Northeastern Falls 3–2 to Old Dominion After a Walk-Off in the 11th

By Sarah Olender

In a hard fought series, Northeastern (3–4) lost the final game against Old Dominion (8–3), 3–2 in eleven innings Sunday afternoon. 

There weren’t many parts of the game that had the socially distanced crowd in Norfolk, Virginia standing up to cheer, but this close game was one of the most exciting because it kept people on the edge of their seats. 

Both teams displayed elite performances, holding each other to one run each until extra innings and chipping away at each other’s pitchers. 

“I thought it was a great series,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “I thought we played well these last couple of days and we really only had one bad inning all weekend long and it swung the whole series, but this thing could have went either way.” 

Cam Schlittler started for the Huskies. In comparison to his performance in the Wake Forest series, he walked a few more batters, but still battled through each inning.  He gave up five hits and struck out four.

“He definitely wasn’t as sharp today. His command was a little bit off. His velocity was good and he was strong,” Glavine said. “If that’s him not at his best, six innings and one run, I’ll take that every time. He’s a competitor [and] gave us a chance to win today.”

When Old Dominion left the bases loaded after a series of small hits, one hit-by-pitch, and a walk in the bottom of the second, Northeastern was lucky that the Monarchs had scored only one run.

In the top of the third, Northeastern started making contact with Monarch starter Ryne Moore’s previously untouchable pitching. Jeff Costello singled up the middle and made his way to third with a stolen base and smart baserunning on a ground ball from Teddy Beaudet. The Huskies tied it up after Spenser Smith hit a sacrifice fly to center field, bringing Costello home. 

The Huskies’ speed and base-running are among their greatest strengths. Old Dominion did a good job of holding the Huskies on the basepaths, which Glavine credited as one of the reasons why Northeastern didn’t come out on top. 

“We couldn’t quite get it going as much as I’d like to this weekend,” Glavine said. “There’s more to it than just stealing bases.” 

In the sixth inning, Eric Yost went in to relieve Schlittler. He pitched a solid inning, facing three batters, throwing 19 pitches, and striking out one. In the bottom of the eighth, Thomas Balboni came in to pitch and he faced six batters. 

Defensively, Northeastern had a stellar showing. Through nine innings, they had only one error, stranded eight Monarchs on base, and held their opponent to just one run.

In the 10th inning, Brandon Dufault took the mound for the Huskies. Dufault, a veteran reliever with eight strikeouts in his four innings pitched so far this year, had two strikeouts on Sunday, but Old Dominion kept trying to find a way to beat his pitching. 

In the top of the 11th, the Huskies started the inning with Smith on second because of the new tiebreaker rule. Ben Malgeri was next and tapped a sacrifice bunt into play, sending Smith to third. Max Viera followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing the speedy Smith to score. 

Old Dominion quickly caught up. With a runner on second, Robbie Petracci hit a double off of Dufault, sending home the tying run while keeping the winning run on base. 

The Monarchs then decided to pinch run Zach Coldsnow for Petracci as Brock Gagliardi stepped up to bat. With no outs and a runner in scoring position, Gagliardi, who was 0-2 on the day, found the confidence to send one to left-center, ending the game with a walk-off single, bringing the final score 3–2. 

The Huskies will return home for a Tuesday tilt with Albany.

Northeastern Beats Old Dominion in 6–5 Comeback Win

By Sarah Olender

Friday’s game brought the Huskies a disappointing walk-off loss after a hard-fought back-and-forth battle.

On Saturday, Old Dominion (7–3) scored all of their runs in one third-inning barrage, and spent the rest of the game stranding runners. Throughout the game, Northeastern (3–3) chipped away at the Monarchs’ lead.

Sebastian Keane took the mound for his second start of the year after posting a 23.14 ERA in his first outing. Today he also struggled a bit, but his defense limited the damage.

“I think there’s more in there; we haven’t seen the best of him,” head coach Mike Glavine said. “I thought it was much better today. He was throwing harder, I thought his off-speed stuff was better. He was more competitive. It was in the zone more. I think he trusted everything he was doing more, but today was a step in the right direction and he gave us a chance to win the game.”

In the top of the third, Northeastern’s JP Olson slammed a double to right center, advanced to third on a hit from Spenser Smith, and scored on an error to get the Huskies on the board. That error put the batter, Scott Holzwasser, at second. Though Monarch starter Nick Pantos fanned Jeff Costello, Holzwasser advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored an unearned run. 2–0 Huskies.

Old Dominion answered with a vengeance. They loaded the bases for an Andy Garriola grand slam, then Robbie Petracci quickly tacked on another homer.

In the top of the fourth, Northeastern’s Max Viera fired his first collegiate homer out of the park, trimming the Monarch lead to 5–3.

