After a 9–0 loss last night, the Northeastern baseball team couldn’t be expected to be in high spirits. It couldn’t have been easy to return for a third game against the No. 17 Wake Forest team that dominated in every facet of the game.
Still, the Huskies started strong, with Scott Holzwasser and Ian Fair reaching base and freshman Max Viera driving Holzwasser in on a single. The Huskies kept their lead through the first, with redshirt freshman Cam Schlittler striking out two batters.
“We finally won the first inning,” said Head Coach Mike Glavine. “We got in there and scored and shut them down, got off to a good start.”
Schlittler walked junior Shane Muntz, who was sent around the bases by a home run to center field from freshman Brock Wilken. The Huskies answered in the top of the third as Holzwasser and Ben Malgeri scored on Jared Dupere base knock. The bats stayed alive as Fair advanced Dupere on a single before a Corey DiLoreto sac fly cashed him in and made it 4–2 in Northeastern’s favor. Clean fielding and another Schlittler strikeout kept the Deacons scoreless in the bottom half.
To start the fourth, Wake Forest dug into their bullpen, bringing out Crawford Wade. A dropped third strike and a Wade overthrow to first put Northeastern’s Spenser Smith on third with two out, and though Wade fanned Holzwasser to end the threat, his pitch count did suffer for the experience. In the bottom of the fourth, Schlittler, still pitching a great game, started losing speed, and had to work himself out of trouble.
Wake Forest reached into their bullpen again in the fifth, and hurler Reed Mascalo gave up a 436-foot bomb to Dupere on just his third pitch of the game. Northeastern opted to stay with their starter, and a barrage of Deacon hits put traffic on the bases and shrank the Husky lead to 5–3.
Midway through the sixth, as Northeastern began to connect on Mascalo’s pitches, Wake Forest brought in their fourth pitcher of the game, Camden Minacci, with a Northeastern runner on third. A fielder’s choice, an infield single, and a groundout combined to cash in two runs and increase the Husky lead to four.
In the bottom of the sixth, Northeastern finally pulled their starter, and redshirt sophomore Owen Langan took the mound. After a series of small hits and walks loaded the bases, Malgeri lost Pierce Bennett’s fly ball in the sun in right-center. The error closed the score to 7–6 in Northeastern’s favor.
In an effort to regain the momentum, Glavine called on redshirt freshman Thomas Balboni to change things up on the Deacons. Balboni immediately ceded a two-run single to Rémi Lanzoni that drove in two runs and gave the Deacons their first lead. Wake Forest kept smacking singles and loading the bases, eventually batting around and taking a 9–7 lead behind a six-run sixth inning.
But Northeastern didn’t give up. With two men in scoring position, Kyle Peterson drove a single to right field to re-tie the game. Northeastern loaded the bases again and Wake Forest brought Eric Adler to the mound to face Holzwasser in a jam. On a 3-1 count, Adler threw a perfect fastball and Holzwasser capitalized on the opportunity, driving the pitch out to left center. His grand slam brought the score to 13–9 in the Huskies’ favor.
“A few of those runs defensively we could have hung our heads and felt sorry for ourselves, but we came out fighting,” Glavine siad. “I think that’s going to pay dividends and speak volumes as this season goes on. We come back after a tough inning and keep fighting . . . To give up six runs in an inning and come back and score six was just incredible to see.”
Wake Forest answered a Northeastern RBI sac fly in the top of the eighth with a Chris Lanzilli solo homer in the bottom half. Despite an 11th Wake Forest run in the bottom of the ninth, Brandon Dufault closed out the Deacons by forcing a groundout from Bobby Seymour with two on.
Save for the first three innings of Saturday’s game, the Huskies had a strong weekend against the No. 17 Demon Deacons. Despite losing two of three games in their opening series, they were competitive in most innings.
“This weekend it was a swing or pitch or play away from winning the series against a team like Wake,” Glavine said. “I’m just really proud of the guys this weekend.”