19 and Counting: Early Onslaught and Schlittler Shutdown Defeat Delaware

By Milton Posner

NEWARK, DE — You ever looked at a playoff probability chart for a presumed title contender at the start of a season? The one that tells you they have a 95 percent chance of making the playoffs, then skyrockets to 99-point-whatever percent within two weeks as it becomes clear that the team isn’t going to blow it?

Friday afternoon’s baseball game between the Northeastern Huskies (29–6, 17–0 CAA) and the Delaware Blue Hens (10–21, 6–15 CAA) was that phenomenon in miniature. The Huskies pounced quickly, forcefully, and decisively, posting six runs in the first three innings and riding Cam Schlittler’s arm to an 8–1 win.

It was their 19th consecutive win, still the longest active streak in college baseball. A sweep in tomorrow’s doubleheader — which WRBB will broadcast live — will snap the 30-year-old team record in that category.

They wasted no time on Friday. Scott Holzwasser kickstarted the offense in the first inning with a clean single up the middle, adding to his growing footprint in the Northeastern record books.

Up next was Jared Dupere, who entered the game outslugging the rest of the conference by such a wide margin that the league will probably start forcing him to swing a toothpick instead of a bat. The Delaware outfield shifted rightward before Dupere smacked a ringing double right where the centerfielder would normally be positioned.

This plated Holzwasser for the game’s first run, but it also served as the opening salvo in one of the strangest storylines of the season. More on that lower down.

After giving up one run in the first inning, Delaware starter Chris Ludman gave up two in the second. He didn’t pitch poorly, but a hit-by-pitch to Ben Malgeri, a well-placed grounder from Teddy Beaudet, and a Spenser Smith infield single notched another run. Jeff Costello’s warning-track RBI sac fly, despite being the only hard-hit ball of the inning, was an out.

One run in the first, two runs in the second, you know where this is going. The Huskies’ third-inning three spot consisted almost exclusively of hard-hit balls. Dupere’s deep flyout to left wasn’t remarkable in itself, but the fear factor he brought with him to the plate was obvious.

“I have not seen that scenario before. I have not seen four guys in the outfield against us,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “I actually like it in that scenario; there’s zero chance I’m going to bunt him, especially in this park. This park is completely different from ours. The ball flies out of here, the turf is fast, so they know we’re not going to bunt.”

The flyout ultimately made the shift irrelevant, but whatever, right? Delaware got their man. Only thing to do is move on to the next hitter, who hopefully won’t . . . 

Oops.

Oh, and Ludman also yielded a double to Danny Crossen in the next at-bat. But fair enough; Crossen entered the game with a CAA-best .398 batting average. And Ludman got the second out when Malgeri flew out. All he had to do was retire Ian Fair, who has underperformed expectations after being named the CAA Preseason . . . 

Yeah, there’s really nowhere safe to land in this Husky order. Their number seven hitter was predicted to be the best player in the conference this year, but arguably has been the eighth or ninth best hitter on his own team. God help the rest of the conference if he returns to peak form.

“It was good to see the longball,” Glavine said. “It’s a great hitters’ park and I expect to see a bunch more home runs this weekend.”

Unfortunately for anyone hoping Northeastern would continue their 1-2-3 pattern and score 45 runs on the afternoon, the Huskies did not score four runs in the fourth. They did score one in bizarre fashion, however, first loading the bases without a hit — error, error, intentional walk — then cashing in on . . . deep breath . . . a 5-4-3-2 fielder’s choice double play.

Credit Blue Hen first baseman Joseph Carpenter for being alert and smooth enough to gun down Holzwasser, or things could have gotten even further out of hand.

But the fielding prowess wouldn’t hang around for long, as Malgeri followed his one-out, fifth-inning double with a steal of third before an errant throw from catcher Jack Goan sent him home.

The Husky offense faltered from there, failing to score in the final four innings and allowing Ludman to finish on a high note. Glavine cited a lack of focus and the removal of the team’s collective foot from the gas pedal, but noted that “fortunately we had Schlittler on the mound dominating.”

