sweep the weekend series against Mount St. Mary’s, winning Thursday’s game 7-2, Friday’s 7-5 and Saturday’s game 11-3.

Following the weekend series, the Blue Devils continue to be in their grove, winning eight out of their last ten games. The Blue Devils face against Siena, then have a four game weekend series against Bryant, the NEC’s top-seeded team. If the Blue Devils win the majority of the games this weekend, they will steal the top spot in the conference.

Hartford Had It’s Moment This Weekend, But Will It Last?

This weekend marked the first home series for the Hartford Yard Goats, Connecticut’s newest professional sports team.

Despite being the Hartford Yard Goats last season as well, the team was forced to play all of their games outside of Hartford due to Dunkin’ Donuts Park not being built in time for the season.

In the days leading up to the game, it was announced that the 6,000 seat ball park had sold out, and 2,000 standing room only seats were being sold for $8.

It’s an optimistic sign for a city that has been looking to revitalize itself, and natives of Hartford can see it come to fruition.

“I do think this is going to help the city,” said Alexx Dennis, a 23-year old East Hartford resident who spent much of his life living in Hartford. “Although it was a long and bumpy road to finally get the stadium built, I think that it will be beneficial for the city and possibly the state as a whole in the long run. I know I’ll go to a few games this summer.” 

Residents are being cautiously optimistic about another planned revitalization of the state capital, especially after seeing many failed attempts.

“I mean, I hope. But the science center and other hotels that have been in downtown for some years now, and haven’t provided enough attraction for everyone to enjoy,” said Joel Rivera, a 27-year old Hartford resident who has spent his entire life living in the city. “The Yard Goats on the other hand, have a good chance to bring in a new crowd. I’ve seen people from all over the state in the first three games. Definitely more people who aren’t from Hartford rather than actual residents though. Which I guess is a good thing for the city.” 

But bringing in professional sports teams aren’t the only thing the city is doing to improve itself. The residents are also aware of how else the city is helping the youth.

“I think they’ve been doing a decent job as a late. For example, schools are doing a lot more for the youth than like what I had as a kid. There are new tools for better education, better after-school programs and uniforms which helps crack down on bullying in my opinion. But also a lot of people feel like it’s more gentrification going on in the city rather than actually helping. Starting in downtown Hartford and working its way out into the more urban areas,” added Rivera.
Although the team was swept by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, each game featured a large crowd. However, it is only the first three games of a long season, so the jury is still out on whether the team will have a long term positive impact on the team.

Will Project Scorpio Be Enough To Save Microsoft?

by Dillon Meehan

In May of 2013, then-head of Xbox Don Mattrick, unveiled the Xbox One, Microsoft’s successor for the Xbox 360.  It was supposed to give the company a leg up against their competitors, specifically Sony and their system, the PlayStation 4. However, it was the opposite.

The rumors of mandatory Kinect usage, the need for the system to always be connected to the Internet and the banning of used games from working on another system, were all true.

It was a PR disaster for the company, by mid-June after E3 – the video game equivalent of the Super Bowl – the Xbox One’s grave was already dug. Their competitors, Sony, had a slightly more powerful system that did not require constant Internet activity. It allowed gamers to share used games with their friends, and didn’t require a camera that was always listening to you even when the console was “off.” To top it all off, it was $100 cheaper.

Less than a week after E3, Microsoft – with their tail between their legs – backtracked on their ridiculous demands.

A few weeks later on July 1.  2013, Don Mattrick had left Microsoft to join Zynga and become their CEO, a position he would resign from a year and a half later.

In March 2014, it was announced that Phil Spencer had been selected as the new head of Xbox. The former intern-turned executive, had spent nearly three decades with the company and promised to turn the company in a new direction, and he has. But the damage was already done.

Fast forward to early 2017, the PS4 has outsold the Xbox One nearly 2-1.  The estimates are around 50 million PS4s in the wild, compared to 30 million for Microsoft.

However, Spencer and the rest of the Xbox team plan to change that with Project Scorpio. At the end of Microsoft’s E3 presentation in 2016, a sizzle reel teased an upgraded Xbox One with the code name “Project Scorpio.” It was touted as the “most powerful console ever,” that would deliver native 4k graphics and be set to release in “holiday 2017.”

In the first week of April, Microsoft gave Eurogamer and Digital Foundry an exclusive look at the system. So far, it has lived up to the hype. The system is four and a half times more powerful than the original Xbox One that launched in fall 2013, and nearly twice as powerful as the PS4 Pro, Sony’s more powerful version of their PS4 which launched in fall 2016.

For Microsoft to make this system a massive success and to try to cut down on Sony’s lead, it needs to have a $400 price point. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. Since it’s announcement, it has repeatedly been referred to as a “premium” system for hardcore gamers.  In English, that means $500.

