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.