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.”