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.”

Pride and Pop Outs: Huskies beat Hofstra 13–1

By Jack Sinclair

BROOKLINE, MA — When a team wins, and keeps winning, it can be extremely difficult to find areas to improve. But for the 23–6 Northeastern Huskies, who came into this weekend with a 13-game winning streak, improving comes naturally.

Northeastern and Hofstra met on the Friedman Diamond for the first of a four-game series. The Huskies entered the CAA matchup undefeated in conference play (11–0), while the Pride came in with a 6–9 record. 

Cam Schlittler got things started for the Huskies on the mound. The right-handed freshman started strong, striking out three of his first six batters.

“You want to pitch ahead and force that hitter to be a little bit antsy,” he said. “[Cam] was really good at [getting] strike one today, it was after strike one where he struggled. Today was not his sharpest day late in counts.”

His struggles would not matter too much, as he had plenty of help. The Huskies jumped out to a 3–0 lead in the first inning, helped by a bizarre course of events which saw two runs score after a strikeout. Jared Dupere was the victim, but he reached safely thanks to the dropped third strike. A Danny Crossen double drove him home, rounding out the inning.

Hofstra starter Jack Jett settled down in the second, only to immediately struggle again in the third. Dupere was again the culprit, but instead of striking out, the stocky slugger smacked a home run over the right field wall, increasing his team’s lead to four. Max Viera stepped in next and followed suit, sending a high fly ball over the fence in left field. 

It was a nice change of pace from the small-ball style of play the Huskies had shown earlier in the year.

“I felt all along that our power was coming,” Glavine said. “I’m not surprised that we hit some home runs today.”

The same tandem struck again in the fifth; Dupere stole second and Viera poked a double down the third base line to drive him in. The revolving door around the basepaths kept turning, as Crossen hit one through the gap to score Viera. Ben Malgieri followed suit, scoring Viera and inflating the Husky lead to eight.

Hofstra loaded up the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, but some clutch pitching from Schlittler induced a double play. Hofstra scored a run, but were massively limited in their options from there. It’s not like it would have mattered, as Schlittler struck out the next man up to retire the side. 

Dupere continued to show no mercy to the baseball, as he hit his 13th home run of the year in the sixth, this time to the opposite field.

Glavine handed the ball over to Brian Rodriguez in the seventh. The reliever showed some cracks, but fought past a leadoff double to retire the top of the Pride order. The bottom half of the frame saw Jett exit and reliever Mike Mirando take over. Mirando struggled, just like Jett. He loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, allowing Jeff Costello to drive in a run. Mirando held the Huskies to just one run, and Henry Ennen took over for the Huskies.

Ennen went one-two-three through the top of the eighth, before allowing his team’s bats to take over. Dupere notched a leadoff single that saw him reach second base on an error. Corey DiLoreto stepped up to pinch hit and sent a long fly ball over the fence in right field, making the score 13–1.

Rick Burroni took the mound to close out the game, and just like Rodriguez, allowed a leadoff hit. The sidearm slinger maintained his composure, striking out the next batter before inducing a double play to end the game. The Huskies efforts paid off, as they came away with a 13–1 win and 16 hits to show for it.

The action continues with tomorrow’s doubleheader, with games at 11 AM and 2 PM Eastern time. Jack Sinclair and Adam Doucette will call both for WRBB.