Huskies Drop Series Capper to Blue Hens, 9–7

Story by Catherine Morrison

Photos by Sadie Parker

NEWARK, DE — On a sweltering Sunday afternoon, the Northeastern Huskies (30–8, 18–2 CAA) looked to put themselves back together after a devastating Saturday loss to the Delaware Blue Hens (12–22, 8–16 CAA) that ended their NCAA-best 20-game winning streak.

Wyatt Scotti was tapped to start for the Huskies, while Wyatt Nelson got the start for the Blue Hens. In what would become a battle of the Wyatts, Scotti ended up searching for his command in a rare shaky outing. 

Scotti started off the first inning by hitting three batters in a row to load the bases. The third batter, Joseph Carpenter, ended up leaving the game in the next inning.

Up next was the massive Jack Goan, who slammed a deep sac fly to right field to put the Blue Hens on the scoreboard. Scotti’s troubles were far from over, as he gave up a hit to the first batter he faced in the second inning, Eric Ludman. Ludman was sent home, along with Kyle Baker, by a double from Vinny Vaccone.

“We hit too many guys in the first inning there,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “The first inning was tough because we had some guys on our side that didn’t score. We escaped with only one run so I thought that was huge. Then [Scotti] kind of settled in and gave us five innings. But he just has to attack the zone better.”

Northeastern looked to get ahead of the Blue Hens in the top of the third and led off with a hit by catcher JP Olson. Spenser Smith, who had four extra-base hits in the doubleheader on Saturday, advanced Olson with a hit. Olson got his opportunity to run home two batters later on a single by Scott Holzwasser. 

The Huskies seemed to be back in prime form and hunting for the lead in the fourth after a scoreless third by Scotti. Their patient approach paid off, as the first two batters Nelson faced, Ryan Cervone and Corey DiLoreto, walked. Olson singled for the second straight at-bat, sending Cervone home and DiLoreto to second. Both advanced on a wild pitch as Nelson struggled to regain control of the inning. A sacrifice flyout and an RBI double was all it took to tie the game at three runs apiece, and Nelson was replaced by Derek Wakeley.

Wakeley looked to get out of the jam but struggled, walking his first batter with four straight pitches and sending Costello home on a wild pitch that went behind the catcher to the backstop. Wakeley then gave up a double to Max Viera, scoring Holzwasser.

It looked like the Huskies had regained their mojo, setting the basepaths aflame and getting a 6–4 lead. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as the Huskies only gained one more in the sixth inning while their struggling bullpen gave up the lead. David Stiehl gave up two runs in the sixth, tying the game. Northeastern looked to retake the lead in the top of the seventh but were stymied by sophomore Joey Silan, who entered Sunday having pitched just one inning all season.

The Blue Hens had no such problem with Northeastern replacement Brandon Dufault. The leadoff batter Vaccone took first on a hit by pitch, then advanced to third when Dufault’s pickoff throw sailed over the first baseman’s head. Delaware made Dufault pay with a humongous two-run home run by Goan to make it 9–7.

“I thought he was throwing hard, he looked good,” Glavine said of Dufault. “I thought he was throwing hard, looked fresh, he hadn’t thrown since Wednesday. It was good to get him out there in that situation and I would do it again. I thought it was absolutely the right spot to bring him in, it just didn’t work out today.”

Northeastern was unable to come back in the ninth. After winning 20 games in a row, they’ve lost consecutive games for the first time since mid-February.

“We just had to come out and try to win a series, really,” Glavine noted. “It was good in a sense to have the pressure of the streak off, but today all we were trying to do was trying to win a series . . . We challenged them, and they got us today.”

One bright spot for Northeastern Huskies was Holzwasser, who reached base every time he made a plate appearance — three singles and two walks. When he crossed home plate in the fourth inning, Holzwasser officially beat the Northeastern record for career runs, previously held by Hernan Guerrero.

(Fun fact time: Delaware beat Northeastern in the 1998 conference tournament to advance to the NCAA playoffs, and Guerrero was named to the All-Tournament Team with teammate Carlos Peña. Ever heard of him?)

But back to Holzwasser.

“Scott was awesome this weekend, I think he was our best player, no question about that,” Glavine said. “Great power, great speed, great defense, brings the ability to get on base, steal bases, brings toughness, brings speed, brings athleticism . . . we saw them all this weekend. He does it all and the guys love him, he brings a lot of energy, and he did that this weekend . . . He’s had a tremendous career and we’re going to definitely need him moving forward.”

18 and Counting: Huskies Topple Pride, 10–3

By Milton Posner

What seemed in the early stages like another Northeastern blowout, then like a war of bullpen attrition as Hofstra made a late-inning rally, wound up being another Northeastern blowout after all.

A 10–3 win boosted the Huskies to a 16–0 conference record (28–6 overall) and extended their win streak to 18 games, the longest in the nation. That conference start, the best in CAA history, has afforded the Huskies an eight-game division lead; although pandemic schedules are subject to last-minute change, Northeastern has likely clinched first place already.

The nature of the game begot unorthodox substitution patterns. The Huskies and Pride were just three games removed from the capper of their four-game weekend series, and both have four-game series beginning in two days. (Milton Posner and Catherine Morrison will call Northeastern’s Friday, Saturday, and Sunday games live for WRBB.)

