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.”
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.”
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.
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.”