Huskies Punch Ticket to Winner-Take-All Game With Dramatic Doubleheader Win

Northeastern will play a winner-take-all game against UNCW for the CAA Championship on Sunday at 1 PM Eastern. Click here to hear Milton Posner and Jack Sinclair call the action.

Story by Milton Posner and Jack Sinclair

Photos by Sadie Parker

WILMINGTON, NC — What stands out about Saturday, perhaps more than anything else, is just how many chances the Northeastern Huskies had to end their season.

After losing to the UNC Wilmington Seahawks on Friday night and dropping into the losers’ bracket of the double elimination CAA Tournament, the Huskies needed to win twice Saturday — first against the Charleston Cougars and then against the Seahawks — just to push things to a winner-take-all game on Sunday. When they struggled to score in the first game, and when UNCW’s comeback forced extra innings in the second game, it seemed as though the Huskies were playing with fire just a bit too much.

But they made it through, winning the most suspenseful and compelling game of the season in the process. They’ll play for all the marbles tomorrow.

Game One

The Charleston Cougars ran into Sebastian Keane and were the worse for the experience. It was clear from the first pitch that Keane had brought his best stuff. After allowing a single in the first inning, Keane retired 13 straight Cougars. He pulled out all the stops, mixing in a sweeping curveball with his blistering fastball. Keane struck out six en route to seven innings of one-run baseball, with an RBI double from Harrison Hawkins the lone blemish.

“Lights out in tough conditions when you know if you lose, you’re going home,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “In his first tournament start. When the offense isn’t doing anything and the wind’s blowing in. He was awesome.”

Charleston’s William Privette mostly matched the majesty of the Northeastern starter, allowing only one hit over five innings.

“There was more pressure on us in that game than in game two, because you’re trying to get to game two,” Glavine said. “I think we were very tense and we couldn’t score. Wasn’t going our way by any stretch of the imagination.”

The man who relieved Privette, Tradd James, struggled as the Northeastern offense woke up. He started his outing by striking out Jeff Costello, then allowed a stand-up triple to Max Viera.

Then James met Jared Dupere. Or rather, Jared Dupere introduced himself to James by sending his pitch over the left field wall for a two-run home run, his twentieth of the year, tying the Northeastern single-season record.

“I don’t,” Glavine said when asked if he could believe the year Dupere is having. “And in limited action too; we’ve played less games this year. Every time he swings, I feel like it has a chance to leave the yard. He’s a threat and everyone knows it. He’s got the pressure on him from our team and somehow it doesn’t affect him.”

“He’s an animal,” Glavine added. “He carried us in that game.”

The 2–0 lead was all Keane needed, as his seventh inning of work went just as smoothly as the rest. Brian Rodriguez took the mound in relief and built off of Keane’s dominance, throwing two scoreless innings.

The offense took the nod from Keane and really laid into the Cougars in the eighth. Scott Holzwasser drove in a run with a double before Danny Crossen brought him in, also with a double. The parade around the bases continued, as Ben Malgeri singled to second base, with the assist coming from a throwing error that scored Crossen.

The game ended in a 5–1 margin in the Huskies’ favor, a solid all-around win. But given what came next, Husky fans would be forgiven for forgetting its finer points.

Game Two

One inevitable consequence of winning 20 games in a row and nearly running the table in conference play is that it tends to come at the expense of late-inning drama. But in the highest-pressure game of the season, Northeastern and UNCW gave us a match for the ages.

Unlike Friday’s game against UNCW — and, for that matter, the game they’d played a couple hours prior — the Huskies wasted little time. In the second inning, Scott Holzwasser, who has spent all tournament running faster on an injured ankle than most people run fully healthy, took Seahawk starter Luke Gesell deep down the left field line.

Not to be outdone, Ben Malgeri, who hit just two homers in the regular season, smashed his second of the tournament two batters later.

“His home run numbers are low and I’ve seen him hit balls like he’s been hitting them [now],” Glavine said. “We started talking about that [in mid-May] at Delaware, and since Delaware he’s done a really good job being more aggressive with his barrel, not getting beat, working to the opposite field, and working to pull to the gap. We talked about it, he listened, he’s executing.”

The 2–0 Northeastern lead held as Husky starter Wyatt Scotti, like Keane before him, mowed down batters effectively and efficiently. Malgeri added to it with another solo shot in the fourth — he’s hit more home runs since Thursday than did in the three months before it — and Max Viera singled home Teddy Beaudet in the fifth to tack on a fourth run.