The Huskies answered the time squeeze with a planned bullpen day. Brian Rodriguez started for the first time all season after 11 appearances out of the pen, ceding a hit and a walk in three scoreless innings. 

“Brian has started for us in years past. He had enough rest from the weekend, so it was an easy decision,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine explained. “We really wanted to win that first inning and keep the momentum on our side. I thought he did awesome — pounded the strike zone, pitched really well. I didn’t know how many innings he was going to give us; I just told him to go out and see how it went.”

Thomas Balboni, James Quinlivan, Owen Langan, Jake Gigliotti, David Stiehl, Eric Yost, and Brandon Dufault combined to forfeit just three runs the rest of the way. It was the second-most pitchers Glavine has used in a game this season, equaling the 11–2 win over UMass on March 3 (eight pitchers) and trailing only the 11–1 win over UMass on 4/7 (nine). Glavine confirmed that everyone is expected to be available for Friday’s game, save for Rodriguez.

Hofstra used a healthy six pitchers themselves, but it appeared to be a lot less deliberate. Starter Jack Jett — who had tossed six or more innings in six of his eight starts this season — exited the game without recording an out. Five days after the Huskies tagged him for seven runs on ten hits, they tagged him again. But this time, they didn’t need as many hits.

Jeff Costello and Scott Holzwasser walked to open the game. When they attempted a double steal on ball four to Jared Dupere, third baseman Ryan Morash couldn’t handle catcher Nick Marrero’s throw, allowing Costello to score. A Max Viera double cashed in Holzwasser and chased Jett from the game.

“That’s their Friday starter; he just pitched against us the other day,” Glavine noted. “They were probably thinking the same thing we were — wanting to win the first inning and get the momentum. So they gave it to one of their best starters.”

Michael O’Hanlon was first out of the pen for the Pride, and though he retired the side in order, back-to-back sacrifice flies from Danny Crossen and Ben Malgeri completed an odd Husky inning: four runs on just one hit, with no runners stranded.

“It might have been our best offensive inning of the whole year,” Glavine said. “Our guys really grinded out at-bats. We got to two strikes a couple of times but they couldn’t put us away. We really made [Jett] work.”

From then on, the Pride were left to play the same sort of bullpen game the Huskies did. And though O’Hanlon, Chris Mott, and Tristan Nemjo allowed just three combined hits in six innings of work, they still forfeited three runs to the Huskies. It was only in the ninth inning that the Huskies scored by stringing hits together. All told, the Huskies produced 10 runs on the afternoon using ten hits (including four doubles, two from Max Viera), six walks, six stolen bases in six tries, and three hit-by-pitches.

“We didn’t get the long ball today,” Glavine noted. “It was a bit of a hard day to hit; the wind was blowing in, so that’s what we need to be able to do — grind out those at-bats, make them work, drive up pitch counts, work our walks, get hit by pitches, steal bases, put pressure on them, and then get some big hits. We also had some big sacrifice flies. We talk about having a dynamic, relentless offense that scores runs in a lot of different ways. Today we didn’t do it with the home run; we did it with everything else, which was really great to see.”

After six empty innings to start the game, Hofstra finally broke through against Husky hurler Jake Gigliotti, manufacturing a run with a single, a walk, and a single. David Stiehl finished the inning in Gigliotti’s stead, but ceded two runs of his own in the eighth on a two-run double by Kevin Bruggeman. Eric Yost came on and nearly got burned on his first pitch to Brian Goulard, but the fly ball settled into Ben Malgeri’s glove on the center field warning track to neutralize the threat.

A home run would have pulled the Pride within two runs. But the Huskies posted their three spot in the top of the following frame, and the 10–3 final score barely reflected the fingerprints of the snuffed-out Hofstra rally. The Huskies retained their streak, and the attention that has accompanied it.

“We’re streaking. We’re just kind of embracing it, owning it. Every day there’s more confidence than there was the day before,” Glavine said. “No one’s arrogant, no one’s taking anything for granted, no one’s nervous or worried about the streak. We talk about it openly. We know we have the longest streak in the country. We love it.”

“We know everybody wants to beat us,” he continued. “We know every time we play a game now, someone can knock us off. The guys keep rising to the occasion. If anything, it’s heightened their focus, their energy, their passion, and their enjoyment of the game. It really works for us in so many positive ways and it’s been great to see.”

Huskies Ensnare Tigers in Series Opener

Story by Milton Posner

BROOKLINE, MA — Heading into this weekend’s series against Towson, Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine emphasized the recent successes of his starting pitchers, who ceded five measly runs to Delaware across 25 stellar innings last weekend. Among them was freshman phenom Cam Schlittler, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball in the third game of the series.

Friday afternoon, Schlittler outdid himself.

On the back of seven sparkling scoreless innings from the freshman, plus some savvy small ball from the offense, the Huskies took game one from the Towson Tigers, 3–0. It was the Huskies’ tenth consecutive win, their eighth straight to open conference play, and it moved them to 20–6 overall.

