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.

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.”

Huskies Sweep Pride to Remain Undefeated in Conference

By Jack Sinclair

BROOKLINE, MA — Baseball is a beautiful game. It provides some of the most famous underdog stories in sports. So often, outmatched opponents pull out wins from under the noses of much better teams.

Northeastern has taken this and flipped it on its head. Very few teams in college baseball have been as consistent as the Huskies, and they proved it again on Sunday with an 11–0 win over the Hofstra Pride.

The Pride dropped the first three games of the series and came into Sunday with a chance to get back to winning ways. Freshman righty Wyatt Scotti started for the Huskies, giving the Pride the best shot at an early lead they’d had all series.

Scotti denied the Pride that opportunity, pitching like a seasoned veteran through eight innings of shutout ball, allowing only two hits, and putting up a pair of strikeouts to boot.

“He was awesome,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “He’s having an incredible year. [He] flys right under the radar of [Kyle] Murphy, Sebastian [Keane], and [Cam] Schlittler.”

Scotti had his best control of the season, pounding the strike zone with his lethal mix of fastballs, curveballs, and changeups. Scotti had a rough first and third inning, but settled in to retire the last 15 batters he faced.

Northeastern’s bats got things started early, as Ryan Cervone, getting his first start of the weekend, knocked an RBI single into the gap in right center to score Jared Dupere. The Huskies scored one run in each of the first three innings, driving the score up to 3–0 by the time Scotti took the mound in the fourth.

Hofstra starter John Mikolaicyk was chased from the game in the fifth after plunking Scott Holzwasser and walking Dupere. Holzwasser stole third to put runners in the corners, but there was a bigger moment for the second baseman, as his 77th career stolen bag gave him the program record.

Reliever Brad Camarda came in to relieve the ailing starter and quickly began to struggle. Danny Crossen hit into a fielder’s choice off the first pitch of the at bat, driving Dupere across the plate. A sacrifice fly from Ian Fair boosted the Northeastern lead to five in as many innings. 

The Huskies struck again after the stretch, hanging three runs on the board. JP Olson got in on the fun, knocking in Kyle Peterson and Cervone with a triple to right-center field. Spenser Smith had an RBI ground-out before Jeff Costello followed suit to end the inning. 

The bottom of the eighth saw Dupere do what he had done all weekend long: hit dingers. A mammoth two-run blast that cleared the bleachers in right field set the tone for the frame, as the Huskies continued to hit the ball very, very hard. Cervone and Crossen each barreled the ball, but couldn’t keep the ball out of the Pride’s gloves. Fair poked a single through the gap and stole second, which allowed Peterson to drive him in with a single, giving the Huskies their 11th run.

Northeastern will make the trip down to Hempstead, New York to play Hofstra again this Wednesday. It’s a quick turnaround for a team that has played four games in three days, but Glavine was confident in his team’s ability to take care of themselves.

“Tomorrow is just a recovery day,” he said, “We really preach eating well, getting sleep, and how they help us win.”

Huskies Extend Win Streak to NCAA-Best 16

By Adam Doucette

BROOKLINE, MA — Northeastern baseball continued their NCAA-leading win streak Saturday with a doubleheader sweep against the Hofstra Pride. The two wins moved them to 14–0 in conference play and 26–6 overall, and built their win streak to 16 games.

“We try to have fun with it,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said of the streak. “I’m sure there’s a little added pressure, but at the end of the day it’s something to be proud of.”

On the day that the seniors were honored before the action began, redshirt senior Kyle Murphy started game one for the Huskies. He went seven innings, giving up only three runs on four hits in the 5–3 win.

“These guys have given us contributions in so many different ways,” Glavine said of the senior class. “Just great teammates, great people — they’ve given the university a ton, given me a ton, given each other a ton, and they’re not done yet.”

The Pride jumped out to an early lead on a long home run by first baseman Rob Weissheier, but Husky second baseman Scott Holzwasser answered in the bottom of the first with a solo shot of his own to tie the game.

