The No. 25 Huskies headed south for the weekend, facing off against the UNCW Seahawks in a pivotal series between the two teams atop the CAA standings. In Game 1 on Friday, they came out with an impressive 8-2 win.
Starting for Northeastern was right-handed freshman Aiven Cabral, who allowed eight hits and threw 81 pitches through his seven innings of work, ending the outing with a 2.67 ERA on the year. While he let up a few singles, UNCW was only able to score on one of their hits.
Pitching was a strength for both teams, as the Seahawks’ junior right-hander Jacob Shafer was not budging either – he recorded nine straight outs for the Huskies’ first three innings at the plate.
In the bottom of the second, Cabral walked redshirt freshman Alec DeMartino. He was able to make it to third, but redshirt senior Taber Mongero flew out to junior center fielder Mike Sirota, ending the inning before DeMartino had a chance to make it home.
Shafer started with a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third. Freshman Tanner Thach launched the ball out of the park in the bottom of the inning for a two-run homer, setting the score at 2-0 in favor of the Seahawks.
Cabral tightened up in response, preventing any further damage while on the mound and only allowed three more hits after the third inning. He recorded three punchouts over his seven innings.
Northeastern finally made a dent when Sirota hit a ball to right field, giving him enough time to make his way to third base. Graduate student Tyler MacGregor knocked Sirota home for Northeastern’s first run of the day and MacGregor’s first RBI of the series.
An explosive two-out rally in the fifth inning helped the Huskies flip their deficit. Junior Luke Beckstein singled and advanced to second on a passed ball. All it took was a base hit off the bat of Sirota for Beckstein to score, and in classic Sirota fashion, he followed it up by stealing second.
MacGregor gave Northeastern the lead when he smashed the ball out of the park for his first homer of the weekend, his 12th of the season, again scoring Sirota for a 4-2 lead.
Redshirt senior Danny Crossen kept the momentum up with a single to put him at first. When freshman Cam Maldonado stepped up to bat, the ball seemed to be heading straight to redshirt junior center fielder Trevor Marsh, but he dropped it on an error to give Crossen an opening to score the 5th run for the Huskies.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Shafer was then relieved by right-handed freshman Aubrey Smith in the seventh. His inning started with a Sirota home run to put the Huskies up 6-2.
Smith did not stay on the mound for much longer – in the eighth, right-handed redshirt senior Jason Hudak got a chance to stop the runaway Huskies. Redshirt freshman Harrison Feinberg came close to smashing the ball over the center field wall, but it was just a few feet short and easily caught by Marsh.
The last inning was daunting to the Seahawks, but the Huskies weren’t finished yet. A leadoff error by Mongero at shortstop allowed junior catcher Gregory Bozzo to reach first, and he then ran to second on a wild pitch from Hudak.
Those plays were enough to take Hudak out for the last out of the game. Redshirt junior right-hander Cody Benton entered, but immediately walked MacGregor. With two runners on base, Crossen came in with a single to score them both. The Huskies rose to an 8-2 lead.
Cabral handed the glove to redshirt junior righty Jake Gigliotti to finish the job for the last two innings, and that he did – the Seahawks’ earlier lead was short-lived and the Huskies came out on top in the end.
With a 16-4 record on the road and a 16-5 record in conference play, Northeastern continues to excel away from Friedman Diamond and cement itself atop the CAA. The team earned its first top-25 ranking in program history, proving that they are putting up a fight against every team they face.
The Huskies will continue their series against UNCW on Saturday. WRBB will have written coverage of the contest.