Huskies Close Regular Season with Series Win Over Tigers

Northeastern begins CAA Tournament play on Thursday May 27 at 3 PM Eastern, with additional game times and opponents determined by tournament results. Milton Posner and Jack Sinclair will call all Northeastern games for WRBB.

Story by Khalin Kapoor and Jack Sinclair

Photos by Sadie Parker

TOWSON, MD — The 2021 Baseball season has been filled with uncertainty regarding lineups and scheduling due to the pandemic. But if there is one thing that can be deemed “certain” from this tumultuous season, it’s that the 2021 Northeastern Huskies are very, very good.

After dropping two of four games to the Delaware Blue Hens last weekend, the Huskies came into Towson with a chip on their shoulder. The Huskies and Tigers played a three-game series this weekend to close out their regular-season campaigns.

Game One

Jeff Costello made sure the world knew that he was unhappy with the way last weekend went, as he crushed a home run to lead off the ballgame. The parade around the bases commenced in the third inning, as designated hitter Max Viera doubled to drive in Danny Crossen, Spenser Smith, and Jared Dupere to make it 4–0.

The game settled down a bit, and Towson clawed back a run in the fourth, but nothing was getting in the way of the Northeastern bats. In the fifth, Dupere absolutely mauled a baseball in a manner that would make Mark McGwire blush. Viera followed suit, sending a long fly over the fence for another solo shot. Ben Malgeri joined in on the fun to give the Huskies back-to-back jacks, and their third in the inning. Not even a new pitcher could stop the Huskies, as Ian Fair homered after the change to make it three in a row.

“I think anything up in the air had a chance [to go out],” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “Obviously the balls were hit really well too, but the wind was blowing out and this park plays small so that helped.”

Cam Schlittler was his usual self on the mound, and for the redshirt freshman, his usual self is lights out. He went five innings, allowing only two hits and one unearned run, which helped to keep his fourth-best-in-the-nation ERA at 1.29 (!!!).

“He looked good, even though he had that one inning where he walked a couple,” Glavine said. “He looked really sharp, even on short rest.”

Dupere sent the baseball over the fence again in the eighth inning for his 17th of the season and second of the game. Ryan Cervone and Costello each picked up RBIs in the ninth inning to drive up the Huskies’ score to 15. Solid relief performances from Owen Langan, Rick Burroni, and Brian Rodriguez limited the Tigers to only one more run, and the Huskies took game one by a score of 15–2.

Game Two

Somewhat surprisingly, offense was a premium on Friday afternoon. After putting up 15 runs the day before, the Huskies were limited to just one run and five hits in a 2–1 loss.

“It was a tight game,” Glavine noted. “Both teams were battling on a hot day . . . we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”

Starter Kyle Murphy was dominant for seven scoreless innings, striking out nine and issuing only one walk. This was another in a long series of starts in which Murphy offered the Huskies stability and quick outs right off of the bat. Despite the lack of offensive support, Murphy kept on dealing en route to tying his second-longest outing of the season.

“Murph was awesome,” Glavine said. “He kept us in the game even though he knew we were struggling to score runs.”

Towson starter Nick Janowicz was solid as well, spinning five scoreless, walking five, and striking out four. The Huskies took the lead in the sixth inning after a Malgeri sacrifice fly plated Dupere. Towson star reliever Kody Reeser took over for the rest of the game, throwing four scoreless innings and striking out five.

“Towson really pitched well today,” Glavine noted. “They had us off balance all day long and really pitched great all day.”

Northeastern reliever Eric Yost immediately ran into trouble in the eighth, as he gave up a game-tying single to center fielder Billy Godrick after a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt. David Stiehl came in to try and stop the bleeding for Northeastern, but immediately gave up an RBI fielder’s choice to Noah Cabrera to give the Tigers a 2–1 lead.

“Leadoff walks always come back to bite you,” Glavine remarked. “We made a few mistakes here today late in the game.”

The game ended on a controversial note, as Husky pinch hitter Corey DiLoreto grounded into a game-ending fielder’s choice despite the runner (Costello) being safe at second base. Costello was called out because he violated the NCAA force-out slide rule in not sliding into second. It was a frustrating ending to a frustrating loss for Northeastern, especially after their 15-run explosion the day before.