Not that Schlittler didn’t have company. Tiger starter Josh Seils matched him pitch for pitch most of the way. Seils was a bit tough to pinpoint heading into the game; he’d been named as a top 10 CAA prospect by Perfect Game USA before the season and was lauded by his coaches as a potential MLB draft pick, but entered Friday’s tilt with an ERA of 7.01.

“He’s a guy where you don’t really look at the numbers,” Glavine said. “I like him; I’ve liked him since the first time he pitched against us.”

It proceeded for a while as a pitchers’ duel, with both hurlers, particularly Schlittler, forcing weak contact off the end and handle of the bat. Most of the runners who reached in the first four innings did so by way of a walk, error, or a weakly hit ball that found a seam in the defense.

But in the fifth the Huskies broke through, or at least broke through on the scale a 3–0 small-ball pictures’-duel sort of game would allow. It began when Husky center fielder Ben Malgeri reached on a miscue by Tiger third baseman Josh Lysaght. Teddy Beaudet bunted Malgeri to third, a Spenser Smith single put runners at the corners, and Jeff Costello plated the run with a squeeze bunt.

“The wind was crazy; 30- to 40-mile-per-hour gusts make it really difficult to hit,” Glavine explained, noting that this sort of small ball becomes more important in an environment not conducive to driving the ball. (Neither team recorded an extra-base hit.)

The Huskies tacked on a second run a few minutes later, as Scott Holzwasser became the first of a handful of Huskies to split the seam between second and short. Holzwasser’s RBI single extended his on-base streak to 44 games, the longest such streak a Husky has had during Glavine’s tenure.

The Huskies tacked on another run in the seventh. Again it was Malgeri who set the table, this time by taking a pitch to the body. He swiped second, took third on another Beaudet sacrifice bunt, and scored on yet another Smith single. Seils was pulled shortly thereafter, having ceded three runs (one earned) over six and two-thirds innings.

The inning was also notable for a cameo by Towson reliever Teddy Blumenauer, who entered sporting a 23.40 ERA. Blumenauer hit Jared Dupere with his second pitch and was immediately yanked.

The top of the eighth saw Schlittler return to the mound with his pitch count nearing 100. His command had cratered, as he hit back-to-back batters and forced Glavine’s hand.

“He’s a competitor; I asked him if he felt good and he said he did,” Glavine said. “It’s a Friday and you want your starters to go as long as they can because you have three games behind this one. I shouldn’t have let him go out, my mistake; he’ll always say he wants to go out.”

But regardless, save for Sebastian Keane’s two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout against UMass Lowell on March 12, Schlittler’s start was the best any Husky has posted all year. In seven shutout innings, he fanned eight while allowing just four hits and one walk.

Reigning CAA Rookie of the Year Eric Yost pitched out of Schlittler’s jam in the eighth, then fireballer Brandon Dufault closed the door in the ninth to seal the win.

“He comes in and pounds the strike zone and gets us out of it in the perfect spot to get Brandon back out there, because he hasn’t been out there in two or three weeks,” Glavine said.

The Huskies and Tigers will face off again tomorrow in Brookline, with game one of the doubleheader beginning at 11 AM Eastern and game two beginning a short while after the first one concludes. Milton Posner will call both games for WRBB.

Huskies Bring out the Brooms for Doubleheader Sweep at Hofstra

Story by Khalin Kapoor

Photos by Sadie Parker

HEMPSTEAD, NY — The Northeastern Huskies (14–6) swept the Hofstra Pride (9–9) in a Saturday doubleheader, winning game one 3–2 and game two 13–5.

Northeastern was able to grind out a victory in game one due to stellar pitching from starter Kyle Murphy and clutch hitting from right fielder Jared Dupere. The Huskies took the momentum from that win and carried into their offensive explosion in game two, powered once again by Dupere along with center fielder Ben Malgeri, catcher Matt Olson, and shortstop Spenser Smith.

Game one was a pitchers’ duel through and through between Northeastern starter Kyle Murphy and Hofstra starter Jimmy Joyce. Murphy notched a career-high 12 punchouts over six and a third innings of work, scattering five hits and allowing two runs. Murphy set down seven straight hitters by way of the K and has struck out 22 over his last two starts. Joyce matched Murphy stride for stride and was arguably better, spinning seven innings, striking out 13 batters, and allowing two earned runs.

“Joyce was awesome for Hofstra,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine remarked. “Really really electric . . . and everything was a struggle for us.”

Even though they had trouble getting their bats going against Joyce, the Huskies took advantage of some Hofstra miscues throughout the game, scoring one run each on a balk and a passed ball. Taking what the other team gives you is something Northeastern was trying to improve upon coming into this series.

In the sixth inning against Joyce, Dupere launched a homer to right field, increasing Northeastern’s lead to 3–1 and effectively icing the game.

Northeastern fireballer Brandon Dufault shut down Hofstra in the ninth, notching his second save of the season and securing a game one victory. Murphy, reliever Eric Yost, and Dufault combined to tally 13 strikeouts against just one walk and six hits. In a game where offense was at a premium, the bullpen putting zeroes on the board and taking some pressure off of Murphy was incredibly clutch.

