Consider this among the most bizarre innings in Northeast Conference baseball history:
On Sunday in Hamden, Quinnipiac led Central Connecticut 10-2 after four innings and 10-3 through eight. Central scored nine runs in the top of the ninth to take a two-run lead, a rally highlighted by Dylan DelaCruz's grand slam to make it 12-10.
In the bottom of the ninth, Quinnipiac's Mike Blumenthal hit what would have been a game-winning three-run homer -- but he was called out after passing the runner on first base.
The two runs counted, leaving the game tied. DelaCruz drove in the winning run in the 10th on a sacrifice fly, giving Central a 13-12 victory, the 499th of coach Charlie Hickey’s career.
DelaCruz, a junior outfielder from East Lyme, was named NEC player of the week for his performance in Central’s four games at Quinnipiac (three victories). He batted .526 (10-for-19) with four home runs, seven runs and 13 RBI.
Central (24-24, 13-15) has an outside chance at making the NEC tournament, needing a four-game sweep over Mount St. Mary's AND Wagner to lose four to Bryant AND LIU Brooklyn to lose at least three out of four to Monmouth.
Hickey is 499-384-4 in 17 seasons. He was 106-61 in three seasons at Providence and is 393-323-4 in 14 at Central.
The Blue Devils play a non-conference game Wednesday at Hartford, which needs to win two out of three this weekend against Stony Brook to qualify for the America East tournament for the first time in program history.