Story by Peyton Doyle
There’s a common saying around the conference: “Never bet on the CAA.” The main reason for that is the parity in the league across all sports and the volatility of the conference tournaments. The 2022 baseball tournament has been no different so far.
The No. 5 Northeastern Huskies (29-27-1, 10-14 CAA) slowed down the second-best offense in the tournament in just their second win over the No. 4 William & Mary Tribe (26-22, 14-10 CAA) all season. The first victory came in the rubber match of their regular season matchup, and like the first tournament game, ended in a 3-2 Huskies win.
Prior to Wednesday, Wyatt Scotti had pitched just once in the past month due to injury. The lanky right-hander however came out firing, allowing just three hits, one walk, and two earned runs over seven innings against a team that averaged 6.5 runs per game in the regular season.
Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine talked about Scotti’s performance postgame.
“He was awesome,” Glavine said. “He gave us a chance to win the ballgame. I still like my starters to go deep into games, and he was able to do that and was outstanding.”
After a somewhat wobbly second inning where the Tribe scored their two runs off of Scotti, the Huskies bounced back against senior southpaw Zach Tsakounis who had kept them quiet through the first two innings.
A double ripped to left field by the red hot redshirt sophomore catcher JP Olson drove in redshirt senior right fielder Jeff Costello and brought the game to within one.
An inning later, with junior righty Tom Mayer entering the game in relief of Tsakounis, Northeastern struck again.
Despite not facing him in either of the previous matchups, the Huskies pounded the Tribe’s righty reliever early. A single by freshman center fielder Justin Bosland and a homer to straight away center by redshirt junior first baseman Danny Crossen gave the Huskies a commanding 3-2 lead.
Despite its potent offense and penchant for ripping leads out of Northeastern paws, William & Mary was held quiet for the remainder of the game, getting just three men on base in the final six innings. Seven of the nine Tribe batters went without a hit in the matchup, including the top three in their order.
For the Huskies, their offense was just as stagnant to close the game. After Crossen’s home run, Mayer and right-handed freshman Nate Knowles combined to retire 18 Northeastern batters in a row to finish the game.
Following Scotti’s performance, senior relievers Owen Langan and Jordy Allard shut the door out of the pen, pitching one inning each, striking out two and allowing no base runners.
The pitching was also boosted by some stellar plays by the defense, including some crucial double plays and a diving grab by Costello to end the seventh inning.
One double play in particular featured Olson and redshirt junior shortstop Spenser Smith combining to throw out senior third baseman Cole Ragone trying to tag up from second base on a pop up in foul territory, ending the bottom of the fourth.
Northeastern’s next matchup in the tournament will be determined by the winner of Game 2 between the Elon Phoenix and the Hofstra Pride. If the Pride win, the Huskies will play the UNCW Seahawks at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and if the Phoenix win, Northeastern will be playing the Charleston Cougars at 4 p.m.
No matter who they play, the Huskies have successfully entered the winner’s bracket and Glavine talked about its importance.
“We’ve struggled in this first game in years past, and we’ve lost it making things extremely difficult,” Glavine said. “The first one is huge no matter how it looks.”