SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University softball team returns to NEC action this weekend, traveling to face Central Connecticut on Saturday and Wagner on Sunday with both doubleheaders set for 1 and 3 p.m.
The Bulldogs (5-25, 0-2 NEC) opened conference with back-to-back losses to Robert Morris and have since then dropped a 1-0 decision to Boston College on Wednesday. In the contest, redshirt sophomore Logan Paul (Shaker Heights, Ohio) threw a career-high five strikeouts, getting the Bulldogs out of two jams, while limiting the Eagles to one run off nine hits. Despite a 0-3 record this season, Paul's performance against BC helped the pitcher lower her ERA to 5.11.
Freshman Gabrielle Ermish (Pottstown, Pa.) continues to lead the staff with a 4.53 ERA, while also leading the team with 27 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched. Sophomore Colby Norris (Toano, Va.) remains winless in the circle, but seconds Ermish with 24 strikeouts this season.
Recording one of the team's two hits against BC, rookie Nicole Zukowski (, N.Y.) improved to .231, while senior Haylee Haas (Moorpark, Calif.) continues to lead the offense, batting .263. Sophomore Kaleigh Goulart (Marion, Mass.) totals a team-high three homeruns and three doubles, while Haas and senior Taylor Burger (Killingworth, Conn.) hold the team's only two triples this season.
Most recently, Central Connecticut (5-15, 1-3 NEC) split games with Wagner, after being swept by Robert Morris to open NEC play. CCSU defeated the Seahawks, 6-4, before falling in game two of the doubleheader, 9-6.
The Blue Devils are led offensively by junior Brittany Camara, who averages .358, while also leading the team with seven stolen bases this season. Classmate Alexis Debrosse bats .324 and tops the team with three homeruns and two triples.
The pitching staff is headed by junior Emily Sargent, who is 5-11 on the season, totaling 31 of the team's 33 strikeouts. Sargent posts a 4.31 ERA in 99 innings pitched.
Last season, the Bulldogs swept the Blue Devils at home in part of a six-game winning streak, earning the final spot in the conference tournament.
The Seahawks (8-17, 1-1 NEC) will take on the Bulldogs on Sunday after facing Fairleigh Dickinson in a doubleheader on Saturday. Wagner is coming off split games with CCSU and Monmouth. Most recently, the Seahawks won the battle of the birds, topping the Hawks, 5-3.
Karen Prihoda leads the Seahawks offensively, batting .437 with a team-high .644 on base percentage, 10 doubles, one triple and 15 RBI. Kaila Smith has knocked a team-best five out of the park, but averages .210 on the season.
Gina Massaro leads the pitching staff with a 3.23 ERA, posting a 1-0 record on the season, but Morgan Brown has seen the most time in the circle, sitting 5-4 with a 4.75 ERA. Brown has fanned a staff-best 28 batters in 63 innings.
Last year, the Black and Gold swept Wagner in Smithfield, including a 6-5 win in nine innings.
Action is set to begin on Saturday at 1 p.m. in New Britain and Sunday at 1 p.m. in Staten Island. Fans can follow live stats at bryantbulldogs.com.