For most of the leadup to Friday’s exhibition game between Northeastern and the Boston Red Sox, question marks surrounded whether the Huskies would be able to make the trip down to Fort Myers. Thankfully, a last-minute red eye flight to the Sunshine State would see the resumption of a time-honored tradition between two historic Boston baseball programs.
The seven-inning matchup had been canceled the two years prior due to the pandemic and the MLB lockout, and it narrowly avoided a third cancellation due to travel trouble with the Huskies.
Junior shortstop Spencer Smith made his season debut in the leadoff spot against Red Sox starter Oddanier Mosqueda, and attempted to set the tone for his team by smoking a base hit to right-center. Unfortunately, the next two batters flied out, and Smith was caught stealing second after a nifty pickoff move by Mosqueda left him stranded in the basepaths.
Redshirt junior James Quinlivan started the game for the Huskies, and immediately got a taste of major league hitting. Red Sox outfielder Jarren Duran smoked a double to left field, and star third baseman Rafael Devers singled down the line to drive him in a few pitches later.
Quinlivan showed a concerning lack of control in his start, throwing a pair of wild pitches and four walks before being pulled from the game by head coach Mike Glavine, one third of the way through the first. His only out came off the bat of Nippon Professional Baseball Organization transfer to Boston, Masataka Yoshida, who still managed to earn an RBI with a sac-fly, the Red Sox’ fifth run.
Graduate transfer Patrick Harrington inherited a sticky situation on the mound, to say the least, with the bases loaded, just one out, and a Major League Baseball lineup to contend with. He coughed up a double to Red Sox infielder Enmanuel Valdez, scoring two. Harrington seemed to tighten things up afterwards, and retired the side in consecutive at-bats.
Harrington continued to dazzle through the next two innings, including a three up, three down bottom of the second inning, highlighted by a Rafael Devers popout. The offense was unable to reward his efforts, though. Redshirt junior Ed Jarvis and sophomore Luke Masiuk were both able to tally a base hit in the second and third, respectively, but neither were able to advance past second base.
The Huskies’ bats finally came alive in the top of the fourth. Red Sox reliever Chase Shugart was the victim of very selective swinging by Northeastern. Smith earned a leadoff walk, stole second base, and was driven in by a double off the bat of sophomore Mike Sirota, giving the Huskies their first run.
Sirota then stole third, keeping the pressure on the Sox. Redshirt senior Danny Crossen drove Sirota in with a sacrifice groundout to the right side, further reducing their deficit. Unfortunately for the Huskies, they were unable to produce any more scoring that inning.
The top of the fifth proved to be promising for Northeastern, as a pair of walks by Red Sox reliever Wyatt Olds saw sophomore Harrison Feinberg reach second. Feinberg made an attempt to steal third and ended up scoring on a throwing error by Red Sox catcher Elih Marrero. The Huskies were now within two runs of the big leaguers, the score sitting at 5-3.
Northeastern pitching managed to keep the Red Sox offense from scoring, and that kept them in the game until the dying moments. The top of the seventh saw Feinberg single on a line drive to left field, putting the tying run at the plate. Sadly, the Huskies were unable to bring that run across, as Red Sox closer Brendan Celluci shut the door on their bats with a pair of ground outs and a strikeout on Masiuk to officially end the exhibition. The Red Sox hung on to their first inning explosion to win 5-3.
Fortunately for the Huskies, this game will not go against their official record, and they are back in action in collegiate play in less than 24 hours.
Northeastern will take on the Indiana State Sycamores in a double header on Saturday, with game three of the series to follow on Sunday afternoon. WRBB will provide written coverage of the series on our website.