Huskies March Past Minutemen for Doubleheader Sweep

Story by Khalin Kapoor

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — The Northeastern Huskies (10–5) secured a three-game weekend sweep on Saturday afternoon against UMass (7–8), winning the doubleheader games 5–2 and 4–3. Throughout the day, the Huskies were powered by dominant starters Cam Schlittler and Sebastian Keane along with potent hitters Ben Malgeri, Jeff Costello, and Spenser Smith.  

In a seven-inning first game, Northeastern pounced on the Minutemen early, notching three runs on four hits against opposing starter Max LeBlanc in the first. LeBlanc didn’t make it past the second inning and was saddled with the loss, giving up four runs. On the season, Northeastern has yet to lose a game after scoring the first run.

“We jumped out early and they kept chipping away,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine remarked.

Husky hitters forced LeBlanc to labor through at-bats, waited for the inevitable mistakes, and promptly capitalized on them. In the fourth, Malgeri extended the Huskies’ lead to five with an RBI triple. Malgeri led off both games and had himself a day at the dish, going four for six with two runs batted in, a run scored, three steals, and a walk.

Northeastern hurler Cam Schlittler continued his solid run of starts, spinning five innings of one-run ball, striking out nine, and scattering just three hits. He mowed down UMass hitters early, but a questionable balk call following a couple of hits and a wild pitch in the fifth ended his bid for a shutout. Northeastern coach Mike Glavine had some choice words for the umpire after the call, but it was an overall dominant performance for Schlittler, who was credited with the win.

“I thought Schlittler was outstanding in game one,” Glavine said. “Gave us a chance to win that ballgame.”

The Northeastern offense stalled after the fourth and the Minutemen began chipping away at the lead, bringing the game to 5–2 heading into the seventh. Northeastern fireballer Brandon Dufault came in with some heat, consistently hitting 96 with his fastball to shut the door on the Minutemen and secure the win.

In the second game, Northeastern again jumped out to an early lead courtesy of an RBI double by Costello. UMass starter Daniel Livnat limited Northeastern to just that one run in his five innings of work, but he consistently created jams that he then pitched himself out of.

“We had a bunch of opportunities early in the game to extend the lead and we just couldn’t come up with the big hit,” remarked Glavine. “We just couldn’t get anything going and then finally late in the game we just kept grinding.”

The real story of the game was Northeastern starter and Boston Red Sox draft pick Sebastian Keane. Keane started by retiring the first 14 batters he saw, striking out eight. However, his perfect game bid was broken by UMass slugger Michael Rounds, who tied the game with a solo blast to left field.

It looked like the Minutemen were starting to figure out Keane the third time through the lineup, as second baseman Eddy Hart blasted a two-run homer in the sixth to put them up 3–1. Keane finished his night with a career-high 10 strikeouts, giving up three runs on three hits over seven strong innings.

“Seb was cruising along and pitching great,” Glavine noted. ”I thought he looked awesome . . . as good as he’s thrown for us and as time went on, the at bats got a little bit harder.”

Northeastern’s Smith provided a badly needed offensive spark in the seventh, blasting a triple after working a masterful 12-pitch at-bat. Malgeri drove him in to cut the deficit to one.

“Spenser Smith — huge, huge at-bat, as big of an at-bat we had all day,” said Glavine. “He hit the huge triple and it relaxed our team and was really a game changer.”

In the eighth, the Huskies rallied to take the lead with RBI hits from Costello and Danny Crossen. In the most important moment, the Northeastern offense finally strung some hits together and put runs on the board.

But the drama was not yet over. Reliever Thomas Balboni was brought in to save the 4–3 lead, but he had some trouble finding the zone. After recording the first two outs, he put runners on second and third and forced Glavine to put in Jake Gigliotti. After a walk, Gigliotti recorded a lineout to finish an absolute nail-biter of a ninth inning and secure the sweep.

