Story by Khalin Kapoor
The Northeastern Huskies (6-5-1) tied the UMass Minutemen (1-2-1) on Tuesday afternoon at Parsons field, spoiling the Huskies home opener. This game ended prematurely due to a lack of lighting, with the umpires deeming playing conditions unsafe once the sun set. The game would have gone on to extra innings in normal circumstances, but the sunset did not permit it.
Last season, Northeastern was dominant when playing in the friendly confines of Parsons Field. They went 21-2 at home in 2021, but were unable to come away with a victory on Tuesday.
“The tie … it’s obviously really disappointing,” said Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine after the game. “Especially because we had the lead in the ninth.”
In their last series, Northeastern put the college baseball world on notice by notching a three-game sweep of No. 8 ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack. It was the first time NC State had been swept by a non-conference opponent since 2006. The Huskies were propelled by sensational starting pitching against the Wolfpack, and that trend continued on Tuesday afternoon, with starter Eric Yost spinning four scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. Yost pitched in relief last Sunday, so Glavine noted before the game that he would have a short leash. Including Yost’s effort today, Northeastern starters have pitched 31.1 innings and given up zero earned runs. They haven’t trailed in a game since their Feb. 26 loss against Marshall.
After Northeastern outmuscled NC State offensively all weekend, they were shut down today against UMass. The Huskies only notched four hits and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Their lone run came from good fortune from the baseball gods in the fifth inning, as second baseman Luke Beckstein was plunked by a pitch, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, then came around to score on an error by UMass first baseman Steve Luttazi. That was the only run scored by either team until the top of the ninth. The Huskies simply could not find an answer to UMass’s pitching staff, with starter Tyler Dalton pitching five solid innings and reliever Charlie Devin tossing two no-hit innings out of the arm barn.
“Give UMass credit, I thought they pitched really well today,” Glavine said. “We easily could have lost that game.”
Coach Glavine opted to run out freshman pitcher Dennis Colleran in the ninth for the save. Colleran was immediately shaky, loading the bases with two outs before walking home the game tying run. That run was unearned, however, as an error by Beckstein kept the inning alive. It was the second error of the game for Northeastern and it proved costly, forcing Colleran to pitch to UMass’s leadoff hitter Collin Shapiro, who worked a walk off of an impressive at bat. Colleran’s command has been an issue this season, as he has 10 walks in his 8.1 innings pitched.
This was a game filled with obstacles for Northeastern. It was their first game playing on turf the entire year, and it was the first time playing in cold weather. They played in Florida and North Carolina before this, so the bats being ice cold does make some sense. However, the Huskies’ stellar pitching on Tuesday is another great sign for a pitching staff that began the season struggling.
“It sounds easy to pitch when the wind is blowing in and it’s cold, but it’s not,” Glavine said. “It’s tough to get a feel for the baseball, and I thought our guys pitched really well today.”
The Huskies did look as shifty as ever on the basepaths, swiping three more bags courtesy of Jeff Costello, Justin Bosland, and Mike Sirota, bringing the team’s season total up to 32. The key is to just continue getting those clutch hits with runners in scoring position, something Northeastern did well against NC State but was unable to do against UMass. There is still a lot to like about this Northeastern team; this was just a bump in the road.
Northeastern travels next to South Carolina for a three-game weekend set against the Clemson Tigers. They will look to continue their dominant run of starting pitching in that set, with Cam Schlittler, Sebastian Keane, and Wyatt Scotti all slated to start. WRBB will provide written coverage of all the action this weekend
“I just want to see some consistency,” Glavine said. “We just can’t seem to find it yet.”