Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports File

One can never count Northeastern baseball out. After a frustrating 6-1 defeat in the season opener Friday, the Huskies played with a chip on their shoulder in game two. Thanks to clutch two-out knocks with runners in scoring position, and Alex Lane’s ninth inning go-ahead home run, Northeastern reigned victorious for the first time in the 2024 season with their 8-7 win over Arizona.

The Huskies wasted no time to get on the board and tripled their Friday night scoring total in the first inning. Lane ripped a single through the left side to score junior Luke Beckstein. Then, sophomore Carmelo Musacchia took a 94 MPH fastball the other way off the right field wall to score Lane and graduate student Tyler MacGregor. 

Up 3-0, Northeastern handed the ball to a “newer” face in junior Dennis Colleran, who missed the entirety of the 2023 season recovering from Tommy John surgery but pitched in 15 games for the Huskies during his freshman campaign in 2022.

After Arizona junior Tommy Splaine muscled a two-out single up the middle, the Wildcats answered the Huskies’ assertive top half of the inning as senior Emilio Corona snuck a line drive by the dive of redshirt sophomore Harrison Feinberg in left field for an RBI triple.

Both Colleran and Arizona senior SP Clark Candiotti, son of former MLB pitcher Tom Candiotti, settled in after the eventful halves of the first inning and tossed two consecutive perfect frames through the hearts of each team’s lineups.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, after Colleran retired eight consecutive Wildcats, junior Garen Caulfield broke up the streak with a two-out single. However, an incredible diving play from Musacchia at shortstop led to a fielder’s choice and stopped the Wildcats from initiating a two-out rally.

Candiotti and the Wildcat defense kept the Huskies quiet in the top half of the fifth inning. With one out, junior Jack Doyle smacked a single to left field to break Candiotti’s 10-straight retired streak. Then, Doyle snagged his first career stolen base despite playing in his third season at NU. After Beckstein grounded out to shortstop, junior Mike Sorota slapped a slider to right field for a base hit before Corona gunned Doyle at the plate.

Back-to-back singles and a walk began the bottom of the fifth for Arizona. Then, sophomore Brendan Summerhill smashed a hanging slider 403 feet to the deepest part of the ballpark to clear the bases and put the Wildcats ahead for the first time in the afternoon, 4-3.

To stop the bleeding, Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine looked to Tufts graduate transfer Aidan Tucker to relieve Colleran. However, the first two Wildcats Tucker faced reached to reload the bases. 

After Corona flew out weakly to Sorota in center, Caulfield grounded a single past Doyle down the third base line and scored two more runs to increase the Wildcats’ lead to three. Following Caulfield’s knock, Tucker issued a walk before settling in and striking out back-to-back Wildcats to end the damaging inning.

After a scoreless top half of the sixth inning for the Huskies, Northeastern went to redshirt senior Jake Gigliotti. With one out and Summerhill on first, senior Gregory Bozzo gunned Summerhill down on a stolen base attempt at second before sophomore Cam Maldonado made a remarkable diving play in right field to end the inning.

Northeastern finally answered offensively in the seventh inning with a massive two-out rally. Doyle grabbed another knock off senior LHP Bradon Zastrow, continuing his work from the sixth inning before Zastrow plunked Beckstein and walked Sorota. Following the base on balls, MacGregor delivered a two-run double to left that scored Doyle and Beckstein to bring the game back to within one run.

The Huskies maintained momentum in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Gigliotti went out for his second inning of work and forced a clutch 6-4-3 double play to end the frame and strand a runner at third base.

Arizona head coach Chip Hale went to sophomore RHP Casey Hintz in the eighth to take on Northeastern’s 5-6-7 hitters. After Hintz retired Maldonado, Musacchia laced a single to center field. Feinberg followed that up by ripping a line drive base hit to left, allowing Musacchia to advance first to third. In place of Bozzo, who had been 0/3 on the day, senior catcher Jimmy Sullivan pinch-hit and drew a walk.

With the bases loaded and one out, Doyle struck out on a nasty slider from Hintz. However, Beckstein delivered the big hit with a clutch two-out, two-run single past a diving Rogers in center field. As Musacchia and Feinberg scored, Northeastern retook the lead 7-6.

With a lead for the first time since the fifth inning, Glavine went to sophomore RHP Charlie Walker as the fourth pitcher of the afternoon. With one out and Rogers on first, junior Richie Morales poked a ground ball down the first baseline out of MacGregor’s reach to score Rogers and tie the game.

After more traffic on the basepaths, senior Michael Gemma toed the slab with two outs to try to retire Arizona in the eighth. On a 2-0 changeup, Gemma forced a weak flyout out to Sirota to put the Wildcats away.

Senior RHP Trevor Long continued his third of an inning of work from the eighth and held the task of facing NU’s 3-4-5 hitters. MacGregor sharply lined out into the shift, although his hard contact foreshadowed what was to come. 

Alex Lane obliterated a no-doubt solo shot to left, the first Northeastern home run of the young season, to put the Huskies ahead 8-7. 

In the save situation, Gemma struck out Corona, the first Wildcat to bat in the inning, before issuing a walk and a hit by pitch. After stepping off the mound and collecting himself, Gemma forced a game-winning 4-6-3 double play to even the series 1-1.

In the electric game, Northeastern’s offense came through after scoring just one run the night before. The Huskies’ clutch hitting manifested through their .455 batting average with RISP. Northeastern looks to take the momentum from this tone-setting win with them to the final game of the three-game series on Sunday.

The Huskies are back in action Sunday, Feb. 18, for the final game of the three-game set with Arizona at 2 p.m. Preseason All-American Aiven Cabral will toe the slab for Northeastern. Written coverage will be provided on WRBB’s website post-game.