“We had an opportunity there late in the ninth inning and put a little run into it,” Glavine said. “But we just came up short and . . . we’ve got to put this one behind us.”

Northeastern star second baseman Scott Holzwasser left the game late with a lower-body injury he sustained while running out a ground ball in the seventh. He initially stayed in the game, but was visibly hobbled and was later removed as Max Viera slotted in for him.

Glavine noted that in tight one-run games such as this one, it’s on the coach to get the team over that scoring hump. He said he failed to do that Friday.

Game Three

The Huskies looked to turn things around on Saturday, and they made that more than clear in the first inning. Costello stayed hot in the leadoff spot with a single, and quickly advanced to third on a Viera double. Dupere added to his RBI tally by hitting a ground ball to just the right spot, scoring Costello and giving the Huskies a 1–0 lead. 

Sebastian Keane started things on the mound for the Huskies and, in contrast to most of the rest of the season, was red-hot out of the gate. Keane mowed down the Tigers through five innings, allowing only four hits and walking one while striking out five.

“I think he had that right mindset today,” Glavine said, “He also loves the hot weather, and it was 90 today, so he was just pumping early. I just think if he has that right frame of mind, his mechanics are where they need to be.”

Ian Fair went deep in the fourth inning to double the lead for Northeastern and gave Keane some breathing room. Not that he would need it, as he cruised through his start allowing a grand total of zero runs. Wyatt Scotti, making an usual appearance out of the pen due to the shorter-than-usual series, was next up, and pitched a blistering inning in relief. Both Keane and Scotti pitched at breakneck pace, making the game a shorter affair.

A throwing error in the sixth gave the Huskies their third run. In the next inning, Costello crushed a home run to left-center field that bounced off the top of the wall, increasing his side’s lead to four. JP Olson was next in on the action, as he smacked one over the fence to extend the Huskies lead to five in the ninth inning.

The stingy pitching from Keane and Scotti carried over to the rest of the bullpen, as James Quinlivan and Brandon Dufault pitched two smooth innings to close out the game. The Huskies took the series from the Tigers with the 5–0 win.

“It feels really good,” Glavine said of Saturday’s win. “This wasn’t just another regular game where we played a bunch of different guys. We wanted to win the series and go into the tournament feeling good. We wanted to 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.”

Northeastern Keeps Rolling with Doubleheader Sweep of Towson

Story by Milton Posner

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — Saturday’s doubleheader featured a near-perfect eight-inning start, weather-related havoc, the end of a two-year-old streak, a go-ahead home run, a straw hat, a golden necklace, and, albeit to a lesser extent, a dog.

It also featured two wins by the Northeastern Huskies, who topped the Towson Tigers 2–1 and 7–4 to extend their winning streak to 12 games, the second-longest in program history. The Huskies moved to 22–6 on the season and 10–0 in conference play, and extended their division lead to six and a half games. The series will conclude with a 1 PM ET game tomorrow, which WRBB will broadcast live.

Let’s take the opening bit piece by piece.

The Start

One day after Northeastern pitcher Cam Schlittler seized the title of second-best Husky start of the season, his teammate Kyle Murphy snagged it for himself. Across eight scoreless innings in the first game of the doubleheader, Murphy allowed just three baserunners — one on a single and two on hit-by-pitches. He was consistently and overwhelmingly aggressive, using a bevy of first-pitch strikes to get ahead on nearly every batter who stepped in against him, then leveraging the count advantages to the tune of 12 strikeouts, a career high.

“He was humming today,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “Last week I don’t think he threw many first-pitch strikes. He was behind almost every hitter last week and he still pitched great. So he’s done both. You’ve got to have the ability to do both.”

“We know that their offense is trying to work the count, especially early,” Glavine continued. “They want to see strike one a lot of the time, or at least see a pitch. So we wanted to get strike one on there this weekend, and Kyle did that today as good as I’ve ever seen anyone do it. He was awesome.”