In the fourth inning, Husky third baseman Danny Crossen slapped a double down the left field line to score Jared Dupere. It was one of three hits in the game for Crossen.

The scoring let up until the top of the sixth, when Weissheier smashed his second home run of the game to give the Pride a 3–2 edge heading to the bottom of the frame. The Huskies again answered the bell on a Teddy Beaudet single to right field to score Crossen and center fielder Ben Malgeri, making it 4–3.

It was again Beaudet with a sacrifice bunt in the eighth to score Crossen and finish up the scoring. It was Crossen’s second time crossing the plate.

Pride starting pitcher Jimmy Joyce struck out 10 through seven innings, but it wasn’t enough to tame the Huskies’ offensive firepower.

“First game was tough, the seniors were great today, and Joyce was awesome for them, so we had to battle,” Glavine said.

While game one featured top-end pitching, game two was a slugfest. Holzwasser scored on a Max Viera single in the bottom of the first, but it was the second inning that was memorable. The Husky offense exploded for eight runs in an inning featuring RBI singles by Crossen and catcher JP Olson, plus a Jeff Costello grand slam that hit the foul pole in left.

The Pride got on the board in the fourth inning on a two-run homer from Santino Rosso, but the Huskies kept it coming with a run in the fifth on a flyout from Olson and the sixth on a homer from Dupere, his CAA-best fourteenth of the year.

“He’s a way better player than I ever was,” Glavine said. “He can run, he can defend, he’s got tremendous power, and he’s a game changer for us . . . he’s clutch.”

The Huskies closed it out with a plethora of pitchers in a rocky ninth inning featuring Thomas Balboni, Owen Batchelder, Craig Demers, and Owen Langan. The Pride added two more runs, but ultimately fell 14–8.

Northeastern starting pitcher Sebastian Keane went 5 ⅓, giving up four earned runs in a performance that was more than enough for the Huskies to get the win.

“Game two was kind of a wild game and didn’t have any flow, but overall I thought we played great today,” Glavine said. “I think they expect to win, but I don’t think they’re overconfident and that’s a fine line. I think we’re in the right place mentally right now, and it’s fun to watch.”

The Huskies finish up the four-game series with the Pride Sunday at 1 PM Eastern at Friedman Diamond. Jack Sinclair will have the call for WRBB.

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.

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.”

Northeastern Keeps Rolling with Doubleheader Sweep of Towson

Story by Milton Posner

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — Saturday’s doubleheader featured a near-perfect eight-inning start, weather-related havoc, the end of a two-year-old streak, a go-ahead home run, a straw hat, a golden necklace, and, albeit to a lesser extent, a dog.

It also featured two wins by the Northeastern Huskies, who topped the Towson Tigers 2–1 and 7–4 to extend their winning streak to 12 games, the second-longest in program history. The Huskies moved to 22–6 on the season and 10–0 in conference play, and extended their division lead to six and a half games. The series will conclude with a 1 PM ET game tomorrow, which WRBB will broadcast live.

Let’s take the opening bit piece by piece.

The Start

One day after Northeastern pitcher Cam Schlittler seized the title of second-best Husky start of the season, his teammate Kyle Murphy snagged it for himself. Across eight scoreless innings in the first game of the doubleheader, Murphy allowed just three baserunners — one on a single and two on hit-by-pitches. He was consistently and overwhelmingly aggressive, using a bevy of first-pitch strikes to get ahead on nearly every batter who stepped in against him, then leveraging the count advantages to the tune of 12 strikeouts, a career high.

“He was humming today,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “Last week I don’t think he threw many first-pitch strikes. He was behind almost every hitter last week and he still pitched great. So he’s done both. You’ve got to have the ability to do both.”

“We know that their offense is trying to work the count, especially early,” Glavine continued. “They want to see strike one a lot of the time, or at least see a pitch. So we wanted to get strike one on there this weekend, and Kyle did that today as good as I’ve ever seen anyone do it. He was awesome.”