After an extended hiatus, this weekend series showed some serious versatility from Northeastern, which Glavine recognized. They ran up the score on Friday, manufactured and kept the lead in the first game on Saturday, and rallied to win the second game. Going forward, the Huskies may try and work on fixing some baserunning issues and increasing their batting average with runners in scoring position.

The Huskies face off against Bryant University on March 30 in Rhode Island.

Huskies Conquer Minutemen, 18–1

Story by Catherine Morrison

Photos by Sadie Parker

BROOKLINE, MA — Friday afternoon’s game was overcast and humid, and the Northeastern Huskies brought the rain.

Northeastern (8–5) went through their entire lineup in the first inning against UMass (7–6) starter Jack Steele, who looked to be struggling with his windup, throwing almost sidearm with a dropped elbow. On one of his first pitches, Steele accidentally held on to the ball in what would have been called a balk had there been runners on base. This was a sign of bad things to come for Steele, who gave up seven runs in the first inning, including doubles by Scott Holzwasser, Ian Fair, and Danny Crossen.

Steele was (surprisingly) kept in for the next five and a third innings, but couldn’t wrestle back his command. Although he was in desperate need of defensive support, the Minutemen played like they had forgotten they were a D1 college team with a winning record. Errors abounded, with not one, but two made by catcher Dylan Judd, plus two plays which should’ve resulted in outs but which suddenly became fielder’s choices. 

If the Minutemen were plagued by lackluster offense, weak defense, and wild pitching, the Huskies were the complete opposite. Northeastern starter Kyle Murphy had his best game of the year, with a personal best of ten strikeouts in six innings. 

“He had the curveball and the changeup, the slider, he’s got his fastball,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “His command was excellent today. That’s what we need from him. He’s a veteran, he’s talented, he’s a true four-pitch guy so it was great to see him have that success today.” 

Northeastern kept up their offensive production, scoring in every inning except the fourth. Every starter got a hit, which was a welcome departure from some uneven batting in prior games. Fair had a particularly good day coming off a cool streak to start the season. Fair hit a triple, double, and home run to finish one single shy of the cycle. 

“We definitely need him to get going, he changes our lineup,” Glavine noted. “It was great to see him get the results he deserves. He’s such a hard worker and a great kid, tremendous hitter, slow start and today was huge.”

Corey DiLoreto was also a welcome sight in the lineup; the infielder hadn’t played since taking a pitch to the head on March 12. And the offensive output was welcome too, especially considering the Huskies hadn’t seen the field since March 16.

“I’m pretty shocked,” Glavine said. “They didn’t miss a beat and they were just having good at-bats and getting the outs.”

Northeastern will look to win the series tomorrow with a doubleheader against the Minutemen.

Olson Walks it Off Against River Hawks

Story and photos by Peyton Doyle

BROOKLINE, MA — A close game in any sport will cause palpable tension to form.

In baseball, each pitch could cause an eruption of joy or a sting of regret. There is no clock, the pitcher dictates the pace, and the hitter adjusts as best they can. In no other sport does the home team enjoy such an advantage in the drama of exhilaration and pain.

For the last pitch of the Northeastern Huskies’ (6–5) 2–1 win over the UMass Lowell River Hawks (1–8), it was Northeastern catcher JP Olson who commanded the hearts of the surrounding spectators. 

Lowell reliever Cam Seguin delivered his final pitch of the outing. He watched it leave the bat but was generally unconcerned as to where it was going. His and everyone else’s eyes were locked on Danny Crossen raring to go, one foot on the third-base bag. 

Olson’s fly ball fell into the glove of right fielder Vinnie Martin for an out that didn’t matter. As soon as it touched leather, Crossen’s cleats tore up turf, as he easily made it home ahead of the throw. 

Huskies roared from the dugout. The bullpen beyond left field leapt to their feet and charged toward their catcher, who was smiling like the Cheshire Cat after rounding first base.