The day before, Glavine sent Schlittler back out for the eighth, only to quickly pull him when the pitcher hit the first two batters he faced. Glavine said after the game that he regretted his choice, but said he had no reservations about sending Murphy out for the eighth inning on Saturday.

“The difference is the person,” Glavine explained. “Kyle’s been here six years. Kyle will tell me if he’s had enough, and that’s a sign of maturity. The younger guys will probably always tell me they can go back out. So I need to learn from that. I trust Kyle and I know he’s going to tell me the truth about how he feels, if he feels cooked or if he’s got another inning in him . . . Kyle told me he had it and he went out. Simple as that.”

The Weather-Related Havoc

In the sixth inning, the Huskies led 1–0 courtesy of a second-inning walk, an error, and a scorched infield single. But their second and final run, produced via the first extra-base hits of the series for either side, would prove even stranger. The wind, as it was on Friday, was blowing hard throughout in the direction of the right-field line.

“You need to get the small ball going,” Glavine said of his squad’s response to the conditions. “You need to have that in the offensive package, stealing bases and things like that. And then you’ve got to hit as many line drives and ground balls as you can. You’ve got to try to get above the baseball. We’ve talked about it; it’s easier said than done.”

Right fielder Jared Dupere, who had a potential home run ball blown foul earlier — and then another squashed by the wind in center field on the next pitch — smacked what appeared to be a high flyout into center field. But so strong was the wind that the ball landed just a few feet behind the infield.

The TV camera was completely fooled, and Dupere, who was booking it out of the box, found himself at second base with two out. When Max Viera smacked a line drive that landed on the outer half of the left-field foul line, Dupere trotted home with what proved a valuable insurance run.

A Dog, a Birthday, and a Two-Year-Old Streak

On May 24, 2019, in a CAA Tournament game against the Charleston Cougars, Husky second baseman Scott Holzwasser collected two hits. Thus began a streak that continued through the abbreviated 2020 season and finally ended early Saturday afternoon, when an 0-for-4 day ended Holzwasser’s on-base streak at a program-record 44 games.

But he wouldn’t be down for long. In the second game, Holzwasser singled twice and scored twice, proving as key as anyone to the Husky win.

“A leader. Stud. Superstar. Great college baseball player. One of the best players we’ve ever had here,” Glavine said. “He just does it all. You saw it in game two — big hits, big plays, double plays, diving catches. There’s really nothing we can’t do. He’s mentally tough. We’re not doing any of this without him. He’s a pleasure to coach.”

It was fitting that Holzwasser would take a central role, as his family’s dog was in attendance on a rather special day.

Okay, let’s be honest. Was that a ham-handed segue? Yes. Is this adorable dog really relevant to baseball coverage? No. But the Holzwassers’ dog is objectively excellent, so I’m jumping at the opportunity. Ellie, happy birthday from all of us at WRBB.

A Go Ahead-Homer, a Straw Hat, and a Golden Necklace

Jared Dupere is the reigning CAA Player of the Week for a reason: he annihilates baseballs. Routinely. Spectacularly. As in, he’s hit three baseballs out of Friedman Diamond during the team’s ongoing homestand.

So when Towson strung together four two-out singles in the top of the seventh to pull ahead, 4–3, there was no one the Huskies would rather have had at the dish with a runner on. And Dupere didn’t disappoint, pulling an Austin Weber pitch into the right-center field bleachers for a two-run jack that put the Huskies ahead to stay.

As Dupere crossed home plate and exuberantly shouted out to his teammates, they greeted him with a reception they repeated when catcher JP Olson homered the next inning. The victorious slugger was adorned in a straw hat and gold-colored necklace as his teammates surrounded him and hyped him up.

“As long as everybody’s having fun and we’re not disrespecting the other team, I want them to have fun and enjoy what they’re doing,” Glavine said. “I love seeing it. I got pretty excited on Jared’s home run coaching third and I usually don’t do that. But I love seeing the guys have fun; it’s a close team, they’re together.”

Glavine also noted that the team recently changed the song they use to celebrate in the dugout after home runs. When asked the name of the song, Glavine simply replied, “I have no idea. I don’t know. You guys are younger than me. I’m old. I have no idea.”

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.