“Game one was a grind, it could have gone either way,” Glavine said. “The guys battled in what was not an easy game . . . [They] played well under pressure, and we came out on top.”

In game two, the Huskies came out firing on all cylinders, plating four runs in the second courtesy of a two-run blast by Olson and another bomb by Dupere. They would never relinquish this lead.

Husky starter Sebastian Keane spun six quality innings to get the win, allowing two runs and striking out eight. Keane benefitted from stellar defense behind him — including some highlight-reel plays by Spenser Smith — and the early four-run cushion that he was tasked with protecting.

“Keane was good . . . though he would tell you it was not his best,” Glavine said. “He fought and he battled . . . settled in and gave us six strong innings.”

After entering the final three innings of action up 6-2, the Huskies went for the jugular, tacking on seven more runs. Leadoff hitter Ben Malgeri hit his first home run of the season, Jared Dupere continued his domination with an RBI double, Kyle Peterson hit a two-run triple, and Spenser Smith capped off the scoring with a solo homer in the ninth.

“Offensively, the guys really took over,” Glavine said. “It was really just a great team win.”

Game one was a grind for Northeastern, but getting that first win was huge to relax the team heading into game two. That relaxed approach led to better at-bats, and with the momentum from the previous win the Huskies struck early and played under less pressure. In game one, Northeastern batters struck out 15 times. Compare that to game two, where they struck out only twice. This progression is a testament to how this team can quickly adapt and change its approach.

This weekend against Hofstra marks the first of many conference series for Northeastern. So far they couldn’t have asked for a better start, as they’ve won their first three and will look to chalk up a fourth against Hofstra on Sunday.

Huskies March Past Minutemen for Doubleheader Sweep

Story by Khalin Kapoor

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — The Northeastern Huskies (10–5) secured a three-game weekend sweep on Saturday afternoon against UMass (7–8), winning the doubleheader games 5–2 and 4–3. Throughout the day, the Huskies were powered by dominant starters Cam Schlittler and Sebastian Keane along with potent hitters Ben Malgeri, Jeff Costello, and Spenser Smith.  

In a seven-inning first game, Northeastern pounced on the Minutemen early, notching three runs on four hits against opposing starter Max LeBlanc in the first. LeBlanc didn’t make it past the second inning and was saddled with the loss, giving up four runs. On the season, Northeastern has yet to lose a game after scoring the first run.

“We jumped out early and they kept chipping away,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine remarked.

Husky hitters forced LeBlanc to labor through at-bats, waited for the inevitable mistakes, and promptly capitalized on them. In the fourth, Malgeri extended the Huskies’ lead to five with an RBI triple. Malgeri led off both games and had himself a day at the dish, going four for six with two runs batted in, a run scored, three steals, and a walk.

Northeastern hurler Cam Schlittler continued his solid run of starts, spinning five innings of one-run ball, striking out nine, and scattering just three hits. He mowed down UMass hitters early, but a questionable balk call following a couple of hits and a wild pitch in the fifth ended his bid for a shutout. Northeastern coach Mike Glavine had some choice words for the umpire after the call, but it was an overall dominant performance for Schlittler, who was credited with the win.

“I thought Schlittler was outstanding in game one,” Glavine said. “Gave us a chance to win that ballgame.”

The Northeastern offense stalled after the fourth and the Minutemen began chipping away at the lead, bringing the game to 5–2 heading into the seventh. Northeastern fireballer Brandon Dufault came in with some heat, consistently hitting 96 with his fastball to shut the door on the Minutemen and secure the win.

In the second game, Northeastern again jumped out to an early lead courtesy of an RBI double by Costello. UMass starter Daniel Livnat limited Northeastern to just that one run in his five innings of work, but he consistently created jams that he then pitched himself out of.

“We had a bunch of opportunities early in the game to extend the lead and we just couldn’t come up with the big hit,” remarked Glavine. “We just couldn’t get anything going and then finally late in the game we just kept grinding.”

The real story of the game was Northeastern starter and Boston Red Sox draft pick Sebastian Keane. Keane started by retiring the first 14 batters he saw, striking out eight. However, his perfect game bid was broken by UMass slugger Michael Rounds, who tied the game with a solo blast to left field.

It looked like the Minutemen were starting to figure out Keane the third time through the lineup, as second baseman Eddy Hart blasted a two-run homer in the sixth to put them up 3–1. Keane finished his night with a career-high 10 strikeouts, giving up three runs on three hits over seven strong innings.

“Seb was cruising along and pitching great,” Glavine noted. ”I thought he looked awesome . . . as good as he’s thrown for us and as time went on, the at bats got a little bit harder.”

Northeastern’s Smith provided a badly needed offensive spark in the seventh, blasting a triple after working a masterful 12-pitch at-bat. Malgeri drove him in to cut the deficit to one.

“Spenser Smith — huge, huge at-bat, as big of an at-bat we had all day,” said Glavine. “He hit the huge triple and it relaxed our team and was really a game changer.”

In the eighth, the Huskies rallied to take the lead with RBI hits from Costello and Danny Crossen. In the most important moment, the Northeastern offense finally strung some hits together and put runs on the board.

