Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports File

Northeastern stepped onto the red turf of Friedman Diamond for the first time this season on Tuesday afternoon when they hosted Sacred Heart in their home opener. The familiar scenery seemed to be just what Northeastern needed to get on track, as junior center fielder Mike Sirota, sophomore outfielder Cam Maldonado, and sophomore shortstop Carmelo Musacchia all broke out of their season-starting slumps with multiple hits and the Huskies topped the Pioneers 10-0 in a mercy-shortened seven-inning game. 

“Tyler [MacGregor] and [Alex] Lane have been carrying us … but today is what we’re looking for,” said head coach Mike Glavine. “Sirota did this a little bit last year, started off slow and then just absolutely caught fire. So I’m a little less worried about him and all those guys after today’s performance.”

The matchup was the first of five for Northeastern this week, so they dug deep in their bullpen, giving senior Michael Gemma his second career start, graduate student transfer Brendan McFall his first D1 appearance, and sophomore Ryan Griffin his second collegiate showing. 

“It gives us an opportunity to play more guys, to pitch more guys, to see where we’re at,” Glavine said. “I love the double midweeks early because it gets your team prepared for the stretch run.”

The trio struck out eight of the combined a 28 batters they faced, and Northeastern’s defense made quick work of the rest. 

However, the game didn’t start out too well for the right-hander Gemma, who hit Sacred Heart sophomore outfielder Michael Simonelli in his first pitch, sending the batter to the ground. Simonelli shook off the injury to take the walk, but was caught stealing just moments later and exited the game after his next at bat, at the top of the third, when sophomore outfielder J.W. Fitzgerald filled in as pinch runner. 

Oddly enough, Fitzgerald also left the game injured after a failed attempt to reach home and was replaced by junior outfielder Zack Kovalchik.

Meanwhile, Sirota made the first move for the Huskies, all by himself. With two outs against the Huskies at the top of the first, the preseason CAA player of the year singled to center field, stole second base, and snuck home on a fielding error, giving Northeastern a 1-0 lead.

After a 1-2-3 inning from Pioneers graduate student righty Jake McDowell in the bottom of the second, the Huskies were eager to get back to scoring in the third. Maldonado and Musacchia made a show around the bases. Maldonado started it off with a single, quickly advancing to second base on a steal. Mussachia joined him on the bases with a walk, and in a quick dual move, the pair stole third and second, respectively. Maldonado then ran home on a sac fly from graduate student Tyler MacGregor and Mussachia joined him on an RBI single from graduate student Alex Lane to extend Northeastern’s lead to 3-0.

Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports File

MacGregor and Lane lead Northeastern batters by far this season, both hitting above .400. Although MacGregor was unsuccessful in his three at bats, receiving two K’s and the sac fly, Lane continued his hot streak with two hits, two runs, and two RBI against the Pioneers. The two also swapped on defense — MacGregor, the Huskies’ usual first baseman, took the day off, playing designated hitter as Lane took over at the bag.

Back-to-back-to-back 1-2-3 innings from Gemma, McDowell, and McFall again gave way for Northeastern to run away with the lead in the fifth inning. 

After letting through both senior catcher Bozzo and Maldonado with no outs, McDowell was retired in favor of graduate student right-hander Jack Kramer. Kramer started off strong, striking out his first two batters, but stumbled when he hit Lane with a pitch and Northeastern added three runs against him to up their score to 8-0.

Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports File

The Huskies closed out the game in the seventh inning. Griffin struck out his two batters and Sacred Heart took care of the third out when senior infielder Michael Hernandez was struck by senior infielder John Greene’s hit on his way to second base.

Sirota responded with a single and a steal, the Huskies’ eighth of the game, and was sent home on an RBI double from Lane. With two runners in scoring position, Bozzo took the all-important last swings. The senior had a rough start to the season, batting .083 coming into the game and still dropping, but his second RBI of the season tipped Northeastern into double digits. Sacred Heart took the mercy loss and ended the game early, 10-0.

“One of our main goals every year is to protect the fortress, protect the home field, and I think we’ve been really good at home,” Glavine said. “Teams don’t like playing here, and we want to make them uncomfortable and we did that today.”

A successful home opener with strong showings from young and old bodes well for the Huskies as they head into a difficult week. Northeastern takes the field at home once again Wednesday afternoon. Khalin Kapoor will have the call when first pitch flies against the Bryant University Bulldogs at 2:30 p.m.a