The day before, Glavine sent Schlittler back out for the eighth, only to quickly pull him when the pitcher hit the first two batters he faced. Glavine said after the game that he regretted his choice, but said he had no reservations about sending Murphy out for the eighth inning on Saturday.

“The difference is the person,” Glavine explained. “Kyle’s been here six years. Kyle will tell me if he’s had enough, and that’s a sign of maturity. The younger guys will probably always tell me they can go back out. So I need to learn from that. I trust Kyle and I know he’s going to tell me the truth about how he feels, if he feels cooked or if he’s got another inning in him . . . Kyle told me he had it and he went out. Simple as that.”

The Weather-Related Havoc

In the sixth inning, the Huskies led 1–0 courtesy of a second-inning walk, an error, and a scorched infield single. But their second and final run, produced via the first extra-base hits of the series for either side, would prove even stranger. The wind, as it was on Friday, was blowing hard throughout in the direction of the right-field line.

“You need to get the small ball going,” Glavine said of his squad’s response to the conditions. “You need to have that in the offensive package, stealing bases and things like that. And then you’ve got to hit as many line drives and ground balls as you can. You’ve got to try to get above the baseball. We’ve talked about it; it’s easier said than done.”

Right fielder Jared Dupere, who had a potential home run ball blown foul earlier — and then another squashed by the wind in center field on the next pitch — smacked what appeared to be a high flyout into center field. But so strong was the wind that the ball landed just a few feet behind the infield.

The TV camera was completely fooled, and Dupere, who was booking it out of the box, found himself at second base with two out. When Max Viera smacked a line drive that landed on the outer half of the left-field foul line, Dupere trotted home with what proved a valuable insurance run.

A Dog, a Birthday, and a Two-Year-Old Streak

On May 24, 2019, in a CAA Tournament game against the Charleston Cougars, Husky second baseman Scott Holzwasser collected two hits. Thus began a streak that continued through the abbreviated 2020 season and finally ended early Saturday afternoon, when an 0-for-4 day ended Holzwasser’s on-base streak at a program-record 44 games.

But he wouldn’t be down for long. In the second game, Holzwasser singled twice and scored twice, proving as key as anyone to the Husky win.

“A leader. Stud. Superstar. Great college baseball player. One of the best players we’ve ever had here,” Glavine said. “He just does it all. You saw it in game two — big hits, big plays, double plays, diving catches. There’s really nothing we can’t do. He’s mentally tough. We’re not doing any of this without him. He’s a pleasure to coach.”

It was fitting that Holzwasser would take a central role, as his family’s dog was in attendance on a rather special day.

Okay, let’s be honest. Was that a ham-handed segue? Yes. Is this adorable dog really relevant to baseball coverage? No. But the Holzwassers’ dog is objectively excellent, so I’m jumping at the opportunity. Ellie, happy birthday from all of us at WRBB.

A Go Ahead-Homer, a Straw Hat, and a Golden Necklace

Jared Dupere is the reigning CAA Player of the Week for a reason: he annihilates baseballs. Routinely. Spectacularly. As in, he’s hit three baseballs out of Friedman Diamond during the team’s ongoing homestand.

So when Towson strung together four two-out singles in the top of the seventh to pull ahead, 4–3, there was no one the Huskies would rather have had at the dish with a runner on. And Dupere didn’t disappoint, pulling an Austin Weber pitch into the right-center field bleachers for a two-run jack that put the Huskies ahead to stay.

As Dupere crossed home plate and exuberantly shouted out to his teammates, they greeted him with a reception they repeated when catcher JP Olson homered the next inning. The victorious slugger was adorned in a straw hat and gold-colored necklace as his teammates surrounded him and hyped him up.

“As long as everybody’s having fun and we’re not disrespecting the other team, I want them to have fun and enjoy what they’re doing,” Glavine said. “I love seeing it. I got pretty excited on Jared’s home run coaching third and I usually don’t do that. But I love seeing the guys have fun; it’s a close team, they’re together.”

Glavine also noted that the team recently changed the song they use to celebrate in the dugout after home runs. When asked the name of the song, Glavine simply replied, “I have no idea. I don’t know. You guys are younger than me. I’m old. I have no idea.”

