Brookline, Massachusetts – They say that April showers bring May flowers, but thus far all they have brought for the Northeastern baseball team is doubleheaders and rain delay antics.
Luckily for the Huskies, the rain quenched the Phoenix’s flames as Northeastern topped Elon 2-1 in their first conference series win of the season.
In the first matchup on Friday, Northeastern looked like they would fall into a familiar hole, score once early, give up the lead, and remain down. This time however, it clicked for the offense, something that could not be said for many conference games this season.
In the first inning, a fielder’s choice double play allowed center fielder Mike Sirota to score and give the Huskies a one run lead.
While starter Sebastian Keane cruised through the first two innings, the third slowed down for the right-hander. A single and a walk put two runners on with just one out as Luke Stephenson stepped up to the plate. Stephenson entered the game as his team’s leader in home runs and added some extra cushion during his at bat in the third as he lifted an off speed pitch from Keane out of the park for three runs.
Despite their recent cold streak at the plate, the Huskies showed in the bottom half of the inning that they would not go down without a fight.
A single by infielder Spenser Smith followed by a Sirota hit by pitch put two on and forced Elon head coach Mike Kennedy to pull his starter early and put in Spencer Bauer. The Phoenix sophomore however fared worse than his predecessor as he allowed a single and a sac fly to score two before his defense began to betray him.
An attempted double play led to an error by the Phoenix second baseman and allowed infielder Luke Beckstein to race home and give the Huskies a 4-3 lead going into the fourth inning.
The rest of the way Keane calmed down as well, this time holding on to the lead his offense gave him, pitching four scoreless before handing the ball over to Eric Yost in the eighth.
With Yost providing another shutout inning, the offense decided a little insurance couldn’t hurt to ease their pitcher’s mind as Smith sent a ball over the fences for three runs. That home run and another scoreless inning by Yost gave the Huskies a 7-3 win and some much needed momentum going into the rest of the weeknd. The series, though, didn’t go exactly as scheduled.
With the second game on Saturday, head coach Mike Glavine seemed to have upset Mother Nature with his decision to move ace Wyatt Scotti up a day and have him toss that game rather than his usual rubber match.
The start of the game was moved back twice and eventually postponed altogether to allow for the Sunday doubleheader with first-pitch slated for 11:30 a.m.
The one good thing to come of the rain was some supreme driving skills from Northeastern reliever Nick Davis, who brought his RC car out onto the beautiful green and red diamond.
With the skies clear over Friedman Diamond and Scotti standing atop his church, the big righthander started off strong against the Phoenix on Palm Sunday.
The Barnstable native came into this weekend looking to build on one of his best starts of the season, where he threw eight innings of two-run ball and saved the Huskies from being swept by the William & Mary Tribe.
The sophomore did that and much, much more as he spun seven hitless innings, striking out 10 and allowing just a single walk before coming out of the game with 86 total pitches.
In the other dugout however, sat another ace. Senior Brian Edgington brought out his best performance of the season for Elon as he gave up just one hit and no walks in his first eight innings of work.
Offensively for the Phoenix, their first and only hit of the game came off of a single against Jordy Allard who came in to relieve Scotti.
The Huskies on the other hand caused a bit more excitement once they were able to get to Elon’s bullpen.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, catcher JP Olson was the first to step to the plate. The sophomore, who had just one hit in his last three games played, ripped a double down the left field line to put a man in scoring position and take Edgington out of the game.
With Ben Simon coming out of the bullpen, Glavine went to some classic small ball and had Smith lay down a sac bunt to move Olson over.
The speedy Sirota then notched an infield single to put two men on with one out.
Following the single, the Phoenix made the mistake of putting Beckstein on intentionally and giving a golden opportunity to the mustachioed Max Viera. Although Viera has struggled to regain his form from last year, he still was able to come through when Glavine needed him on Sunday as a ground ball into the hole forced a play at third while Olson cruised home to give the Huskies the win.
The second half of the double header carried the same suspense of the prior pitcher’s duel. As both starters continued to dominate the matchup.
For Northeastern, Cam Schlittler locked in for his best performance of the season so far, registering 11 strikeouts while only giving up one run in seven innings. Elon’s Shea Sprague was just a little better however, giving up just one hit and no runs in his own seven. The bullpen for the Phoenix however was nearly too hot for themselves to handle as Kyle Greenler, the top reliever, threatened to implode in the bottom of the eighth.
A Jeff Costello single, a sacrifice bunt by Teddy Beaudet, and a single by Smith put runners on the corners with just one out. Greenler however did not waver with runners on and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth Yost finished off the Phoenix but the Huskies in the end were no match for Greenler as Elon took the rubber match 1-0.
The next games for Northeastern will come in the Beanpot consolation game against Harvard on Tuesday, followed by a weekend series against James Madison who’s roster features one of the best players in all of college baseball, Chase DeLauter.