Now maybe that is simply Microsoft attempting to be coy, then have a massive reveal at E3 with a $400 price point. However, that is very unlikely. During their tech reveal, Eurogamer estimated $500 as well.

Apart from price point, there is also an issue about exclusive games.  Software sells hardware, it’s that simple. Nearly 20 years ago, Steve Balmer purchased a Bungie from Apple so that Halo could be developed for Microsoft’s first game console, the Xbox. The rest is history, as the Halo series became a staple for their systems.

But that was 20 years ago, as Microsoft is now in dire need of exclusives and their new “killer app.” The Halo and Gears of War franchises are still strong, but not what they were during the days of the Xbox 360. Apart from those, the only games Microsoft has that cannot be matched by Sony are the Forza series and Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive.

While Sony doesn’t have games in the first or third person shooter genre that match up Halo or Gears of War, they offer plenty more than Microsoft. They have the Uncharted series, The Last Of Us, Horizo: Zero Dawn, Neir: Automata, Bloodborne as well as the upcoming Spiderman game as well Hideo Kojima’s newest game, Death Stranding.

On June 11, Microsoft will have their last chance to win fans over for this generation. Not only will they need the right price point, they will need the right games as well.

Premier League Week 32 Recap

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action featured all top-five teams earning a victory and top club Chelsea extending their lead to seven points.

Although Manchester United has not lost a match since Oct., goals have been hard to come by. Prior to Sunday’s match, the Red Devils have only scored 43 goals, well behind the other top clubs. United’s offense woke up this week with a 3-0 victory at last-place Sunderland.

United’s first goal came in minute 30, thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimović. The Sweden international met a pass by Ander Herrera, and scored from just outside the box with a shot that curled into the right side of the net. It was his 17th goal of the season, good enough for fourth in the league, tied against Chelsea’s Diego Costa. Manchester got off to a hot start after halftime, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan scoring his fourth goal of the season in minute 46. The former Dortmund star took a left-footed shot that went past Sunderland’s goalkeeper into the right side of the net. Forward Marcus Rashford secured the victory for United with his goal in minute 89. Ibrahimovic provided the assist on the short-range goal. It was Rashford’s fourth goal of the season in his 12th substitute appearance.

Sunderland’s performance was overshadowed by Sebastian Larsson’s red card in minute 43. The midfielder was booked following an aggressive slide on United’s Herrera. This left Sunderland down a man for the rest of the match. Their offense produced just nine total shots, and held just 29 precent of possession. Forward Victor Anichebe had a goal opportunity in minute 40, with a shot to the left side of the net that was saved by United’s David De Gea.

With the win, Manchester United moves up to fifth in the table. It was the club’s first victory since March, 19. If the offense continues to produce like they did on Sunday, they can continue their push for a spot in the top-four. Paul Pogba’s play has been disappointing recently with his last Premier League goal being in December. His hefty cost has resulted in him still finding spots in the starting lineup. If Pogba steps up, the offense will improve. The Red Devils’ next match will be a tough test as they host league-leaders Chelsea on Easter Sunday. United’s last loss was a 4-0 defeat at Chelsea. The Blues have won two straight.

Sunderland continued their disappointing season with the defeat. They currently sit at last place in the table and face relegation to the English Football League next season. They barely escaped relegation last season with a 17th place finish. Being relegated gives the club an opportunity to rebuild and grow their young players. Their next match is against West Ham United.

Liverpool bounced back from their draw against Bournemouth on Wednesday with a 1-2 victory at Stoke City. The win keeps them ahead of Manchester City, who is just two points behind in fourth place.

Two late goals secured the comeback victory for the Reds. Midfielder Philippe Coutinho scored in minute 70 with a shot from the center of the box into the left side of the net. It was the Brazil international’s ninth goal of the season. Forward Roberto Firmino scored just two minutes later with a stunning goal. He met a pass by Georginio Wijnaldum that went over Stoke’s defense. Firmino then scored with a curling goal from just outside the box, being his tenth goal of the season.

Stoke scored first with a goal by Jonathan Waters in minute 44. The Ireland international met a pass by Xherdan Shaqiri in the center of the box and scored with a header. It was Waters’ fourth goal of the season. Stoke had an opportunity to tie the match in minute 74 with a close-range attempt on goal by forward Saido Berahino. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved the shot.

Liverpool’s successful season continues. Their balanced, unselfish attack puts them among the best. They sit behind second-place Tottenham by five points, and first-place Chelsea by 12. A top-two finish is not out of reach, but it will be hard to catch up. Tottenham have won six straight. The Reds’ next match is against West Bromwich Albion, who currently sits at ninth in the table.

The loss was Stoke’s fourth straight and sets them back to 13th in the table. Their last victory came on March, 4. against relegation-facing Middlesbrough. Their next match is against Hull City who is just outside of the relegation zone at 17.