Schlittler scattered eight hits across eight scoreless innings. And I do mean scattered; half of Delaware’s hits were doubles, they constantly had runners in scoring position, and yet Schlittler stranded them all, closing six different innings with a strikeout.

“He just pounded the strike zone. I thought he was very efficient,” Glavine said. “They weren’t swinging as well as they [usually] do, he was in attack mode, so there were a lot of quicker outs.”

Glavine wasn’t kidding. Of the 24 outs Schlittler recorded, 10 were strikeouts, six came on the first pitch of the at-bat, and three came on the second. Two weeks before, Glavine admitted that he regretted leaving Schlittler out there for an eighth inning in which he hit two batters, saying he shouldn’t have taken the energetic freshman’s word for it that he was still good to go. But today?

“I asked him after the seventh inning — I think he was at 94 pitches — how he felt, and his response was, ‘this is the best I’ve felt in a month,’” Glavine recalled. “It wasn’t, ‘yeah I feel good, coach, I’ve got it.’ It was ‘this is the best I’ve felt.’ That’s a much more definitive statement than me deciding that he feels good and wants to go back out there. He’s basically saying, ‘I’m going back out.’”

Glavine also noted that Schlittler looked better today than he did in the aforementioned start, that he wasn’t working as hard, and that the 70-something-degree weather helped. Throw in a sixth-inning relay that cut down a would-be Delaware run, and the result was a stat line that backed his coach’s confidence.

Schlittler improved to 6–0 on the season and dropped his ERA to 1.40. The latter trails only his teammate Wyatt Scotti among qualified CAA pitchers, although Schlittler has tossed 58 innings to Scotti’s 36.

Delaware finally pushed across a run in the ninth against Northeastern reliever James Quinlivan, but officially dropped their fifth game to Northeastern this season a few moments later.

Huskies Sweep Tigers for 13th Straight Win

Story by Milton Posner

Photos by Sarah Olender

BROOKLINE, MA — The first three games of the Northeastern–Towson series were largely defined by quality starting pitching, difference-making defense, and the sort of persistent small ball teams play when the wind plucks fly balls out of the air.

But on Sunday afternoon . . . all of that kept happening.

The result was the same, too. The Huskies (23–6, 11–0 CAA) completed their sweep of the Tigers (15–29, 5–7 CAA) with a 3–1 victory. It was their 13th consecutive win and matched the 1991 team for the best start to a season in program history.

The small ball was especially pronounced from the start. The teams’ combined total of seven hits in the first six innings doesn’t seem especially unusual until you examine a few things. First, there were no hits for either team through three innings, only four walks and a hit-by-pitch.

But even when the hits started coming, things weren’t normal. The first base knock of the game, a Billy Godrick line drive smoked over the head of Northeastern left fielder Jeff Costello, was rendered moot when Costello barehanded the ball off the wall and coolly fired a laser into second.

Both of Husky third baseman Danny Crossen’s hits were fairly regular line drive knocks, but the other four hits in the first six innings weren’t. Javon Fields’s hit should have been an error on Northeastern shortstop Spenser Smith, Smith’s own hit was a bunt, Jared Dupere’s was a line drive off the pitcher, and Max Viera’s was a ground ball fielded by the shortstop.

None left the infield. It was the smallest of small ball. Puny ball.

This was attributable partly to the persistent wind, but also to the brilliance of the two starting pitchers. Towson’s Danny Madden ceded four walks and three hits in five innings, but timely outs stranded five Northeastern runners and limited the damage to one run.

“We’re just struggling to have a big inning right now,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said of the team’s approach. “I was probably trying to put some bunts on because I didn’t like what I was seeing and just wanted to put pressure on them. We just couldn’t get the big hits, and I think that’s the last really big piece of our offense right now.”

Northeastern hurler Wyatt Scotti fared even better, striking seven batters and allowing only five baserunners over seven scintillating innings. His start was part of an excellent run of starting pitching for the Huskies, who got 28 ⅔ innings of five-run ball from their starters over the course of the Towson series.

