Huskies Drop Series Capper to Blue Hens, 9–7

Story by Catherine Morrison

Photos by Sadie Parker

NEWARK, DE — On a sweltering Sunday afternoon, the Northeastern Huskies (30–8, 18–2 CAA) looked to put themselves back together after a devastating Saturday loss to the Delaware Blue Hens (12–22, 8–16 CAA) that ended their NCAA-best 20-game winning streak.

Wyatt Scotti was tapped to start for the Huskies, while Wyatt Nelson got the start for the Blue Hens. In what would become a battle of the Wyatts, Scotti ended up searching for his command in a rare shaky outing. 

Scotti started off the first inning by hitting three batters in a row to load the bases. The third batter, Joseph Carpenter, ended up leaving the game in the next inning.

Up next was the massive Jack Goan, who slammed a deep sac fly to right field to put the Blue Hens on the scoreboard. Scotti’s troubles were far from over, as he gave up a hit to the first batter he faced in the second inning, Eric Ludman. Ludman was sent home, along with Kyle Baker, by a double from Vinny Vaccone.

“We hit too many guys in the first inning there,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “The first inning was tough because we had some guys on our side that didn’t score. We escaped with only one run so I thought that was huge. Then [Scotti] kind of settled in and gave us five innings. But he just has to attack the zone better.”

Northeastern looked to get ahead of the Blue Hens in the top of the third and led off with a hit by catcher JP Olson. Spenser Smith, who had four extra-base hits in the doubleheader on Saturday, advanced Olson with a hit. Olson got his opportunity to run home two batters later on a single by Scott Holzwasser. 

The Huskies seemed to be back in prime form and hunting for the lead in the fourth after a scoreless third by Scotti. Their patient approach paid off, as the first two batters Nelson faced, Ryan Cervone and Corey DiLoreto, walked. Olson singled for the second straight at-bat, sending Cervone home and DiLoreto to second. Both advanced on a wild pitch as Nelson struggled to regain control of the inning. A sacrifice flyout and an RBI double was all it took to tie the game at three runs apiece, and Nelson was replaced by Derek Wakeley.

Wakeley looked to get out of the jam but struggled, walking his first batter with four straight pitches and sending Costello home on a wild pitch that went behind the catcher to the backstop. Wakeley then gave up a double to Max Viera, scoring Holzwasser.

It looked like the Huskies had regained their mojo, setting the basepaths aflame and getting a 6–4 lead. However, it wasn’t meant to be, as the Huskies only gained one more in the sixth inning while their struggling bullpen gave up the lead. David Stiehl gave up two runs in the sixth, tying the game. Northeastern looked to retake the lead in the top of the seventh but were stymied by sophomore Joey Silan, who entered Sunday having pitched just one inning all season.

The Blue Hens had no such problem with Northeastern replacement Brandon Dufault. The leadoff batter Vaccone took first on a hit by pitch, then advanced to third when Dufault’s pickoff throw sailed over the first baseman’s head. Delaware made Dufault pay with a humongous two-run home run by Goan to make it 9–7.

“I thought he was throwing hard, he looked good,” Glavine said of Dufault. “I thought he was throwing hard, looked fresh, he hadn’t thrown since Wednesday. It was good to get him out there in that situation and I would do it again. I thought it was absolutely the right spot to bring him in, it just didn’t work out today.”

Northeastern was unable to come back in the ninth. After winning 20 games in a row, they’ve lost consecutive games for the first time since mid-February.

“We just had to come out and try to win a series, really,” Glavine noted. “It was good in a sense to have the pressure of the streak off, but today all we were trying to do was trying to win a series . . . We challenged them, and they got us today.”

One bright spot for Northeastern Huskies was Holzwasser, who reached base every time he made a plate appearance — three singles and two walks. When he crossed home plate in the fourth inning, Holzwasser officially beat the Northeastern record for career runs, previously held by Hernan Guerrero.

(Fun fact time: Delaware beat Northeastern in the 1998 conference tournament to advance to the NCAA playoffs, and Guerrero was named to the All-Tournament Team with teammate Carlos Peña. Ever heard of him?)

But back to Holzwasser.

“Scott was awesome this weekend, I think he was our best player, no question about that,” Glavine said. “Great power, great speed, great defense, brings the ability to get on base, steal bases, brings toughness, brings speed, brings athleticism . . . we saw them all this weekend. He does it all and the guys love him, he brings a lot of energy, and he did that this weekend . . . He’s had a tremendous career and we’re going to definitely need him moving forward.”

