Pioneers Fall 4-3 to CCSU in NEC Tournament First Round

NORWICH, Conn – Attempting to the tie the game with two outs in the ninth, sophomore Jesus Medina (New York, NY) was thrown out at home by CCSU first baseman Dom Severino and the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils escaped Thursday night with a 4-3 win over Sacred Heart in the NEC Tournament at Dodd Stadium. With the loss, the Pioneers enter the loser's bracket of the Tournament and will take on Wagner tomorrow afternoon at noon.

Down 4-2 with runners on second and third and two outs, sophomore Jayson Sullivan (Charlton, NY) legged out an infield single to allow junior Kenny Byram (Ponte Vedra, FL) to score from third but as Medina attempted to come all the way around from second, Severino made a perfect throw from first to home to end the game.

Previously 3-0 in NEC Tournament play, senior right-hander Kody Kerski (Waterbury, CT) earned the loss after allowing four runs (two earned) in six innings of work. Juniors Dan Wertz (Cross River, NY) and James Cooksey (Norwalk, CT) both pitched scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

CCSU did all their damage in the fifth inning, capitalizing on two Sacred Heart errors to score four runs. Bryan Rivera started the rally getting hit by pitch. J.P Sportman followed with a base hit to right field to put runners on first and second. Next batter, Franklin Jennings grounded to shortstop but an errant throw by freshman Zack Short (Hurley, NY) allowed Rivera to score all the way from second. After a strike out gave SHU two outs, Kerski wildly threw away a Josh Ingham bunt attempt and both Jennings and Sportman scored to put CCSU up 3-0. The Blue Devils capped off the rally with a RBI single by Dom Severino that scored Ingham from third base. Ingham reached third on the error by Kerski.

The Pioneers battled back in the seventh as CCSU returned the favor with some sloppy fielding of their own. Sacred Heart was able to cut the CCSU lead in half off a couple of crucial Blue Devil errors. Freshman Keith Klebart (Orange, CT) started the rally with a base hit up the middle. Following a walk to Ted Shaw (Southington, CT), back-to-back errors by CCSU middle infielders allowed both Klebart and Shaw to score and the Pioneers trailed by just two runs after seven.

The Pioneers went down 1-2-3 in the eighth before the thrilling ninth inning. Byram was hit by pitch with one down to start the final rally, while Medina doubled to left-center field to create the opportunity for Sullivan.

We will have live audio of tomorrow's elimination game against Wagner on the Pioneer Sports Network at noon.