But the drama was not yet over. Reliever Thomas Balboni was brought in to save the 4–3 lead, but he had some trouble finding the zone. After recording the first two outs, he put runners on second and third and forced Glavine to put in Jake Gigliotti. After a walk, Gigliotti recorded a lineout to finish an absolute nail-biter of a ninth inning and secure the sweep.

After an extended hiatus, this weekend series showed some serious versatility from Northeastern, which Glavine recognized. They ran up the score on Friday, manufactured and kept the lead in the first game on Saturday, and rallied to win the second game. Going forward, the Huskies may try and work on fixing some baserunning issues and increasing their batting average with runners in scoring position.

The Huskies face off against Bryant University on March 30 in Rhode Island.

Olson Walks it Off Against River Hawks

Story and photos by Peyton Doyle

BROOKLINE, MA — A close game in any sport will cause palpable tension to form.

In baseball, each pitch could cause an eruption of joy or a sting of regret. There is no clock, the pitcher dictates the pace, and the hitter adjusts as best they can. In no other sport does the home team enjoy such an advantage in the drama of exhilaration and pain.

For the last pitch of the Northeastern Huskies’ (6–5) 2–1 win over the UMass Lowell River Hawks (1–8), it was Northeastern catcher JP Olson who commanded the hearts of the surrounding spectators. 

Lowell reliever Cam Seguin delivered his final pitch of the outing. He watched it leave the bat but was generally unconcerned as to where it was going. His and everyone else’s eyes were locked on Danny Crossen raring to go, one foot on the third-base bag. 

Olson’s fly ball fell into the glove of right fielder Vinnie Martin for an out that didn’t matter. As soon as it touched leather, Crossen’s cleats tore up turf, as he easily made it home ahead of the throw. 

Huskies roared from the dugout. The bullpen beyond left field leapt to their feet and charged toward their catcher, who was smiling like the Cheshire Cat after rounding first base.

Northeastern’s walk-off win was a cherry on top of the team’s first series win of the season. After a 10–7 loss and a 2–0 win on Friday, the Huskies rode Saturday’s win to move above .500 for the first time this season.

In the rubber match, Husky head coach Mike Glavine handed the ball to Cam Schlittler, who had the unfortunate assignment of following fellow redshirt freshman Sebastian Keane’s nine-inning shutout the day prior. Schlittler valiantly competed to match his teammate’s effort, allowing a single run in seven innings in his third start of the season.

“The two freshmen really need to feed off of each other, they are really good friends,” Glavine said. “I am seeing them compete with each other and that friendly competition is taking place. Those two guys are horses and we are going to need them all year long.”

Schlittler faced a few hiccups along the way, but stranded every runner he allowed on. The freshman had the River Hawks pounding the turf with grounders, and his infielders made plenty of plays to keep their opponents off the scoreboard. 

For every ball that found a Northeastern defender, Lowell junior righty Matt Draper countered, refusing to give in. Draper laid into the young Husky squad, not striking out many but generating tons of weak contact. He allowed just two hits over his first five innings.

Northeastern, however, loves to score, and even though it was a chilly day, the bats were bound to get hot. 

Husky designated hitter Ryan Cervone, another freshman, came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth still seeking his first hit of the season. For Draper and the River Hawks, Cervone may have appeared to be a pushover — until he ripped a double down the right-field line. 

When right fielder Jared Dupere walked, the Huskies were poised to get their bats awake and push some runners across the plate. But after Max Viera hit the perfect double-play ball to shortstop Keagan Calero, it was all up to Crossen. The sophomore hit a bouncer to third baseman Cedric Rose, but Rose was playing too far back to have a chance at the speedy Crossen. By the time the ball got to first, Cervone had scored the Huskies’ first run of the game and Crossen was steps beyond the bag.

“Ryan Cervone is a grinder and a kid who brings it every day in practice and will give you a tough at-bat every time he’s in there,” Glavine said. “We need our bench guys to have big years and Danny Crossen is the same mold. Of course we don’t want injuries, but both of those guys are making our team better for the long run.”

But as Robert Frost said, “nothing gold can stay” and the game did not remain easy for the Huskies following their run in the sixth. 

The first batter that Schlittler faced in the seventh, Joey Castellanos, lofted a ball to deep right that was corralled by Dupere but was by far the hardest-hit ball off Schlittler to that point. The next batter, Cam Climo, hammered one to deep center. Northeastern’s Ben Malgeri drifted back but the ball kept carrying, landing beyond the wall in dead center. 

Schlittler fanned two of the next three batters to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Lowell had new life and Schlittler’s day was done. 

The Huskies got men on again in the bottom of the seventh but left two stranded, and in the eighth were set down in order by Draper and Seguin.

Northeastern reliever Brian Rodriguez came in for a clean eighth inning and then handed the ball to Brandon Dufault for the ninth. Dufault faced pressure early on, as Martin ripped a line drive to left for a single. A bunt moved him over, and Glavine took advantage of the open base by intentionally walking Climo. Dufault defused the ticking time bomb, stranding the baserunners with a strikeout and a ground ball to end the inning.

“Brandon has been pitching well but has just had some tough luck this year,” Glavine said. “It has been a combination of everything for him, with some bad pitch calls, poor defensive plays, and he has gotten himself into trouble with some walks. He has struggled to put it all together, but I trust him.” 