Northeastern Just Played the Weirdest Doubleheader I’ve Ever Seen

Story by Milton Posner

Photos by Sadie Parker

NEWARK, DE — A cursory glance at Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader between Northeastern and Delaware reveals a pair of games that make so little sense juxtaposed against one another that watching both was enough to give you vertigo.

In the first, the Huskies, who entered riding an NCAA-best 19-game winning streak, showed exactly why they got that far. In tying a program record with their 20th straight win, they demolished another, scoring more runs in a game (26) than they had in a century of play before it.

In the second, the Blue Hens leveraged a four-run seventh inning to take a 5–3 lead. The Huskies, who had averaged 14 runs across their five previous games, couldn’t close the gap. Streak over.

The games were almost impossibly different. But in a certain sense, it made perfect sense. The Huskies displayed their prowess like no Northeastern team ever had. They reached the peak of their powers. And then the balloon burst.

Game One: The Onslaught

Every fan has a different idea of what constitutes a blowout. Mine goes roughly like this — a gap of 1–3 runs is a close game, 4–6 is a solid defeat, 7–9 is a blowout, 10–12 is a demolition, and anything above that is the sort of total annihilation possible only in Category 5 hurricanes or asteroid strikes.

Northeastern won the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader by 22 runs. 26–4. I’ll give a quick overview, then list my favorite statistical oddities.

Kyle Murphy hurled six innings of two-run ball for Northeastern. Meanwhile, the Huskies pounced on Delaware starter Dom Velazquez, pushing across two runs in the first inning and three in the second. After a scoreless third, a five-run fourth chased an increasingly wild Velazquez from the game after 105 pitches.

Not that it mattered. The Huskies trampled Winston Allen for seven runs in the fifth, hung three on David Keane in the sixth, and notched six in the seventh as multiple Delaware pitchers lost all semblance of control. By the end, Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine, who lamented his team taking its foot off the gas after jumping out to an 8–0 lead on Friday, did it for them.

“At some point you gotta make decisions and hold the runners and not rub it in,” he explained. “It gets to a point where we gotta go base to base, definitely did that in the later part of game one.”

Okay. Outrageous stat time:

  • The Huskies scored 26 runs without hitting a home run or a triple.
  • The Huskies had as many walks (13) as the Blue Hens had baserunners of any kind.
  • Their number one and number two hitters, Jeff Costello and Scott Holzwasser, notched eight plate appearances apiece. Costello smacked four hits.
  • Northeastern batted around in the fifth and seventh innings, bringing 12 men to the plate in each and scoring a combined 12 runs. They also sent nine batters to the plate in the fourth.
  • In the fifth, Spenser Smith doubled twice.
  • In that seventh inning, the Huskies’ six runs came on just two hits. Take out the one that was actually an error on the third baseman, and they had one. They had more RBI hit-by-pitches in the seventh inning than they did genuine hits.
  • In that same seventh inning, ten Husky batters in a row reached base.
  • The only person to take the mound for Delaware without allowing a run was Austin Colmery, who, mostly by virtue of entering right as the Huskies stopped trying, pitched two and a third scoreless innings while striking out two. Colmery is an outfielder.

Baseball is fun. And then, when you least expect it, baseball rips your heart out.

Game Two: The Comedown

“I’ve been on the other side in years past, where we’ve gotten beaten pretty badly, then come out and won the next game,” Glavine said. “The other team’s upset, they’re frustrated, they come out with a little extra oomph and maybe we let our guard down a little bit.”

“If anything, I probably didn’t do a good job getting them prepared between games,” he added. “Usually we come out swinging and we just didn’t.”

The Huskies didn’t play all that poorly. Glavine even noted that they didn’t make outright errors or mistakes and that Delaware needed big hits to win. He mentioned that his normally infallible reliever Eric Yost, who allowed four seventh-inning runs, had good stuff overall, and that he still trusts Yost in big spots.

But that seventh inning was enough to seal the Huskies fate. They came in positioned well enough, with a two-run, fifth-inning jack from Holzwasser putting them up by a run.

A seventh-inning triple from Smith plated another run. It was the fourth extra-base hit of the day for a player who had hit just five all season.

“He’s such an important part of our offense because we can turn the lineup over to the leadoff guys,” Glavine said. “And he can really run too. So we need a lot more of that for the rest of the year.”

