BROOKLINE, MA — The Northeastern Huskies (10–6) fell to the Boston College Eagles (14–13) 5–3 on Tuesday afternoon in a slow-paced and mostly uneventful game.
The Eagles scored two runs in the second inning and didn’t look back, never relinquishing their lead and leaning on their talented pitching staff to close out the win. Starter Joe Mancini spun six solid innings, allowing just two runs and striking out four.
“Give Mancini and their relievers credit,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “We couldn’t get anything on the barrel for a bunch of innings.”
In Northeastern’s defense, they were coming off a ten-day hiatus after their series against the University of Rhode Island was canceled. Their bats were rusty early in the game and they needed time to adjust.
But BC took advantage. Shades of the Huskies’ regular production were evident later in the game, but they couldn’t get that one big hit with runners in scoring position to really make themselves competitive.
“You gotta play really well against a team like that,” said Glavine. “We just kinda played okay and they took advantage.”
The ten-day break also presented pitching complications for the Huskies, who opted to run a bullpen game in lieu of a traditional starter. Starter Kyle Long pitched the first, reliever Wyatt Scotti pitched the second and third, Eric Yost spun the next three scoreless, and Brian Rodriguez finished the last three, allowing two runs. Scotti was saddled with the loss after allowing the first runs of the game to BC in the second. This move was done in order to try and stretch out as many pitchers as possible after not playing over the past week and a half.
“[I wanted to] just get some guys out there and get the adrenaline going again,” Glavine remarked. “[We’ll] pitch a bunch of guys tomorrow.”
In the sixth inning, down 3–0, Northeastern provided some excitement in the form of back-to-back jacks from second baseman Scott Holzwasser and left fielder Jared Dupere.
It looked as if the Huskies were nearing a comeback, but they fell just short, consistently stranding their runners in scoring position and allowing BC to tack on two insurance runs.
“I thought we had a little momentum there after those two solo home runs,” remarked Glavine. “But … they ended up taking the momentum right back.”
The Huskies will look for some consistency in their schedule going forward. We’ve seen how successful they can be when they get going; they came into this game having won their last six. But this was the third time this season the Huskies have had 10 days between games, and it showed.
The Huskies play next on Wednesday at UMass Amherst at 3 PM.
BROOKLINE, MA — Northeastern (7–5) continued their winning streak on a chilly Tuesday afternoon against Bryant (2–7), scoring five and shutting out the Bulldogs.
The theme for the Huskies this season has been feast or famine. Northeastern will stack the runs early, then lose the lead in the bottom half with poor defense and a dearth of hits. Thankfully for the Huskies, Tuesday’s tilt was nothing of the like.
Wyatt Scotti started for Northeastern and threw a solid three innings, giving up only three hits and one walk. After Scotti was pulled, Northeastern cycled through a new pitcher every inning or so against a lesser opponent.
“The strategy was just to get some guys in who we hadn’t used in a little bit but they’re guys that we rely on,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine explained. “So you gotta think long term here . . . We gotta think about conference games coming up. Eventually we’re gonna have four game weekends so we’re gonna have to rely on a lot of pitchers.”
One such standout was Eric Yost, who threw the fifth and sixth innings. He only gave up one hit and had three of the Huskies four strikeouts.
Bryant followed Northeastern’s pitcher-cycling strategy but proved much less successful. Starting pitcher Luke Garofalo did okay in the first inning, but lost his way in the top of the second. He started off by walking Max Viera. The next batter, Jeff Costello, laid down a bunt and practically flew to first base, beating out the throw to put runners on first and second.
Garofalo gave up two more hits to put Northeastern in the lead, 2–0, and was only saved when Teddy Beaudet was caught stealing to end the inning.
Garofalo’s replacement, John MacDonald, looked wild in the bottom of the third. He threw hard but had trouble with his control, often throwing in the dirt or missing the catcher entirely to hit the backstop with a loud thunk. He was clearly thrown off his game and hesitated at the mound long enough to draw a pitch clock violation.
MacDonald inherited Scott Holzwasser on first base, who promptly stole second. MacDonald was clearly rattled and walked the next batter he faced, Ben Malgeri. Holzwasser advanced on a wild pitch and scored on the second out, a pop fly to right field. The inning ended when Malgeri was caught stealing.
MacDonald settled down in the fourth inning with a strikeout, but found himself in trouble in the fifth. Holzwasser singled to right, sending MacDonald to the top of the lineup with one out. Malgeri did not disappoint and got a base hit, sending Holzwasser to second. This was the end of the line for MacDonald, who was replaced by Mike Randazzo.