Crossen started off the bottom of the ninth for the Huskies, slapping a ball between the second and first basemen. Kyle Peterson followed with a somewhat controversial hit-by-pitch, then Scott Holzwasser laid down a bunt to advance his teammates. With runners on second and third, Olson did all anyone could have asked of him: plate the run.

The Huskies will carry their two-game winning streak into a Tuesday afternoon matchup with Bryant.

Northeastern Falls 3–2 to Old Dominion After a Walk-Off in the 11th

By Sarah Olender

In a hard fought series, Northeastern (3–4) lost the final game against Old Dominion (8–3), 3–2 in eleven innings Sunday afternoon. 

There weren’t many parts of the game that had the socially distanced crowd in Norfolk, Virginia standing up to cheer, but this close game was one of the most exciting because it kept people on the edge of their seats. 

Both teams displayed elite performances, holding each other to one run each until extra innings and chipping away at each other’s pitchers. 

“I thought it was a great series,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “I thought we played well these last couple of days and we really only had one bad inning all weekend long and it swung the whole series, but this thing could have went either way.” 

Cam Schlittler started for the Huskies. In comparison to his performance in the Wake Forest series, he walked a few more batters, but still battled through each inning.  He gave up five hits and struck out four.

“He definitely wasn’t as sharp today. His command was a little bit off. His velocity was good and he was strong,” Glavine said. “If that’s him not at his best, six innings and one run, I’ll take that every time. He’s a competitor [and] gave us a chance to win today.”

When Old Dominion left the bases loaded after a series of small hits, one hit-by-pitch, and a walk in the bottom of the second, Northeastern was lucky that the Monarchs had scored only one run.

In the top of the third, Northeastern started making contact with Monarch starter Ryne Moore’s previously untouchable pitching. Jeff Costello singled up the middle and made his way to third with a stolen base and smart baserunning on a ground ball from Teddy Beaudet. The Huskies tied it up after Spenser Smith hit a sacrifice fly to center field, bringing Costello home. 

The Huskies’ speed and base-running are among their greatest strengths. Old Dominion did a good job of holding the Huskies on the basepaths, which Glavine credited as one of the reasons why Northeastern didn’t come out on top. 

“We couldn’t quite get it going as much as I’d like to this weekend,” Glavine said. “There’s more to it than just stealing bases.” 

In the sixth inning, Eric Yost went in to relieve Schlittler. He pitched a solid inning, facing three batters, throwing 19 pitches, and striking out one. In the bottom of the eighth, Thomas Balboni came in to pitch and he faced six batters. 

Defensively, Northeastern had a stellar showing. Through nine innings, they had only one error, stranded eight Monarchs on base, and held their opponent to just one run.

In the 10th inning, Brandon Dufault took the mound for the Huskies. Dufault, a veteran reliever with eight strikeouts in his four innings pitched so far this year, had two strikeouts on Sunday, but Old Dominion kept trying to find a way to beat his pitching. 

In the top of the 11th, the Huskies started the inning with Smith on second because of the new tiebreaker rule. Ben Malgeri was next and tapped a sacrifice bunt into play, sending Smith to third. Max Viera followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing the speedy Smith to score. 

Old Dominion quickly caught up. With a runner on second, Robbie Petracci hit a double off of Dufault, sending home the tying run while keeping the winning run on base. 

The Monarchs then decided to pinch run Zach Coldsnow for Petracci as Brock Gagliardi stepped up to bat. With no outs and a runner in scoring position, Gagliardi, who was 0-2 on the day, found the confidence to send one to left-center, ending the game with a walk-off single, bringing the final score 3–2. 

The Huskies will return home for a Tuesday tilt with Albany.

Huskies Battle Monarchs, But Battle Battles Back

By Catherine Morrison

On a windy and cold Friday afternoon, Northeastern (2–3) faced Old Dominion (7–2) in Norfolk, Virginia in the first in a three-game series. Northeastern was coming off an 11–2 drubbing of UMass on Wednesday, but was in for a different affair on Friday, when a rollercoaster of emotions ended in a walk-off home run by the Monarchs’ Kyle Battle.

Northeastern started with a leadoff single by Scott Holzwasser, who extended his on-base streak to 23 games. The next three batters were quickly taken care of, leaving Holzwasser stranded. The Huskies wouldn’t get another chance to score until the fourth inning.

Kyle Murphy, the Huskies’ season opener, battled wind conditions and didn’t have the command he needed. The Monarchs capitalized with a two-run homer by Carter Trice. Old Dominion stranded a couple of baserunners but ended the inning up 2–0.

Murphy settled in at the top of the second and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. He was plagued again by the wind in the bottom of the third, however, as he walked Trice and gave up a run-scoring double to Andy Garriola. After walking three in a scoreless fourth inning to bring his pitch count to 88, Murphy was replaced by stalwart middle reliever David Stiehl.

“Conditions were a little sneaky tough today; it was windy and blowing hard to right and it was a little bit cool,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “It was tough to get a grip on the ball and so the command Kyle had wasn’t what he wanted it to be . . .  But overall Kyle settled in; I think he gave us quality innings there.”