And they did it all in support of Sebastian Keane, who tossed six innings of one-run ball while fanning six.

But the Blue Hens finally came home to roost or some such thing in the bottom half of the seventh. Jordan Hutchins smacked a solo homer, then Vinny Vaccone, Joseph Carpenter, Jack Goan, and Joey Loynd used a triple-walk-double-single combo to put Yost on the ropes and push three more runs across. The lead was 5–3, Delaware hurler Mike Biasiello held the lead, and the Huskies 20-game, program-record-tying win streak was consigned to the ash heap.

Not that they’re hanging their heads.

“It was also great preparation for what lies ahead, playing under pressure,” Glavine noted. “There’s pressure when you have a winning streak. We feel it, we want to keep it going.”

“I think it meant a lot to the coaches, to the players, to the staff, to everyone involved with our program,” he continued. “We really put ourselves out there in the national sense. A lot of people all over the country are talking about us, and deservedly so. What they just did is really impressive.”

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.

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 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.”

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 Blow Away Delaware in Doubleheader Sweep

Story by Khalin Kapoor

Photos by Sarah Olender

BROOKLINE, MA — On a tempestuous Friday afternoon, the Northeastern Huskies (17–6, 5–0 CAA) grinded out two tough wins against the Delaware Blue Hens (8–12, 4–6 CAA), winning game one 1–0 and game two 6–5.

With these wins, Northeastern remains undefeated in CAA play despite dealing with multiple long breaks between games over the past few weeks. The Huskies were powered by dominant pitching from starters Kyle Murphy and Wyatt Scotti and some clutch hitting from third baseman Danny Crossen.

In game 1, right fielder Jared Dupere ambushed Delaware starter Chris Ludman in the first inning, knocking home the game’s first run with an RBI double. It would turn out to be the only run scored in the entire game.

Murphy spun six scoreless innings in the winning effort, striking out seven and allowing only three hits. Brian Rodriguez then came in to fire two scoreless innings before Eric Yost notched the save in a dominant seven-pitch ninth inning.

“I thought our pitching was awesome in the first game,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine remarked. “Murphy, B-Rod, and Yost really made a difference.”

On the other side, Chris Ludman was the hard-luck loser, giving up just that one first-inning run in a complete-game effort. Ludman limited hard contact all game and induced constant ground ball outs, but was still outdueled by Murphy.  

After getting shut out in game one, Delaware began game two with a leadoff triple by star right fielder Kyle Baker, who scored on center fielder Aidan Riley’s groundout. Northeastern starter Wyatt Scotti overcame the rocky start, finishing six innings and only allowing that one run. Scotti had some trouble on the basepaths throughout his start but managed to bear down and pitch himself out of multiple jams.

“Wyatt Scotti was awesome for us,” Glavine said. “He’s been awesome for us this year and he was again today.”

Delaware starter Dom Velazquez struck out nine over five innings, allowing just two earned runs and consistently limiting the damage. Getting hits with runners in scoring position proved to be a challenge for Northeastern against Velazquez and the Delaware bullpen, with the offense leaving 11 runners on base.

“We had so many chances to break it open and extend the lead,” Glavine noted. “But we didn’t and we let them hang around.”

The Husky offense battled back from the deficit in small-ball fashion, stringing together base hits and hitting two sacrifice flies. Going into the top of the eighth inning, Northeastern was winning 4–1 and it seemed that they were well on their way for another W considering how inept the Delaware offense had been up to that point. However, Delaware manufactured a surprising rally against Husky hurlers Owen Langan and Jake Gigliotti. Blue Hen hitters base-hit Northeastern to death in the inning, hitting five singles and taking two free passes to score four runs and take the lead.

“We weren’t disciplined today,” Glavine said. “We played well . . . in the tough conditions [but] they pushed as hard as they could.”

Down 5–4, Northeastern came to bat in the bottom of the eighth and started playing some more small ball against Delaware’s Derek Wakeley, loading the bases for Crossen with a single and a couple of walks. With two outs and in the biggest situation of the game, Crossen laced a base hit into left field, driving home two runs and taking back the lead for the Huskies, 6–5. Crossen’s huge hit was a welcome change in a game where Northeastern consistently had trouble driving runs in with runners in scoring position.

“Danny Crossen is as clutch of a player as I have ever coached,” Glavine said.