The Tigers did manage a run after Scotti hit one batter and walked another, but the final nail in the coffin wasn’t of his doing. With runners on first and third with two out, Scotti picked Noah Cabrera off of first. When Billy Godrick took off from third, the Husky infielders couldn’t snap off a throw home in time to beat him.

“They certainly intentionally did something; we just didn’t run the defense properly,” Glavine lamented. “Give them credit. They forced us to make plays all game. If we don’t make plays, they capitalize. We didn’t make the right decision there.”

“And then I probably messed up the other one,” Glavine continued, referring to Northeastern’s failed attempt at the same play in the fifth inning. “I was trying to get a run there myself. I wanted Spenser to be aggressive there once they threw the ball; we just went a little bit early and they got us.”

That said, the Huskies did plate a game-tying run immediately before the failed steal, as Scott Holzwasser’s sac fly scored JP Olson. Holzwasser also notched a diving catch that was somehow more spectacular than the one he recorded on Saturday afternoon. Here’s Saturday’s:

And here’s Sunday’s:

Things really came to a head in the eighth inning. With the score still deadlocked 1–1, Towson’s Jake McLaughlin singled, then Burke Camper followed with a bunt to the first-base side of the mound. Holzwasser, first baseman Ian Fair, and pitcher Jake Gigliotti converged on the rolling ball, which Fair fielded. With Holzwasser and Gigliotti failing to get to the bag in time, Fair missed a desperation tag before flipping the ball to empty space. The ball trickled away as McLaughlin advanced to third.

“I didn’t think we were sharp today,” Glavine admitted. “It was a struggle executing some stuff fundamentally, we made a lot of mistakes.”

But Fair redeemed himself on the next play with a gorgeous glove flip to home on a Towson squeeze attempt. Then, after a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, the Huskies escaped the inning unscathed when Godrick hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Replays showed that Godrick was just barely safe, but the Huskies took the win as Godrick slammed his helmet on the ground in frustration and strolled aimlessly toward the outfield.

In the bottom of the frame, the Huskies finally shattered the small-ball streak. Center fielder Ben Malgeri doubled, then Fair, who has largely underperformed expectations after being named CAA Preseason Player of the Year, tripled home the go-ahead run.

“I thought he was on the ball today. I thought his swings were close all game, had a chance to leave the yard or drive a gap,” Glavine said. “He’s still swinging and missing more than he ever normally does; his feet are going a little bit too much and his head’s moving. But I also felt like he was aggressive.”

Olson flew out to center to score Fair from third, providing an insurance run for Husky reliever David Stiehl, who recorded the save. Glavine said his use of five different relievers across just 7 ⅓ relief innings in the series — Eric Yost and Brandon Dufault appeared twice — reflects something more than depth.

“I don’t really like to give the guys set roles,” he explained. “They probably want them; I don’t like to give them to ‘em. I want them ready. When I call your number, you be ready. And I think they learn to embrace that. Today I called Gigliotti’s number. I didn’t think he was very sharp. We kinda made some plays for him, and he made pitches when he had to.”

“Yost is a little bit of everything, so he doesn’t really know his role either,” Glavine added. “I think it’s going to make us a better team in the long run . . . That way, when you get into the [CAA] Tournament, you’ll be prepared.”

Huskies Sweep Blue Hens to Stay Undefeated in Conference

Story by Milton Posner

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — Saturday’s doubleheader was a showcase of just how many ways Northeastern can beat you.

In the first game it was about bunts, the running game, and elite pitching, as the Huskies eked out a 3–1 victory. In the second it was relentless and overwhelming downhill pressure — both from the mighty bat of Jared Dupere and the collective speed of the Huskies — that launched them to a 9–4 win.

The upshot? The Huskies moved to 19–6 on the season and 7–0 in conference play, and thus retained their status as the only undefeated team in either CAA division. The Delaware Blue Hens, who entered the weekend an even 4–4 in conference play, took a massive hit, as the Huskies smacked them around to the tune of four wins in 30 hours.

Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine noted that only consistent teamwide energy can earn that kind of sweep in such a condensed time frame.

