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Baseball falls to CCSU in NEC title game

Steve McLaughlin Photography
Steve McLaughlin Photography

NORWICH, Conn. – Central Connecticut scored single runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth and then held on for a 3-2 victory over the Bryant University baseball team in Sunday's Northeast Conference winner-take-all championship game at Dodd Stadium.

Bryant finishes the 2019 season at 40-20. It is the second time the Bulldogs have lost game seven of the NEC Baseball Championships.

Summoned to start on just two days rest, senior Steve Theetge (Syracuse, N.Y.) turned in 4 2/3 innings of brilliant baseball in the final game of his career. He allowed one unearned run, didn't walk a batter and struck out five.

Junior Gaby Cruz (Miami, Fla.) went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while redshirt sophomore Jimmy Titus (Stafford, Conn.) contributed a pair of hits.

Game Information
Central Connecticut 3, Bryant 2
Records:
Bryant (40-20), Central Connecticut (30-21)
Location: Dodd Stadium (Norwich, Conn.)
W|L|S: Jared Gallagher | Jackson Harrigan

Key Moment

  • The Bulldogs hit into double plays in the first, fourth, seventh and ninth innings on Sunday. The double play in the ninth ended the game.

How it Happened

  • After 4 1/2 scoreless innings, CCSU took advantage of a dropped pop up to take the lead in the fifth. The miscue put Buddy Dewaine on to open the inning, a sac bunt moved him to second, a fly ball pushed him to third and Chris Kanios beat out a ground ball to second to score him.
  • Bryant took its first lead of the game with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the sixth. Junior Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.) singled, went to second on a bunt and scored on single to center from sophomore Sam Owens (Scituate, R.I.). Cruz followed with a double into the left field corner, scoring Owens all the way from first.
  • CCSU tied the game in the bottom of the seventh as Dave Matthews hit an opposite field home run to lead off the inning.
  • The Blue Devils then took the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Kanios's hard ground ball to third got through for a double to start the inning. Matt Bertochi then squared to bunt but pulled back and slashed a soft ground ball through the vacant spot at short for an RBI single.  

Stats

  • Theetge allowed one unearned run on two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five over 4 2/3 innings.  
  • Freshman Jackson Harrigan (Acton, Mass.) allowed two runs on two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five over 2 1/3 innings of relief.
  • Titus finished 2-for-4.
  • Wright went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
  • Owens went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
  • Cruz finished 2-for-3 with an RBI double.

Notes and Notables

  • The Bulldogs fall to 16-9 all-time in the NEC Tournament.
  • Ward finishes the year with 95 hits, the fourth-most in a single season in program history.
  • Titus finishes the year with 80 hits, the eighth-most in a single season in DI program history.
  • Theetge's start was his 16th of the season, the most in a single season in DI program history.
  • Theetge finished the year with 102 2/3 innings, the most in a single season in program history. He is the first to throw 100 innings in DI program history and just the third ever. 
  • Theetge has now thrown 344 1/3 innings in his career, the most by a pitch in program history.
  • Theetge has now struck out 96 batters this season, the third-most in program history.
  • Theetge allowed just one unearned run on five hits in 13 2/3 innings in the NEC Tournament.