After three slow innings, Northeastern’s lineup finally got something started when Jared Dupere singled and advanced to second on an error. Corey DiLoreto followed with a roaring single up the middle to plate him. At this point, Monarch hurler Hunter Gregory was clearly feeling the heat, and walked Max Viera to put runners on first and second. Jeff Castello sent DiLoreto home with a single but was stranded on base.

“Corey made some big plays there and [on] defense he’s a big target back there; he’s long and he’s good to throw to,” Glavine said. “I think it gives them a comfortness to let the ball fly and know he’s gonna cover a lot of ground. He made . . . a diving catch, a couple of leaping catches so the ball found him today . . . He’s swinging the bat well and he’s off to a heck of a start for us.”

Northeastern tacked on six runs across the sixth and eighth innings, putting the score at 8–5 and a win within reach. But the Monarchs returned in the eighth inning with a vengeance. A couple of hits, a passed ball, and an RBI groundout set the table for Trice, who smacked his second home run of the ballgame to cut the Husky lead to one. Northeastern closer Brandon DuFault looked like he would make it out of the inning alive when he struck out Garriola, but caught an unlikely break when the third strike got past catcher Teddy Beaudet and Garriola stole first. 

“Obviously no one’s trying to make mistakes but we need to be able to play under pressure,” Glavine noted. “I feel like we just handed them those runs. I’ve seen our guys make those plays hundreds of times so we just gotta learn from it.”

Old Dominion took advantage of Garriola’s second chance and sent him home on a double by Robbie Petracci to tie the score at eight. DuFault finally escaped the inning by striking out Coutney. 

After Monarch closer Aaron Holiday retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, Dufault walked Brock Gagliardi to kick off the home half. He settled down and induced a groundout and a strikeout for two outs, but the Monarchs returned to the top of their lineup with the tension peaking: a runner on second, two out. Battle swung hard, connected with a satisfying crack, and sent the ball over the fence for a walk-off two-run homer. 

“That one hurt,” Glavine said. “We did so many things well and just not enough. We have to find a way early in the season to win these ballgames.”

Northeastern will be back at Bud Metheny Baseball Complex Saturday at 1 PM for the second of the three-game series.

Grand Slam Lifts Huskies to 14–11 Revenge Win over Wake Forest

By Sarah Olender

After a 9–0 loss last night, the Northeastern baseball team couldn’t be expected to be in high spirits. It couldn’t have been easy to return for a third game against the No. 17 Wake Forest team that dominated in every facet of the game.

Still, the Huskies started strong, with Scott Holzwasser and Ian Fair reaching base and freshman Max Viera driving Holzwasser in on a single. The Huskies kept their lead through the first, with redshirt freshman Cam Schlittler striking out two batters. 

“We finally won the first inning,” said Head Coach Mike Glavine. “We got in there and scored and shut them down, got off to a good start.”

Schlittler walked junior Shane Muntz, who was sent around the bases by a home run to center field from freshman Brock Wilken. The Huskies answered in the top of the third as Holzwasser and Ben Malgeri scored on Jared Dupere base knock. The bats stayed alive as Fair advanced Dupere on a single before a Corey DiLoreto sac fly cashed him in and made it 4–2 in Northeastern’s favor. Clean fielding and another Schlittler strikeout kept the Deacons scoreless in the bottom half.

To start the fourth, Wake Forest dug into their bullpen, bringing out Crawford Wade. A dropped third strike and a Wade overthrow to first put Northeastern’s Spenser Smith on third with two out, and though Wade fanned Holzwasser to end the threat, his pitch count did suffer for the experience. In the bottom of the fourth, Schlittler, still pitching a great game, started losing speed, and had to work himself out of trouble. 

Wake Forest reached into their bullpen again in the fifth, and hurler Reed Mascalo gave up a 436-foot bomb to Dupere on just his third pitch of the game. Northeastern opted to stay with their starter, and a barrage of Deacon hits put traffic on the bases and shrank the Husky lead to 5–3.

Midway through the sixth, as Northeastern began to connect on Mascalo’s pitches, Wake Forest brought in their fourth pitcher of the game, Camden Minacci, with a Northeastern runner on third. A fielder’s choice, an infield single, and a groundout combined to cash in two runs and increase the Husky lead to four.

In the bottom of the sixth, Northeastern finally pulled their starter, and redshirt sophomore Owen Langan took the mound. After a series of small hits and walks loaded the bases, Malgeri lost Pierce Bennett’s fly ball in the sun in right-center. The error closed the score to 7–6 in Northeastern’s favor.

In an effort to regain the momentum, Glavine called on redshirt freshman Thomas Balboni to change things up on the Deacons. Balboni immediately ceded a two-run single to Rémi Lanzoni that drove in two runs and gave the Deacons their first lead. Wake Forest kept smacking singles and loading the bases, eventually batting around and taking a 9–7 lead behind a six-run sixth inning.