Huskies Ensnare Tigers in Series Opener

Story by Milton Posner

BROOKLINE, MA — Heading into this weekend’s series against Towson, Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine emphasized the recent successes of his starting pitchers, who ceded five measly runs to Delaware across 25 stellar innings last weekend. Among them was freshman phenom Cam Schlittler, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball in the third game of the series.

Friday afternoon, Schlittler outdid himself.

On the back of seven sparkling scoreless innings from the freshman, plus some savvy small ball from the offense, the Huskies took game one from the Towson Tigers, 3–0. It was the Huskies’ tenth consecutive win, their eighth straight to open conference play, and it moved them to 20–6 overall.

Not that Schlittler didn’t have company. Tiger starter Josh Seils matched him pitch for pitch most of the way. Seils was a bit tough to pinpoint heading into the game; he’d been named as a top 10 CAA prospect by Perfect Game USA before the season and was lauded by his coaches as a potential MLB draft pick, but entered Friday’s tilt with an ERA of 7.01.

“He’s a guy where you don’t really look at the numbers,” Glavine said. “I like him; I’ve liked him since the first time he pitched against us.”

It proceeded for a while as a pitchers’ duel, with both hurlers, particularly Schlittler, forcing weak contact off the end and handle of the bat. Most of the runners who reached in the first four innings did so by way of a walk, error, or a weakly hit ball that found a seam in the defense.

But in the fifth the Huskies broke through, or at least broke through on the scale a 3–0 small-ball pictures’-duel sort of game would allow. It began when Husky center fielder Ben Malgeri reached on a miscue by Tiger third baseman Josh Lysaght. Teddy Beaudet bunted Malgeri to third, a Spenser Smith single put runners at the corners, and Jeff Costello plated the run with a squeeze bunt.

“The wind was crazy; 30- to 40-mile-per-hour gusts make it really difficult to hit,” Glavine explained, noting that this sort of small ball becomes more important in an environment not conducive to driving the ball. (Neither team recorded an extra-base hit.)

The Huskies tacked on a second run a few minutes later, as Scott Holzwasser became the first of a handful of Huskies to split the seam between second and short. Holzwasser’s RBI single extended his on-base streak to 44 games, the longest such streak a Husky has had during Glavine’s tenure.

The Huskies tacked on another run in the seventh. Again it was Malgeri who set the table, this time by taking a pitch to the body. He swiped second, took third on another Beaudet sacrifice bunt, and scored on yet another Smith single. Seils was pulled shortly thereafter, having ceded three runs (one earned) over six and two-thirds innings.

The inning was also notable for a cameo by Towson reliever Teddy Blumenauer, who entered sporting a 23.40 ERA. Blumenauer hit Jared Dupere with his second pitch and was immediately yanked.

The top of the eighth saw Schlittler return to the mound with his pitch count nearing 100. His command had cratered, as he hit back-to-back batters and forced Glavine’s hand.

“He’s a competitor; I asked him if he felt good and he said he did,” Glavine said. “It’s a Friday and you want your starters to go as long as they can because you have three games behind this one. I shouldn’t have let him go out, my mistake; he’ll always say he wants to go out.”

But regardless, save for Sebastian Keane’s two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout against UMass Lowell on March 12, Schlittler’s start was the best any Husky has posted all year. In seven shutout innings, he fanned eight while allowing just four hits and one walk.

Reigning CAA Rookie of the Year Eric Yost pitched out of Schlittler’s jam in the eighth, then fireballer Brandon Dufault closed the door in the ninth to seal the win.

“He comes in and pounds the strike zone and gets us out of it in the perfect spot to get Brandon back out there, because he hasn’t been out there in two or three weeks,” Glavine said.

The Huskies and Tigers will face off again tomorrow in Brookline, with game one of the doubleheader beginning at 11 AM Eastern and game two beginning a short while after the first one concludes. Milton Posner will call both games for WRBB.

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.