“A lot of cheering and pushing for each other,” he explained. “The bench has to help, the bullpen has to help, the coaches have to give some energy to the guys because clearly they were tired, and so was Delaware. We talk about being mentally engaged; mental toughness is a real thing, especially playing four games in two days. We feel like if we can win that, we’re going to win games.”

The first game’s 3–1 score masks its true identity as a pitchers’ duel. Northeastern’s Cam Schlittler and Delaware’s Wyatt Nelson fought valiantly, with Schlittler tossing seven frames and Nelson six, each of them allowing just one earned run. Schlittler’s run came early, as Delaware left fielder Aidan Kane pulled a fastball into the right field seats in the second inning.

“Cam and Seb throw hard,” Glavine said, also noting game two starter Sebastian Keane, “so they are susceptible to the home run ball because guys will try to smash fastballs off them.”

Glavine also added that Schlittler and Keane hadn’t pitched in two weeks, and that they were still trying to regain their rhythm and stamina. But Schlittler settled in nicely after the homer, retiring 11 batters in a row between the third and sixth innings to wrap up a gem.

Nelson fared brilliantly in the early going. He deliberately and consistently disrupted Northeastern’s prodigious running game, holding the ball when necessary and firing countless competitive pickoff throws. And though it’s hard to argue that Northeastern consistently got the better of him — only one of the three runs he allowed was earned — the Huskies’ small ball started cooking in the middle innings.

It began in the fourth inning, when a Jeff Costello bunt single, a passed ball, a groundout, and an Ian Fair single evened the game at one run apiece. It continued in the sixth, when a Danny Crossen walk, a wild pitch, an errant pickoff throw, and a Costello single gave the Huskies their first lead. And it concluded in the seventh, when a Teddy Beaudet single, a Spenser Smith bunt single, a Ben Malgeri bunt single, and a Dupere groundout plated an insurance run.

Taken together: three runs on six singles (three of which were bunts), two errant pitches, two groundouts, a walk, and an error. And as if that weren’t enough proof of the Huskies’ small-ball skill, Malgeri’s seventh-inning bunt single came after another bunt single in the same at-bat, after which he was called back for stepping outside the batter’s box. So he just hopped back in the box and did it again.

It only took about ten minutes for everyone to realize that the second game would be won by different means.

Dupere, who turned heads on Tuesday with a 479-foot bomb over the auxiliary press box in right-field, took a 3-2 pitch from Delaware starter Mike Biasiello and launched it into the Charles River.

Thing is, Delaware’s non-conference schedule took place in two-game increments. For much of the year, they’ve gotten by with two effective starters and their bullpen. But with four-game conference series squished into three days (two in this case), they’ve had to deploy pitchers who aren’t used to starting.

Biasiello, who made his first start Saturday afternoon after six appearances out of the pen, was such a pitcher, and it showed. After Dupere’s two-run jack, Biasiello ceded another run, as Corey DiLoreto and Kyle Peterson each notched the first of their three hits on the day.

Biasiello’s struggles only amplified in the second when he hit Scott Holzwasser with one out. Not exactly out of the ordinary, as Holzwasser holds the program career record for beanballs. But when he quickly swiped second, Biasiello increasingly lost his composure, and with it, his command.

Unfortunately, the next batter to stand in was Max Viera, who was playing his first game in more than a month after recovering from injury. Biasiello lost control of a slider, which evaded Viera’s helmet, smashed into his left cheek, and forced him out of the game.

“It stinks,” Glavine lamented. “He’s been out for almost five weeks and gets a base hit in his first at-bat . . . He was cut, he’s going to need stitches, but hopefully that’s all it’s going to be. I checked in with him; he wasn’t concussed. I asked him how his teeth were and he said ‘fine.’”

Biasiello, by this point rattled for a few different reasons, quickly fired in a wild pitch that allowed the runners to advance to second and third. After intentionally walking Dupere (fair enough), he allowed singles to Crossen, DiLoreto, and Peterson, with a Costello RBI sac fly mixed in. By the time Biasiello gave way to Winston Allen, the Huskies had piled on four runs in the second and led 7–0.