Now, let’s draw a hypothetical line through the seventh inning stretch. Everything before this line constitutes a mildly interesting game, one with an excellent Northeastern pitching performance and a handful of homers.

Everything after it represents the most compelling baseball Northeastern, and probably the entire conference, has seen this season.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, consecutive singles by Cole Weiss, Dillon Lifrieri, and Noah Bridges, plus a sacrifice fly from Jac Croom, sliced the Northeastern lead in half. Scotti’s day was done.

Fireballer Brandon Dufault assumed the mound in the bottom of the eighth, just in time for the dam of baseball weirdness to burst wide open. After a Taber Mongero single and a Brooks Baldwin strikeout, both Trevor Marsh and Matt Suggs hit hard comebackers to Dufault, both of which could theoretically have yielded inning-ending double plays. Dufault spiked his throw into the grass in front of second base on the Marsh hit, then Suggs smacked his comebacker so hard that the ball tore the glove off Dufault’s hand and trickled away from the mound.

Bases loaded. Tying run on second. Go-ahead run on first. One out. Cole Weiss, who had hit a grand slam against the Huskies the day before, at the plate.

But Dufault sat him down on strikes. It wasn’t a deja vu story. Weiss was just a decoy for the main event.

The battle that ensued between Dufault and Lifrieri was mystifying. By the tail end of the at-bat, fans of both teams were applauding with every pitch. It was a war of attrition in miniature as Lifrieri worked the count full, then fouled off five consecutive 3-2 pitches. On the 11th pitch of the appearance, he landed a line drive in right field in front of Dupere. With the baserunners off with the pitch for the sixth time in a row, Mongero and Marsh scored easily. Tie game.

Dufault retired Bridges to end the inning. In the ninth, both teams mustered only a single, as Dufault and UNCW’s Hunter Hodges settled in nicely. The Huskies went into the tenth inning for just the second time this season.

They quickly loaded the bases on a Costello double, a Viera walk, and a Dupere intentional walk. A Danny Crossen sacrifice fly, a throwing error, and a Malgeri single cashed three runs and let almost all the air out of Brooks Field.

Not that the Seahawks would go quietly in the bottom half of the frame. A walk and a hit-by-pitch brought the tying run to the plate and chased Dufault from the game.

“I put him on for a third inning. That was my fault; he was completely out of gas,” Glavine said, though he noted that, “It’s a pretty simple thought process — it’s do or die, and he hasn’t pitched yet in the tournament . . . I didn’t want to come out of the game without firing our best bullets.”

On came David Stiehl, who forced a ground-ball double play on his second pitch to torpedo the inning. Lifrieri’s RBI single proved irrelevant as the game ended 7–5.

A couple of X-factors enabled the Huskies to withstand the Seahawk surge. One was a propensity for making quick, smart, strategic decisions in the field, which Glavine called “proud papa moments” and said excited him more than home runs. The other was the defense of catcher Teddy Beaudet.

“The number of pitches he blocked tonight under pressure was incredible,” Glavine said. “And then he throws a guy out under pressure. He’s playing his best baseball at the right time of the year.”

The Huskies will rematch the Seahawks again on Sunday, and Glavine says only Keane and Scotti are unavailable. This means Cam Schlittler and Kyle Murphy may pitch, though they likely can’t carry full starter workloads after pitching on Thursday and Friday, respectively. But it’ll be all hands on deck for the winner-take-all game.

Huskies Run Away with CAA Tournament Opener

Northeastern will play their next CAA Tournament game on Friday, May 28 at 7 PM against the winner of the UNCW–Elon game. Click here to listen as Milton Posner and Jack Sinclair call the action live for WRBB.

Story by Milton Posner and Jack Sinclair

Photos by Sadie Parker

WILMINGTON, NC — It was as good of a first inning as Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine had ever seen.

“I couldn’t have drawn it up any better,” Glavine said. “We get bunts down, steal bases, get a home run, get two-strike hits, a couple ugly hits — just everything you want from a lineup. We go all the way through, we turn the lineup over. It was a special inning. You saw [all of] our offense in one inning.”

When the dust settled, the Huskies came away with six runs in the first inning, making up the bulk of their offensive production as they cruised to a 10–3 win. After an emphatic start to their tenth CAA Tournament appearance, the Huskies will look to build on this win and claim their first title since joining the conference in 2006.

