By Jordan Baron and Sarah Olender
It was Northeastern baseball’s second game of the season, and anyone who watched yesterday’s matchup knows that Northeastern struggled in the first inning. That story didn’t change on Saturday, as the Huskies dropped their second game in a row, 9–0, to the No. 17 Wake Forest Demon Deacons in game two of a three-game road set.
It was a tough start in the first three innings. Northeastern batters struck out, popped out, or grounded out, and the one man to make it to first, freshman Max Viera, got picked off a few pitches later.
“Overall we just gotta play better, be sharper, and offensively we showed signs but we didn’t hit well with runners in scoring position, but we got guys on, we put up some pretty good at bats,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said. “We weren’t quite as sharp and crisp as we were last night.”
Wake Forest easily worked Husky starter Sebastian Keane into a high pitch count. Midway through the third inning, Keane reached his limit, having already thrown 79 pitches and given up six runs. Despite the depressing score, Keane had punched out four Demon Deacons.
“We’ve got to start winning the first inning and putting up zeros,” Glavine said. “So maybe it’s just changing a little bit how we prep pregame and being ready to go in that first inning, trying to get off to a better start because we definitely don’t want to be constantly playing from behind.”
Redshirt senior reliever David Stiehl took over the hill to try and close out the third inning. Stiehl also struggled to shut down the Deacons, allowing two more runs that were both charged to Keane before finally ending the scoring threat. Steihl settled in afterward and finished with an impressive line, allowing no earned runs and just one hit over 2.2 innings of work. The right-hander walked two and struck out three.
On the other side of things, Wake Forest junior starter William Fleming diced the Husky lineup, allowing just one hit through three innings with his fastball hitting the upper nineties.
Suddenly, the Huskies found life in the fourth, racking up three straight hits to load the bases with just one gone. But the right-handed Fleming kept his composure, and showcased the depth and strength of the Demon Deacon pitching staff as he fanned Corey DiLoreto looking and got Jeff Costello to pop to second to end the frame.
Fleming continued his rampage against the Northeastern lineup into the fifth and escaped a jam in the sixth despite the Husky offense putting two runners in scoring position. Jeff Costello gave the ball quite a ride during the rally as he pulled an inside fastball down the left field line, but it hooked foul, and Fleming escaped the inning.
“Tip your cap to their pitchers tonight,” Glavine said. “They did a really good job and had us sort of playing defense when we had runners in scoring position.”
The Northeastern defense didn’t exactly help out their teammates on the mound, as shortstop Spenser Smith booted a ground ball early on, and Ben Malgeri and Costello nearly collided as they let a third-inning ball drop in the gap.
“We had a couple defensive mistakes out there that cost us again,” Glavine said. “Against a team like that or really any team you can’t can’t give them extra routes.”
Despite Keane’s unfortunate start, the Huskies had some good performances from the rest of the pen, as Rick Burroni, James Quinlivan, and Jake Gigliotti all tossed effective innings. The damage was done, however, and Demon Deacons ran away with the 9–0 victory.
“We just weren’t as sharp tonight, weren’t as competitive, fell behind early again, second day in a row makes it tough coming back against the pitching they have,” Glavine said.