It was a display of just how many ways the Huskies could pressure opposing pitchers, with their running game chief among them.

“We try to get jumps,” Glavine explained. “I know it looks like we’re dancing a little bit. When pitchers are quick to the plate we’ve got to change what we do. We don’t want to be one-dimensional. We’re hopping back and forth, and if we get the hop we keep on going.”

Dupere’s power in the third spot was certainly another factor, and he made that fact eminently clear to anyone who happened to be in the bathroom in the first inning.

It was at that point that the fans in attendance began wondering if the baseballs had somehow wronged Dupere in a past life. Or what the neighbors thought of being constantly pelted.

The teams scored offsetting runs in the seventh to bring the score to a final 9–4. Combine that with six solid innings from the hard-throwing, quick-working Keane, and the four-game sweep was a reminder of the team’s versatility and balance.

“You see that we can play tight games and win them, which is an incredible asset to have,” Glavine said. “We can come from behind like we did in game two [on Friday]. We can have big innings like we did today — power, speed. And we can pitch it. I think we’re an extremely talented team, I think we’re mentally tough, and I think we’re going to get on a roll here. Our best baseball is still ahead of us.”

Huskies Conquer Warriors, 12–5

Story by Milton Posner

Photos by Sarah Olender

BROOKLINE, MA — For the first three and a half innings of Wednesday afternoon’s game, the Merrimack Warriors, a squad playing its first full season in Division I, could dare to dream of upsetting the Northeastern Huskies, a squad with a .700 winning percentage. The Warriors jumped out to a 5–0 lead as the Huskies, who were coming off a 10-day COVID hiatus, struggled to keep up.

And then the hammer dropped.

Northeastern (15–6, 3–0 CAA) tacked on nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings and never looked back, eventually dismissing Merrimack (12–15, 8–7 NEC) by a score of 12–5.

“We were pretty bad early in the game, just sluggish and rusty, everything you get with a ten-day layoff,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine noted, adding that timing issues plagued the team until their second time through the order. “Overall it was a great win considering we weren’t on the field, hadn’t practiced as a team, just kinda showed up and played. So I was pretty impressed overall with how they did today.”

The defining stretch commenced with one gone in the bottom of the fourth, when hits from Ian Fair, Danny Crossen, JP Olson, and Spenser Smith — plus an error and a wild pitch — yielded four runs and chased Merrimack starter Stephen Fleury from the game.

It continued in the fifth as Merrimack hurlers increasingly lost their command. Jack Collins, brought on to relieve Fleury, ceded another four runs, all earned, to the surging Huskies. Scott Holzwasser was hit by a pitch and Jared Dupere singled him to second, then the pair executed the first of the Huskies’ two double steals on the afternoon. Crossen doubled them both home before Fair sent a line drive screaming the opposite way and over the fence.

For Fair, who entered the game hitting just .163 after being named CAA Preseason Player of the Year, the homer was an exceptionally welcome component of a three-for-four day at the dish.

“If Ian is going well, the ball is going to right-center field all day every day,” Glavine noted. “He is a game-changer for us. I don’t want to say he’s the key, but if he gets hitting our offense goes to another level . . . He’s had a couple monster games this year, and a couple of those times we’ve scored double-digit runs; it’s not by accident.”

Collins gave way to LT Pare, who fared little better on the mound. After Kyle Peterson singled, Pare hit Crossen, hit Olson, then walked Smith to force home a run. A fielder’s choice and a double play limited the damage, but the Huskies’ 9–5 lead effectively decided the game.

Base stealing was a critical component of the Huskies’ offensive engine all afternoon, as they swiped eight bases — including two apiece for Dupere and Fair — and were caught just once.

“We spend a ton of time on it in practice; we’ll have a lot of teams beat,” Glavine said. “So we have to utilize it. We talk about stealing bases, but we also talk about the game within a game, which is getting the pitcher to pick over to first a lot, distracting him so our hitter can get a good pitch. I like to think our baserunning is part of the reason why we get some walks and hit-by-pitches, some wild pitches and passed balls — because we put so much pressure on them and they know we can run.”