Holzwasser and Malgeri continued Northeastern’s strategy of aggressive baserunning and stole third and second respectively. Ryan Cervone hit a sac fly to score Holzwasser and end the inning at 3–0.
Northeastern scored a couple more sac fly runs in the fifth and seventh innings to continue their streak of small ball.
“Offensively that might have been our best game of the year,” Glavine said. “Made some great plays out there, that was just some kind of timely hitting on offense . . . I thought it was a really clean game by us — hit really well, defended really well.”
Brian Rodriguez was tagged to close and did not disappoint, getting a quick one-two-three inning with one strikeout and two groundouts. On the last at bat Shane Kelly grounded out to shortstop, with Husky first baseman Ian Fair stretching to make an incredible catch of the shortstop’s throw.
Although Fair has struggled offensively this season, Glavine was impressed with his performance Tuesday.
“Ian Fair is an amazing kid,” Glavine said. “I don’t think he’s ever had a bad day, he’s always just so positive and so he’s such a positive energetic guy around the team so he has that effect, he is a plus plus defender . . . He’s just too talented to not hit and he’s gonna change our lineup tremendously once he feels more comfortable in the box.”
Tuesday’s victory increased the Huskies’ winning streak to three ahead of a big series this weekend against Villanova.
“The momentum was huge,” Glavine noted. “We want to start feeling good about ourselves and getting on a roll. Always want to play well at home and we’ve done that over the years and that’s a priority for us, so just want to build up our confidence and start to feel confident in all things we do.”
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.
Friday’s game brought the Huskies a disappointing walk-off loss after a hard-fought back-and-forth battle.
On Saturday, Old Dominion (7–3) scored all of their runs in one third-inning barrage, and spent the rest of the game stranding runners. Throughout the game, Northeastern (3–3) chipped away at the Monarchs’ lead.
Sebastian Keane took the mound for his second start of the year after posting a 23.14 ERA in his first outing. Today he also struggled a bit, but his defense limited the damage.
“I think there’s more in there; we haven’t seen the best of him,” head coach Mike Glavine said. “I thought it was much better today. He was throwing harder, I thought his off-speed stuff was better. He was more competitive. It was in the zone more. I think he trusted everything he was doing more, but today was a step in the right direction and he gave us a chance to win the game.”
In the top of the third, Northeastern’s JP Olson slammed a double to right center, advanced to third on a hit from Spenser Smith, and scored on an error to get the Huskies on the board. That error put the batter, Scott Holzwasser, at second. Though Monarch starter Nick Pantos fanned Jeff Costello, Holzwasser advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored an unearned run. 2–0 Huskies.
Old Dominion answered with a vengeance. They loaded the bases for an Andy Garriola grand slam, then Robbie Petracci quickly tacked on another homer.
In the top of the fourth, Northeastern’s Max Viera fired his first collegiate homer out of the park, trimming the Monarch lead to 5–3.
Keane finished up at the end of the fifth, tallying eight strikeouts. In the top of the sixth the Huskies started building small hits and walks, but ultimately exited the inning scoreless after leaving the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the sixth, Brian Rodriguez took the mound for the Huskies; he would strike out three in two innings of play. In the bottom of the eighth, Jake Gigliotti took the mound, and did not allow a hit in two scoreless innings.
“Rodriguez was really good for us in that role last year,” Glavine said. “We got in trouble in that one inning and made the pitches when he needed to. And that’s a sign of a great pitcher and what you need out of your bullpen.”
As the Huskies stepped up to the plate for their final frame, Olson and Smith both walked, with Olson taking third on a wild pitch. A Holzwasser grounder to third forced Smith out and plated Olson to bring the Huskies within one.
With the deadly baserunner Holzwasser on first and one out, Old Dominion pitcher Jacob Gomez did his best to try to pick him off, or at least keep him close to the bag, but it ultimately wouldn’t matter. After Jeff Costello struck out, Jared Dupere got up to the plate with two outs and took the pitch count deep. Gomez started to tire and lose his accuracy, almost hitting Dupere on multiple occasions, but Dupere pushed through. With a 3-2 count, the lefty offered at a meatball of a pitch and cranked it over the right-field fence, giving the Huskies a 6–5 lead, their first since the third inning and the one that would prove the decider.
The Huskies face Old Dominion again tomorrow at 12:05 PM.