Starter Trey Pooser kicked off the game for the Charleston Cougars, and quickly found himself in a load of trouble. Jeff Costello led off with an infield single. Max Viera followed suit, singling into right to advance Costello to third; Viera then stole third as Jared Dupere struck out. Up stepped Scott Holzwasser, sliding to the cleanup and designated hitter spots after a misstep at the first base bag the weekend prior left him out of the lineup and in a boot for the last regular season game.

Holzwasser was limping but produced nonetheless, knocking a clean single to right that plated Costello and Viera.

“He’s a gamer,” Glavine said. “You’ll see him in there again tomorrow, so he’s got a whole night and day to prepare and get his foot where it needs to be. He’ll definitely be in the DH spot.”

After a Danny Crossen single, Ben Malgeri, the center fielder who has had a quiet season compared to his hard-hitting teammates, stepped up in every sense. Malgeri formally introduced his bat to the baseball by sending it about 400 feet over the left field wall, boosting the Huskies lead to 5–0.

The Cougars’ nightmare inning rolled on, as the next three plays saw Ian Fair reach on an error, Teddy Beaudet awarded first base on a foul ball incorrectly ruled a hit-by-pitch, and Spenser Smith reach safely off a bunt back to the pitcher. Costello stroked a fly ball into deep center, which gave Fair plenty of time to tag up and score the sixth run of the inning. 

Fair would score again in the bottom of the third, this time on his own accord. Malgeri reached base on an error just before the Husky first baseman stood in and yanked a home run to the opposite field.

After three innings, the Huskies held a commanding 8–1 lead over the Cougars. Tack on Dupere’s CAA-leading 18th home run in the fourth and another RBI single from Holzwasser in the fifth, and the Huskies led 10–1.

Underlining all of this offense was a gutsy pitching performance from standout freshman, Cam Schlittler. He dominated opponents the season, going 6–0 in conference play with a 0.90 ERA and making hitters look like they were swinging toothpicks. He showed why on Thursday afternoon, as he mowed through an almost impossibly efficient first six innings allowing only a solo home run to Jared Kirven.

“Pretty sure Schlittler liked the hot weather,” Glavine said. “The pitchers love it. We’ve talked at length about taking care of our bodies to be able to play in this heat. We had it in Towson, which was huge. Leading into this game, we practiced for three days in the heat. We’ve been talking about hydration, rest, and all that stuff.”

But disaster struck Schlittler in the seventh inning. Or, more accurately, a Kirven line drive did. On his pitching arm. 

For a long moment, the Husky dugout, as well as the fans who made the 800-mile trek from Massachusetts, held their breath.

“Fortunately it was above the elbow; it hit him in the bicep,” Glavine explained. “The stitches were on there, I could see it plain as day. He was hurting and it was bruising up already. I just wanted to calm him down; that’s a jolt and I bet you it was 100 mph off the bat.”

Schlittler tossed a few warmup pitches to regain his control, then retired the next batter to escape the inning. Though he did cede two runs in the eighth, Glavine attributed it more to fatigue than to the line drive.

“It probably wasn’t a ton of pain, it was more shock. The pain is probably going to come tonight,” he said. “But I wouldn’t have put him out there if I didn’t feel like it was safe. And of course he wants to stay in; he’s a tough kid.”

Schlittler probably wasn’t going to pitch again in the conference tournament anyway, but Glavine confirmed that they are looking to prepare him for NCAA Tournament play should the Huskies make it. The Cougars, meanwhile, drop into the loser’s bracket in the double elimination tournament, and will face William & Mary in a win-or-go-home game Friday morning.

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 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.

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 Shut Out Bulldogs for Third Straight Win

Story by Catherine Morrison

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — Northeastern (7–5) continued their winning streak on a chilly Tuesday afternoon against Bryant (2–7), scoring five and shutting out the Bulldogs.

The theme for the Huskies this season has been feast or famine. Northeastern will stack the runs early, then lose the lead in the bottom half with poor defense and a dearth of hits. Thankfully for the Huskies, Tuesday’s tilt was nothing of the like. 

Wyatt Scotti started for Northeastern and threw a solid three innings, giving up only three hits and one walk. After Scotti was pulled, Northeastern cycled through a new pitcher every inning or so against a lesser opponent. 