But Northeastern didn’t give up. With two men in scoring position, Kyle Peterson drove a single to right field to re-tie the game. Northeastern loaded the bases again and Wake Forest brought Eric Adler to the mound to face Holzwasser in a jam. On a 3-1 count, Adler threw a perfect fastball and Holzwasser capitalized on the opportunity, driving the pitch out to left center. His grand slam brought the score to 13–9 in the Huskies’ favor.  

“A few of those runs defensively we could have hung our heads and felt sorry for ourselves, but we came out fighting,” Glavine siad. “I think that’s going to pay dividends and speak volumes as this season goes on. We come back after a tough inning and keep fighting . . . To give up six runs in an inning and come back and score six was just incredible to see.”

Wake Forest answered a Northeastern RBI sac fly in the top of the eighth with a Chris Lanzilli solo homer in the bottom half. Despite an 11th Wake Forest run in the bottom of the ninth, Brandon Dufault closed out the Deacons by forcing a groundout from Bobby Seymour with two on.

Save for the first three innings of Saturday’s game, the Huskies had a strong weekend against the No. 17 Demon Deacons. Despite losing two of three games in their opening series, they were competitive in most innings.

“This weekend it was a swing or pitch or play away from winning the series against a team like Wake,” Glavine said. “I’m just really proud of the guys this weekend.”

Northeastern Baseball Falls to Wake Forest in Season Opener

By Jordan Baron

These days, it’s pretty routine to find a baseball team at the AA level or higher where a majority of the pitching staff can throw 95 or higher. What’s abnormal is when a college team has that.

But that’s exactly what the Northeastern Huskies faced in their Friday night season opener, as they squared off on the road against the No. 17 Wake Forest Demon Deacons and their 11 flamethrowers. And, to everyone’s surprise, the unranked Huskies put up quite the fight against their ACC opponent. They fought back from an early deficit to take the lead in the middle innings before a three-run bomb and some good relief work gave the Deacons an 8–6 win.

“Pretty fun college baseball game and thought it was pretty well played by both teams,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “Not the result that we wanted, but certainly a really good battle.”

Northeastern redshirt senior starter Kyle Murphy went five innings and gave up five earned runs across that span, four of which came in the first. The Huskies outhit the Deacons 12 to six but couldn’t convert the hits into runs, as they left eight men on base.

Murphy did not begin his season the way would’ve liked to, hitting the first batter he faced before giving up a double and a walk to load the bases. Junior catcher Shane Muntz punished the right-hander with a bomb of a grand slam to put the Deacons up by four.

Murphy settled in after that, and pitched extremely well for four innings, giving up just one more run and retiring the last six batters he faced. Murphy, whose K/9 sat at around 12.5 during last-year’s pandemic shortened season, fanned seven batters in his five innings.

“He’s a veteran, but even still for him it’s [the] first inning, it’s outside, it’s another team, and just kind of settling in. Once he got through that first inning . . . he pitched really well,” Glavine said.

The Husky offense faced the mighty arm of sophomore firebender Ryan Cusick, whose fastball topped out at nearly 100 mph on the evening. The #40 ranked prospect in college baseball lived up to his reputation; through five innings he had retired eight batters via the punchout and given up just three hits.

“There’s less room for error,” Glavine noted. “Obviously you can’t get down when you strike out or feel like you’re not grinding. And you got to find ways to lengthen at bats, make them work a little bit, try to drive up pitch counts and then wait for mistakes. You’ve got to be ready for them.”

Cusick had all the confidence coming out for the sixth, and with a 5–0 deficit against a nationally ranked team, the Huskies were in a very tough spot.

Suddenly, however, Northeastern caught up to Cusick’s fastball, as redshirt sophomore Ben Malgeri doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a groundout to get himself 90 feet from scoring the Huskies’ first run. Redshirt junior Ian Fair used his power to muscle a fly ball to deep center for an easy sacrifice fly.

With two outs, the scoring threat looked to be neutralized, but the resilient Huskies slapped two straight singles to give redshirt sophomore Corey DiLoreto an opportunity for more damage. The first baseman took it and smacked a laser beam down the left field line that barely bounced in fair territory for a double, scoring both runs and bringing the Huskies within two. Cusick completed the inning, but his pitch count was too high to go any further.

“Strikeouts can add up,” Glavine said. “Even though they stink as far as not putting balls in play, if you force him to throw four, five, six pitches to punch you out, you hope that helps out later.”

Northeastern kept the ball rolling in the seventh and eighth against the Wake Forest bullpen, striking for one in the former and two in the latter to take a 6–5 lead. Redshirt sophomore Owen Langan pitched two innings of scoreless relief in the home half of the sixth and seventh, striking out two Deacons and not allowing a hit.

Entering the late innings, the Huskies looked poised to take a victory in their season opener. However, Deacon freshman Brock Wilken had other ideas, as he rocketed a ball down the left field line and over the fence for a three-run homer off redshirt junior reliever Brandon Dufault. The Deacons finished with a 1-2-3 ninth and snatched the victory.

“We’ll just regroup tonight,” Glavine said. “Tomorrow [we’ll] see how the guys feel and try to get some other guys in there . . . I think they got a couple freshmen arms in there tonight which is something they probably want to do and same for us, trying to get different arms in.”

The Huskies will send sophomore Sebastian Keane to the hill tomorrow to face junior William Fleming.