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 Trampled by Wake Forest

By Jordan Baron and Sarah Olender

It was Northeastern baseball’s second game of the season, and anyone who watched yesterday’s matchup knows that Northeastern struggled in the first inning. That story didn’t change on Saturday, as the Huskies dropped their second game in a row, 9–0, to the No. 17 Wake Forest Demon Deacons in game two of a three-game road set. 

It was a tough start in the first three innings. Northeastern batters struck out, popped out, or grounded out, and the one man to make it to first, freshman Max Viera, got picked off a few pitches later.

“Overall we just gotta play better, be sharper, and offensively we showed signs but we didn’t hit well with runners in scoring position, but we got guys on, we put up some pretty good at bats,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “We weren’t quite as sharp and crisp as we were last night.”

Wake Forest easily worked Husky starter Sebastian Keane into a high pitch count. Midway through the third inning, Keane reached his limit, having already thrown 79 pitches and given up six runs. Despite the depressing score, Keane had punched out four Demon Deacons.

“We’ve got to start winning the first inning and putting up zeros,” Glavine said. “So maybe it’s just changing a little bit how we prep pregame and being ready to go in that first inning, trying to get off to a better start because we definitely don’t want to be constantly playing from behind.”

Redshirt senior reliever David Stiehl took over the hill to try and close out the third inning. Stiehl also struggled to shut down the Deacons, allowing two more runs that were both charged to Keane before finally ending the scoring threat. Steihl settled in afterward and finished with an impressive line, allowing no earned runs and just one hit over 2.2 innings of work. The right-hander walked two and struck out three.

On the other side of things, Wake Forest junior starter William Fleming diced the Husky lineup, allowing just one hit through three innings with his fastball hitting the upper nineties.

Suddenly, the Huskies found life in the fourth, racking up three straight hits to load the bases with just one gone. But the right-handed Fleming kept his composure, and showcased the depth and strength of the Demon Deacon pitching staff as he fanned Corey DiLoreto looking and got Jeff Costello to pop to second to end the frame.

Fleming continued his rampage against the Northeastern lineup into the fifth and escaped a jam in the sixth despite the Husky offense putting two runners in scoring position. Jeff Costello gave the ball quite a ride during the rally as he pulled an inside fastball down the left field line, but it hooked foul, and Fleming escaped the inning.

“Tip your cap to their pitchers tonight,” Glavine said. “They did a really good job and had us sort of playing defense when we had runners in scoring position.”

The Northeastern defense didn’t exactly help out their teammates on the mound, as shortstop Spenser Smith booted a ground ball early on, and Ben Malgeri and Costello nearly collided as they let a third-inning ball drop in the gap.

“We had a couple defensive mistakes out there that cost us again,” Glavine said. “Against a team like that or really any team you can’t can’t give them extra routes.”

Despite Keane’s unfortunate start, the Huskies had some good performances from the rest of the pen, as Rick Burroni, James Quinlivan, and Jake Gigliotti all tossed effective innings. The damage was done, however, and Demon Deacons ran away with the 9–0 victory.

“We just weren’t as sharp tonight, weren’t as competitive, fell behind early again, second day in a row makes it tough coming back against the pitching they have,” Glavine said.