Northeastern’s walk-off win was a cherry on top of the team’s first series win of the season. After a 10–7 loss and a 2–0 win on Friday, the Huskies rode Saturday’s win to move above .500 for the first time this season.

In the rubber match, Husky head coach Mike Glavine handed the ball to Cam Schlittler, who had the unfortunate assignment of following fellow redshirt freshman Sebastian Keane’s nine-inning shutout the day prior. Schlittler valiantly competed to match his teammate’s effort, allowing a single run in seven innings in his third start of the season.

“The two freshmen really need to feed off of each other, they are really good friends,” Glavine said. “I am seeing them compete with each other and that friendly competition is taking place. Those two guys are horses and we are going to need them all year long.”

Schlittler faced a few hiccups along the way, but stranded every runner he allowed on. The freshman had the River Hawks pounding the turf with grounders, and his infielders made plenty of plays to keep their opponents off the scoreboard. 

For every ball that found a Northeastern defender, Lowell junior righty Matt Draper countered, refusing to give in. Draper laid into the young Husky squad, not striking out many but generating tons of weak contact. He allowed just two hits over his first five innings.

Northeastern, however, loves to score, and even though it was a chilly day, the bats were bound to get hot. 

Husky designated hitter Ryan Cervone, another freshman, came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth still seeking his first hit of the season. For Draper and the River Hawks, Cervone may have appeared to be a pushover — until he ripped a double down the right-field line. 

When right fielder Jared Dupere walked, the Huskies were poised to get their bats awake and push some runners across the plate. But after Max Viera hit the perfect double-play ball to shortstop Keagan Calero, it was all up to Crossen. The sophomore hit a bouncer to third baseman Cedric Rose, but Rose was playing too far back to have a chance at the speedy Crossen. By the time the ball got to first, Cervone had scored the Huskies’ first run of the game and Crossen was steps beyond the bag.

“Ryan Cervone is a grinder and a kid who brings it every day in practice and will give you a tough at-bat every time he’s in there,” Glavine said. “We need our bench guys to have big years and Danny Crossen is the same mold. Of course we don’t want injuries, but both of those guys are making our team better for the long run.”

But as Robert Frost said, “nothing gold can stay” and the game did not remain easy for the Huskies following their run in the sixth. 

The first batter that Schlittler faced in the seventh, Joey Castellanos, lofted a ball to deep right that was corralled by Dupere but was by far the hardest-hit ball off Schlittler to that point. The next batter, Cam Climo, hammered one to deep center. Northeastern’s Ben Malgeri drifted back but the ball kept carrying, landing beyond the wall in dead center. 

Schlittler fanned two of the next three batters to end the inning, but the damage had been done. Lowell had new life and Schlittler’s day was done. 

The Huskies got men on again in the bottom of the seventh but left two stranded, and in the eighth were set down in order by Draper and Seguin.

Northeastern reliever Brian Rodriguez came in for a clean eighth inning and then handed the ball to Brandon Dufault for the ninth. Dufault faced pressure early on, as Martin ripped a line drive to left for a single. A bunt moved him over, and Glavine took advantage of the open base by intentionally walking Climo. Dufault defused the ticking time bomb, stranding the baserunners with a strikeout and a ground ball to end the inning.

“Brandon has been pitching well but has just had some tough luck this year,” Glavine said. “It has been a combination of everything for him, with some bad pitch calls, poor defensive plays, and he has gotten himself into trouble with some walks. He has struggled to put it all together, but I trust him.” 

Crossen started off the bottom of the ninth for the Huskies, slapping a ball between the second and first basemen. Kyle Peterson followed with a somewhat controversial hit-by-pitch, then Scott Holzwasser laid down a bunt to advance his teammates. With runners on second and third, Olson did all anyone could have asked of him: plate the run.

The Huskies will carry their two-game winning streak into a Tuesday afternoon matchup with Bryant.

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.