Eric Yost was called on to secure the save for the second time after throwing just seven pitches in game one. Yost allowed a double but struck out two and induced a groundout to shortstop Spenser Smith who made a spectacular play to end the game. Yost converted on two high-leverage save opportunities in one day, taking the pressure off the rest of Northeastern’s bullpen.

“I turned into more of a cheerleader in game two trying to keep the energy up,” Glavine noted. “I felt like we were a little tired.”

Friday’s doubleheader began a stretch of four games in two days for Northeastern. Saturday afternoon will be another twin bill, with stars Cam Schlittler and Sebastian Keane slated to start. Northeastern should hope to get as many innings as possible from both starters so as to still conserve their bullpen as much as possible. The Huskies will have to keep the intensity up on Saturday and will look to see their offense heat up going forward.

Milton Posner, Mike Puzzanghera, and Catherine Morrison will call both games for WRBB, with first pitches scheduled for 11 AM and 2 PM.

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.

Huskies Bring out the Brooms for Doubleheader Sweep at Hofstra

Story by Khalin Kapoor

Photos by Sadie Parker

HEMPSTEAD, NY — The Northeastern Huskies (14–6) swept the Hofstra Pride (9–9) in a Saturday doubleheader, winning game one 3–2 and game two 13–5.

Northeastern was able to grind out a victory in game one due to stellar pitching from starter Kyle Murphy and clutch hitting from right fielder Jared Dupere. The Huskies took the momentum from that win and carried into their offensive explosion in game two, powered once again by Dupere along with center fielder Ben Malgeri, catcher Matt Olson, and shortstop Spenser Smith.

Game one was a pitchers’ duel through and through between Northeastern starter Kyle Murphy and Hofstra starter Jimmy Joyce. Murphy notched a career-high 12 punchouts over six and a third innings of work, scattering five hits and allowing two runs. Murphy set down seven straight hitters by way of the K and has struck out 22 over his last two starts. Joyce matched Murphy stride for stride and was arguably better, spinning seven innings, striking out 13 batters, and allowing two earned runs.

“Joyce was awesome for Hofstra,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine remarked. “Really really electric . . . and everything was a struggle for us.”

Even though they had trouble getting their bats going against Joyce, the Huskies took advantage of some Hofstra miscues throughout the game, scoring one run each on a balk and a passed ball. Taking what the other team gives you is something Northeastern was trying to improve upon coming into this series.

In the sixth inning against Joyce, Dupere launched a homer to right field, increasing Northeastern’s lead to 3–1 and effectively icing the game.

Northeastern fireballer Brandon Dufault shut down Hofstra in the ninth, notching his second save of the season and securing a game one victory. Murphy, reliever Eric Yost, and Dufault combined to tally 13 strikeouts against just one walk and six hits. In a game where offense was at a premium, the bullpen putting zeroes on the board and taking some pressure off of Murphy was incredibly clutch.

“Game one was a grind, it could have gone either way,” Glavine said. “The guys battled in what was not an easy game . . . [They] played well under pressure, and we came out on top.”

In game two, the Huskies came out firing on all cylinders, plating four runs in the second courtesy of a two-run blast by Olson and another bomb by Dupere. They would never relinquish this lead.

Husky starter Sebastian Keane spun six quality innings to get the win, allowing two runs and striking out eight. Keane benefitted from stellar defense behind him — including some highlight-reel plays by Spenser Smith — and the early four-run cushion that he was tasked with protecting.

“Keane was good . . . though he would tell you it was not his best,” Glavine said. “He fought and he battled . . . settled in and gave us six strong innings.”

After entering the final three innings of action up 6-2, the Huskies went for the jugular, tacking on seven more runs. Leadoff hitter Ben Malgeri hit his first home run of the season, Jared Dupere continued his domination with an RBI double, Kyle Peterson hit a two-run triple, and Spenser Smith capped off the scoring with a solo homer in the ninth.

“Offensively, the guys really took over,” Glavine said. “It was really just a great team win.”

Game one was a grind for Northeastern, but getting that first win was huge to relax the team heading into game two. That relaxed approach led to better at-bats, and with the momentum from the previous win the Huskies struck early and played under less pressure. In game one, Northeastern batters struck out 15 times. Compare that to game two, where they struck out only twice. This progression is a testament to how this team can quickly adapt and change its approach.

This weekend against Hofstra marks the first of many conference series for Northeastern. So far they couldn’t have asked for a better start, as they’ve won their first three and will look to chalk up a fourth against Hofstra on Sunday.