The last four frames featured three Husky runs and one highlight-reel moonshot. Dupere’s fifth home run in the last six games struck the roof of the auxiliary press box in right-center field and caromed out of the Friedman Diamond altogether. But Dupere’s cold-blooded reaction made a titanic shot even better; the Husky right fielder started undoing his batting gloves as he left the batter’s box and eased into his home-run trot.

On the pitching side, Glavine followed through on his pregame promise to deploy a number of hurlers, largely because of the ten-day layoff. He pulled starter Wyatt Scotti after just two innings, saying Scotti would likely be used this weekend.

“He made a mistake; he was late covering home plate on that wild pitch or he probably would have gotten the guy out,” Glavine said of the play that yielded Merrimack’s first run. “But overall I thought he pitched really well.”

David Stiehl, who relieved Scotti, ceded four runs (three earned) in 1⅓ innings as he struggled to find his command. When he walked a batter after a 3–0 mound visit, Glavine subbed him out.

The hurlers who followed him fared far better. James Quinlivan, Brian Rodriguez, Thomas Balboni, and Eric Yost combined for 5⅔ scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks across that span. Yost was particularly effective, setting down the side in the ninth on just six pitches.

“It’s constantly resetting; I don’t know how the guys are doing it, to be honest,” Glavine said of his pitching staff in light of the COVID layoff. “For them to come out and do what they did today, I was really impressed.”

The Huskies will continue their 15-game homestand with a four-game series against the Delaware Blue Hens. WRBB will call all four contests, beginning with a 2 PM Eastern tilt on Friday; Milton Posner, Khalin Kapoor, and Jack Sinclair will be on the mic for that one.

Huskies Conquer Minutemen, 18–1

Story by Catherine Morrison

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — Friday afternoon’s game was overcast and humid, and the Northeastern Huskies brought the rain.

Northeastern (8–5) went through their entire lineup in the first inning against UMass (7–6) starter Jack Steele, who looked to be struggling with his windup, throwing almost sidearm with a dropped elbow. On one of his first pitches, Steele accidentally held on to the ball in what would have been called a balk had there been runners on base. This was a sign of bad things to come for Steele, who gave up seven runs in the first inning, including doubles by Scott Holzwasser, Ian Fair, and Danny Crossen.

Steele was (surprisingly) kept in for the next five and a third innings, but couldn’t wrestle back his command. Although he was in desperate need of defensive support, the Minutemen played like they had forgotten they were a D1 college team with a winning record. Errors abounded, with not one, but two made by catcher Dylan Judd, plus two plays which should’ve resulted in outs but which suddenly became fielder’s choices. 

If the Minutemen were plagued by lackluster offense, weak defense, and wild pitching, the Huskies were the complete opposite. Northeastern starter Kyle Murphy had his best game of the year, with a personal best of ten strikeouts in six innings. 

“He had the curveball and the changeup, the slider, he’s got his fastball,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “His command was excellent today. That’s what we need from him. He’s a veteran, he’s talented, he’s a true four-pitch guy so it was great to see him have that success today.” 

Northeastern kept up their offensive production, scoring in every inning except the fourth. Every starter got a hit, which was a welcome departure from some uneven batting in prior games. Fair had a particularly good day coming off a cool streak to start the season. Fair hit a triple, double, and home run to finish one single shy of the cycle. 

“We definitely need him to get going, he changes our lineup,” Glavine noted. “It was great to see him get the results he deserves. He’s such a hard worker and a great kid, tremendous hitter, slow start and today was huge.”

Corey DiLoreto was also a welcome sight in the lineup; the infielder hadn’t played since taking a pitch to the head on March 12. And the offensive output was welcome too, especially considering the Huskies hadn’t seen the field since March 16.

“I’m pretty shocked,” Glavine said. “They didn’t miss a beat and they were just having good at-bats and getting the outs.”

Northeastern will look to win the series tomorrow with a doubleheader against the Minutemen.

Huskies Shut Out Bulldogs for Third Straight Win

Story by Catherine Morrison

Photos by Sadie Parker

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.”

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.