BROOKLINE — When Hofstra visited Friedman Diamond Friday afternoon, Northeastern finally got the chance to rematch the team that had bested them in the CAA Championship the year prior. In the first game of the weekend series, the Huskies notched an easy 6-1 victory to snap Hofstra’s seven-game win streak, which was tied for sixth-longest in the nation.
“The game was a good win,” said Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine. “We played excellent defense; infield especially was awesome.”
Northeastern’s win was backed by freshman pitcher Aiven Cabral, who pitched seven scoreless innings.
“As a pitcher, you really love how many strikes he throws,” Glavine said. “He’s very cool, calm, collected, has all the right emotions out there, so I love watching him pitch…He’s just a great kid to have on the team, and he deserves all the success he’s having.”
The first couple innings moved fast, as both Cabral and Hofstra junior pitcher Cade Henry made quick work of their respective batters. Neither team could get a single runner on base until the bottom of the second inning, when Henry allowed a walk for Huskies senior left fielder Alex Lane.
When the third inning kicked off, Hofstra started picking up the slack. Senior left fielder Jake Liberatore started at bat with a single, then stole second to put himself in scoring position. A bunt from freshman center fielder David Palmer gave Liberatore the opportunity to score, but Northeastern junior catcher Gregory Bozzo received the ball and stepped on home plate before he could get there.
That danger woke the Huskies bench. When Northeastern next took to the offense, they finally broke open the scoring and took the lead. Junior infielder Luke Beckstien got on base with a walk, and sophomore center fielder Mike Sirota sent him around the diamond with his eighth homer of the season to put the Huskies up 2-0.
Northeastern carried this momentum into the fifth inning, managing to stay alive despite two early outs. With runners on second and third, Beckstein tore a two-RBI single to center field to double the Huskies’ tally. After Sirota walked to first, redshirt senior Danny Crossen hit an RBI single for Beckstein to touch home plate and give Northeastern the 5-0 lead.
Freshman Sean Hamilton relieved Henry midway through the sixth inning. Hamilton’s stint, while shorter than Henry’s, proved more successful, and he only let through one run in his three innings on the mound.
Northeastern loaded up the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but only plated one run. Redshirt senior infielder Spenser Smith got the RBI as his fielder’s choice hit let senior first baseman and outfielder Alex Lane score.
Meanwhile, Hofstra started switching up its batting lineup. Graduate student catcher Nick Marrero pinch hit for senior infielder Michael Florides and once on base, senior outfielder Frank DiMartino stepped in as pinch runner.
At the top of the eighth, Cabral headed to the dugout to rest after throwing 87 pitches and was relieved by sophomore Hayden Smith. He did not last long, only throwing two strikes in his 13 pitches. Two batters walked, and junior Steve Harrington hit an RBI double for the Pride’s first run of the afternoon.
The Huskies immediately swapped out Hayden Smith for graduate student Griffin Young, their closer. Young came into the game with a stellar 1.19 ERA over the course of 30.2 innings and lowered it further, shutting down the remaining Hofstra batters in the eighth.
The Pride had one last chance to climb their way back from the five-run deficit Northeastern had accumulated, and although one player made it to scoring position, Young finished them off to settle the score at 6-1.
Northeastern and Hofstra will return to Friedman Diamond for a doubleheader Saturday, where the Huskies will attempt to take the series win over the reigning CAA champions.
“They can hit. … We have got to play really clean defense,” Glavine said. “We just have got to pound the strikes home [and] make plays.”
Peyton Doyle and Matty Wasserman have the call on WRBB Sports+ when the day kicks off at 11:30 a.m.