Other notable matches next week include Southampton- Manchester City and Tottenham- Bournemouth.

 

North Carolina Wins Sixth NCAA Tournament

by Kyle Flynn

March Madness – arguably the pinnacle of American sports – is what everyone is waiting for all year long regardless of age, gender or interest in sport. Filling out a bracket and rooting for crazy upsets while pulling for an alma mater to go all the way, is a thrill like no other.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are possibly the most storied university in the realm of college basketball, and best team in the 68-team field in 2017. They carved their path to the championship game by beating Texas Southern, Arkansas, Butler, Kentucky and Oregon.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, the mid-major school that has always been a Final Four hopeful, made it into the Elite 8 this season for the first year. This year was an anomaly for the Bulldogs, as they finished the regular season with just one loss before defying all odds and making it all the way to national title game against the Tar Heels. Gonzaga defeated South Dakota State, Northwestern, West Virginia, Xavier and South Carolina to get to the final game.

This was the eighth ever national championship game that featured two number one seeds, and as expected, it came down the wire. North Carolina, who lost the 2016 title game at the buzzer to Villanova, was looking for redemption against the Zags. This year’s rendition of the championship had a total of 46 made shots and 44 fouls called. Many would agree that the game was too much in the referees hands, as the officiating was so tightly called that neither team was able to get a great rhythm going in the game. Joel Berry II, Carolina’s star guard finished with 22 points, six assists and three rebounds. Berry made all four of North Carolina’s three-point tries, and became the first player to score 20 points in back-to-back title games since Bill Walton (1972-73).

The two sides were trading blows and exchanging leads throughout the game, especially during the second half of the final game of the 2017 season. In the second half, Gonzaga went eight entire minutes without scoring a basket, but was able to create foul calls and get to the free throw line to keep themselves in the game.

Nigel Williams-Goss was Gonzaga’s top scorer in the game with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but he shot just 5-17 from the field. Only one other Gonzaga player finished the game with more than 10 points (Perkins, 13).

Tar Heels frontcourt stars Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks, who average 34 points per game during their tourney run, finished with just 23 points on 9-24 shooting. Meeks blocked a shot in the final minute of the game, which led to North Carolina being crowned champion for the first time since 2009.

The victory was head coach Roy Williams third national championship win and 100th overall tournament victory.

Joel Berry II earned MVP honors for his performance in the Final Four, while dealing with an ankle injury.

This was North Carolina basketball’s sixth national championship win in their school’s history, third most in history behind UCLA (11) and Kentucky (8).

NHL Turns Down the Olympics

by Tyler Roaix

The National Hockey League made waves with commissioner Gary Bettman’s announcement that the league would not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

There are several factors that leave the NHL and its owners reluctant to allow their players to compete in the Olympics. The first is simply that the players could get hurt. In reality, if a player suffers an injury requiring them to miss an extended period of time, the NHL team ultimately has to face the brunt of that burden.

Another major hurdle in the way of a deal, is that the NHL wants the International Olympic Committee to somehow compensate the league to essentially rent out its players. The two sides have fiercely debated over who should pay various expenses, such as travel and insurance.

One final concern for the NHL is a unique one. Whenever the Winter Games come around, the league puts its season on hold while its players are overseas. Typically the break is roughly two and a half to three weeks, but it makes it difficult to schedule the rest of the season. It forces teams to have more back-to-back situations that players are accustomed to. In a physical sport like hockey, that kind of wear-and-tear can take a serious toll on a player’s body.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was quick to show his displeasure in Bettman’s announcement, stating that he didn’t care what the league had to say. He still plans to take part and play for Russia. Several players have also expressed their dissatisfaction. Some are also following Ovechkin, saying they will compete regardless of what the league thinks.

As a hockey fan, it’s hard not to be disappointed in the NHL’s decision. The Olympic Games are when we get to see the very best from each country go at it. It adds another layer to the idea of competition. There is something special about fighting for the title of “Best in the World” that a regular NHL season could never give.

Bearing this in mind, what this means for the NHL next season is also worrisome. The league stated they are moving forward as if they won’t be participating. This means that when they generate the schedule, there won’t be any break or layoff as there normally is in an “Olympic year.” So what happens if a player, like Ovechkin, decides to go anyway? What would that mean for the Capitals? Would the NHL reprimand him in some fashion? These are all questions that have to be troubling fans, players, owners and even Bettman himself.

If both sides are unable to come to an agreement before the games get underway in South Korea next winter, it would be the first time since 1998 that the NHL doesn’t participate. Although it sure seems like the NHL will stand its ground, nothing is definite.

After all, there was a similar situation before the 2014 Games until the sides came together months before the start. As a fan, you have to hope that some sort of deal can be made. Because if not, it could get very ugly.

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.