“The strategy was just to get some guys in who we hadn’t used in a little bit but they’re guys that we rely on,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine explained. “So you gotta think long term here . . . We gotta think about conference games coming up. Eventually we’re gonna have four game weekends so we’re gonna have to rely on a lot of pitchers.”

One such standout was Eric Yost, who threw the fifth and sixth innings. He only gave up one hit and had three of the Huskies four strikeouts.

Bryant followed Northeastern’s pitcher-cycling strategy but proved much less successful. Starting pitcher Luke Garofalo did okay in the first inning, but lost his way in the top of the second. He started off by walking Max Viera. The next batter, Jeff Costello, laid down a bunt and practically flew to first base, beating out the throw to put runners on first and second. 

Garofalo gave up two more hits to put Northeastern in the lead, 2–0, and was only saved when Teddy Beaudet was caught stealing to end the inning. 

Garofalo’s replacement, John MacDonald, looked wild in the bottom of the third. He threw hard but had trouble with his control, often throwing in the dirt or missing the catcher entirely to hit the backstop with a loud thunk. He was clearly thrown off his game and hesitated at the mound long enough to draw a pitch clock violation.

MacDonald inherited Scott Holzwasser on first base, who promptly stole second. MacDonald was clearly rattled and walked the next batter he faced, Ben Malgeri. Holzwasser advanced on a wild pitch and scored on the second out, a pop fly to right field. The inning ended when Malgeri was caught stealing. 

MacDonald settled down in the fourth inning with a strikeout, but found himself in trouble in the fifth. Holzwasser singled to right, sending MacDonald to the top of the lineup with one out. Malgeri did not disappoint and got a base hit, sending Holzwasser to second. This was the end of the line for MacDonald, who was replaced by Mike Randazzo.

Holzwasser and Malgeri continued Northeastern’s strategy of aggressive baserunning and stole third and second respectively. Ryan Cervone hit a sac fly to score Holzwasser and end the inning at 3–0. 

Northeastern scored a couple more sac fly runs in the fifth and seventh innings to continue their streak of small ball. 

“Offensively that might have been our best game of the year,” Glavine said. “Made some great plays out there, that was just some kind of timely hitting on offense . . . I thought it was a really clean game by us — hit really well, defended really well.”

Brian Rodriguez was tagged to close and did not disappoint, getting a quick one-two-three inning with one strikeout and two groundouts. On the last at bat Shane Kelly grounded out to shortstop, with Husky first baseman Ian Fair stretching to make an incredible catch of the shortstop’s throw.

Although Fair has struggled offensively this season, Glavine was impressed with his performance Tuesday. 

“Ian Fair is an amazing kid,” Glavine said. “I don’t think he’s ever had a bad day, he’s always just so positive and so he’s such a positive energetic guy around the team so he has that effect, he is a plus plus defender . . . He’s just too talented to not hit and he’s gonna change our lineup tremendously once he feels more comfortable in the box.”

Tuesday’s victory increased the Huskies’ winning streak to three ahead of a big series this weekend against Villanova. 

“The momentum was huge,” Glavine noted. “We want to start feeling good about ourselves and getting on a roll. Always want to play well at home and we’ve done that over the years and that’s a priority for us, so just want to build up our confidence and start to feel confident in all things we do.”

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 Routs UMass, 11–2

Photos by Sadie Parker

Story by Milton Posner

With their second double-digit scoring effort in as many days, Northeastern (2–2) notched an 11–2 win over UMass (0–1) Wednesday afternoon at Parsons Field.

The Huskies scored in five of the first six frames, including nine runs across the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to put the game well out of reach. Ben Malgeri and Teddy Beaudet smacked three hits apiece, while Corey DiLoreto smack two doubles, walked twice, and scored four runs.

Freshman hurler Wyatt Scotti fanned five across four scoreless innings to earn the win in his debut. Though the Huskies ceded a run in each of the final frames, the relief trio of Matt Downing, Jake Gigliotti, and James Quinlivan had kept the Minutemen scoreless through the seventh, effectively sealing the game.

But the most absurd moment of the game came on the basepaths. And no, it wasn’t one of the Huskies 10 stolen bases on the day, the ones head coach Mike Glavine said would be key to their offense moving forward. No, it was this preposterous slide from Scott Holzwasser that topped the SportsCenter list at day’s end.

The Huskies will travel south for three games against Old Dominion on March 5, 6, and 7. The Monarchs are 6–2 and, like the Huskies, have scored 11 or more runs in half of their games.