After a strong first contest, the Huskies fell to the UNCW Seahawks on Saturday, meaning that game three became an essential tiebreaker. Northeastern needed to step up to the diamond with their best if they wanted to win.
In a game of offensive and defensive struggles all around, the Huskies could not pull through and ended the weekend with a disappointing 4-2 loss.
Junior right-handed Ryan Calvert set a strong demeanor for UNCW, striking out junior Mike Sirota at the top of the first to start the game. Adversely, Northeastern brought out junior right-hander Wyatt Scotti after a recent return from an injury, hoping he could hold off the Seahawks.
Freshman Brock Wills was the first to make a hit in the bottom of the first for UNCW, singling out to center field. A fielder’s choice got him out, but redshirt junior Dillon Lifrieri took his place on first. A wild pitch allowed Lifrieri to run to second.
Scotti’s pitching continued to quiver, hitting a batter with a pitch. Redshirt freshman Harrison Feinberg in the outfield was able to get them out of the inning safely, but the Seahawks were clearly prepared to bring their all.
Following a 1-2-3 second inning from Calvert, Scotti hit freshman Mac Gillespie with his pitch which put him on first. Redshirt junior Trevor Marsh singled to move him up a base. Sophomore Bryan Arendt’s turn to bat brought a double play, getting himself and Marsh out, but Gillespie ran home to score the first run of the contest.
UNCW continued with three straight singles from redshirt senior Taber Mongero, Wills, and Lifrieri. Lifrieri earned an RBI when Mongero scored a run, but the remaining runners were stranded on the bases thanks to a deep catch from freshman Cam Maldonado in the outfield that stopped further damage.
A leadoff double from sophomore John Newton was all they could do in the bottom of the third — both teams had impeccable defense throughout the game even with some tricky hits.
Junior Tyler MacGregor made the first hit of the day for the Huskies at the top of the fourth, as the ball broke through to right field and put him on first base. Redshirt senior Danny Crossen followed with another single as the Huskies got an offensive start. It came to a quick end when the batting lineup struck out, ending their opportunity to score.
Scotti began to find his footing in the bottom, throwing a 1-2-3 inning of his own, but the Seahawks were still at a 2-0 lead.
Feinberg started the top of the fifth with a single, and redshirt senior Spenser Smith kept up the momentum with a fierce double. The Seahawks responded with a pitching change to try and shut them down, bringing out junior right-hander Ethan Chenault.
Northeastern wasn’t giving up — junior Gregory Bozzo grounded out, but moved Smith to third and was credited an RBI for scoring Feinberg. Smith came narrowly close to tying the game, but an impressive dive by catcher Arendt tagged him out.
Beckstein positioned on the bases with a fielder’s choice, and this was where Chenault started to slip up. By walking Sirota and hitting MacGregor with his pitch, the Huskies had the bases loaded and left it up to Crossen.
With one out left in the inning, Crossen needed to score at least one runner to make progress but Beckstein found himself in a rundown after attempting to run home on a dropped pitch by Arendt, ending the inning and leaving the score at 2-1.
Northeastern was running out of time to take the lead, and Lifrieri pushed the Seahawks ahead when he smashed the ball out of the park for a homer in the bottom of the fifth.
After freshman Tanner Thach singled, Scotti was relieved by right-handed graduate student Griffin Young. Thach was able to make it to third, ready in scoring position, but Gillespie grounded out before he had the opportunity to make it home.
Chenault held his ground on the mound for the top of the sixth, and the Seahawks kept running in the bottom to further their lead. A fielding error in center field allowed Arendt to score again, putting UNCW at a 4-1 surplus.
A scoreless seventh meant that the last two innings would decide the Huskies’ fate.
At the top of the eighth, Chenault walked Sirota and Beckstein — in which an error on a failed pickoff attempt gave Beckstein an opening to claim second base — and resulted in another pitching change for the Seahawks.
This time, Luke Craig, a junior left-hander, had a shot at the mound and started by punching out MacGregor. Still, UNCW decided to put in right-handed redshirt junior Brett Banks. Crossen made his way to first on a fielding error by redshirt junior Jac Croom at third base.
Once again, the Huskies had the bases loaded with only one out recorded. Banks hit Maldonado with a pitch, scoring a run and moving everyone up a base. While Northeastern was in an immaculate position to tip the scales, they failed as Banks struck senior Alex Lane out easily. The Huskies were at a 4-2 deficit and had just one more chance to make a change.
After Smith grounded out, Bozzo singled up the middle hoping for an opportunity to run home. Banks punched out Beckstein, and even Sirota could not stop the Seahawks as he flew out to the outfield.
And just like that, the Huskies dropped the series to UNCW with the loss of game three. With some major conference matchups in the upcoming weeks, including the CAA Tournament at the end of May, Northeastern will need to step up and regain their momentum.
The Huskies continue their road trip, heading to Maryland on Tuesday with a first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. Jack Sinclair and Khalin Kapoor will have the call from Boston on WRBB Sports.