Keane finished up at the end of the fifth, tallying eight strikeouts. In the top of the sixth the Huskies started building small hits and walks, but ultimately exited the inning scoreless after leaving the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the sixth, Brian Rodriguez took the mound for the Huskies; he would strike out three in two innings of play. In the bottom of the eighth, Jake Gigliotti took the mound, and did not allow a hit in two scoreless innings. 

“Rodriguez was really good for us in that role last year,” Glavine said. “We got in trouble in that one inning and made the pitches when he needed to. And that’s a sign of a great pitcher and what you need out of your bullpen.”

As the Huskies stepped up to the plate for their final frame, Olson and Smith both walked, with Olson taking third on a wild pitch. A Holzwasser grounder to third forced Smith out and plated Olson to bring the Huskies within one.

With the deadly baserunner Holzwasser on first and one out, Old Dominion pitcher Jacob Gomez did his best to try to pick him off, or at least keep him close to the bag, but it ultimately wouldn’t matter. After Jeff Costello struck out, Jared Dupere got up to the plate with two outs and took the pitch count deep. Gomez started to tire and lose his accuracy, almost hitting Dupere on multiple occasions, but Dupere pushed through. With a 3-2 count, the lefty offered at a meatball of a pitch and cranked it over the right-field fence, giving the Huskies a 6–5 lead, their first since the third inning and the one that would prove the decider.

The Huskies face Old Dominion again tomorrow at 12:05 PM.

Huskies Battle Monarchs, But Battle Battles Back

By Catherine Morrison

On a windy and cold Friday afternoon, Northeastern (2–3) faced Old Dominion (7–2) in Norfolk, Virginia in the first in a three-game series. Northeastern was coming off an 11–2 drubbing of UMass on Wednesday, but was in for a different affair on Friday, when a rollercoaster of emotions ended in a walk-off home run by the Monarchs’ Kyle Battle.

Northeastern started with a leadoff single by Scott Holzwasser, who extended his on-base streak to 23 games. The next three batters were quickly taken care of, leaving Holzwasser stranded. The Huskies wouldn’t get another chance to score until the fourth inning.

Kyle Murphy, the Huskies’ season opener, battled wind conditions and didn’t have the command he needed. The Monarchs capitalized with a two-run homer by Carter Trice. Old Dominion stranded a couple of baserunners but ended the inning up 2–0.

Murphy settled in at the top of the second and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. He was plagued again by the wind in the bottom of the third, however, as he walked Trice and gave up a run-scoring double to Andy Garriola. After walking three in a scoreless fourth inning to bring his pitch count to 88, Murphy was replaced by stalwart middle reliever David Stiehl.

“Conditions were a little sneaky tough today; it was windy and blowing hard to right and it was a little bit cool,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “It was tough to get a grip on the ball and so the command Kyle had wasn’t what he wanted it to be . . .  But overall Kyle settled in; I think he gave us quality innings there.”

After three slow innings, Northeastern’s lineup finally got something started when Jared Dupere singled and advanced to second on an error. Corey DiLoreto followed with a roaring single up the middle to plate him. At this point, Monarch hurler Hunter Gregory was clearly feeling the heat, and walked Max Viera to put runners on first and second. Jeff Castello sent DiLoreto home with a single but was stranded on base.

“Corey made some big plays there and [on] defense he’s a big target back there; he’s long and he’s good to throw to,” Glavine said. “I think it gives them a comfortness to let the ball fly and know he’s gonna cover a lot of ground. He made . . . a diving catch, a couple of leaping catches so the ball found him today . . . He’s swinging the bat well and he’s off to a heck of a start for us.”

Northeastern tacked on six runs across the sixth and eighth innings, putting the score at 8–5 and a win within reach. But the Monarchs returned in the eighth inning with a vengeance. A couple of hits, a passed ball, and an RBI groundout set the table for Trice, who smacked his second home run of the ballgame to cut the Husky lead to one. Northeastern closer Brandon DuFault looked like he would make it out of the inning alive when he struck out Garriola, but caught an unlikely break when the third strike got past catcher Teddy Beaudet and Garriola stole first. 

“Obviously no one’s trying to make mistakes but we need to be able to play under pressure,” Glavine noted. “I feel like we just handed them those runs. I’ve seen our guys make those plays hundreds of times so we just gotta learn from it.”

Old Dominion took advantage of Garriola’s second chance and sent him home on a double by Robbie Petracci to tie the score at eight. DuFault finally escaped the inning by striking out Coutney. 

After Monarch closer Aaron Holiday retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, Dufault walked Brock Gagliardi to kick off the home half. He settled down and induced a groundout and a strikeout for two outs, but the Monarchs returned to the top of their lineup with the tension peaking: a runner on second, two out. Battle swung hard, connected with a satisfying crack, and sent the ball over the fence for a walk-off two-run homer. 

“That one hurt,” Glavine said. “We did so many things well and just not enough. We have to find a way early in the season to win these ballgames.”

Northeastern will be back at Bud Metheny Baseball Complex Saturday at 1 PM for the second of the three-game series.