Chiara Jurczak/WRBB Sports File

By Amelia Ballingall and Max Schwartzberg

Northeastern headed into their first CAA series with momentum. The Huskies had gone 8-1 in their past nine games, with Alex Lane and Tyler MacGregor holding strong with .424 and .393 batting averages and junior center fielder Mike Sirota heating up to a .274 after starting the season ice cold. 

However, when the Huskies traveled to Hofstra for a doubleheader to open CAA play, the team’s bats grew quiet in Game 1, falling 3-2, before rallying for an exciting 13-9 victory in Game 2 to earn the split.

Game 1

In the first game, the only marks from either side came in the first inning. Luke Beckstein was the first to face Hofstra pitcher Michael O’Hanlon.

Both teams only fielded two pitchers in the first game of the doubleheader —- Jake Gigliotti and Jack Bowery for the Huskies and O’Hanlon and Mike McKenna for the Pride.

In the early minutes of O’Hanlon’s whopping six innings, which included 94 pitches and six hits, Beckstein landed a base hit, singling to left field. 

MacGregor followed suit, pulling through with an early-game homer to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. 

However, that was the last of Northeastern’s scoring, as Lane was left on the bases to end the frame and the Pride took to the plate. 

Gigliotti walked two batters at the bottom of the first, and with Hofstra notching a couple hits in the inning, he quickly found himself facing loaded bases. 

Luke Masiuk, a former Husky who transferred to Hofstra, broke through for the Pride, sending a double out to center field to tie the game.

But the Pride weren’t done yet. With Steve Harrington eagerly waiting on third base and just one out behind the team, Matt Pelcher just needed to give his teammate enough time to reach home. Although Pelcher’s fly out ended his first-inning stint, Harrington was able to advance on the play and give Hofstra a 3-2 lead. 

The rest of the matinee was silent. With stellar pitching and defensive work from both sides, including four 1-2-3 innings, neither team was able to score any further. 

Despite no change on the scoreboard, the Huskies had a couple good pushes to try to turn the game back in their favor. In both the fourth and seventh inning, Northeastern put multiple Huskies in scoring position, but was unable to seal the deal. 

Northeastern only allowed five hits through the game, better than Hofstra by three, but the Pride struck out nine Huskies to render those hits harmless.

Although Sirota was shut down, unable to earn a hit, a couple of younger players — Carmelo Musacchia and Cam Maldonado —- found their stride with two hits and a stolen base apiece. 

The narrow 3-2 loss wasn’t how the Huskies wanted to start off their conference play, but they had a few moments — and some pitching — that shined and were able to tackle the second game with fresh eyes. 

Game 2

After Sirota, MacGregor, and Lane — Northeastern’s 3-4-5 hitters — combined to go 1-12 at the plate in Game 1, the Huskies entered Game 2 of the doubleheader against Hofstra with the intention of executing offensively.

Northeastern successfully accomplished this task and exploded for 13 runs to grab their first CAA win of the season.

The Pride handed the ball to senior RHP Steven Kaenzig, who entered the start with an 11.14 season ERA. Frustrated with their two runs scored in game one, the Huskies jumped on the board immediately. With the bases loaded and two outs, junior infielder Jack Doyle wore a fastball to score graduate first baseman MacGregor.

For the Huskies, coming off a rough three earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched in his most recent outing, senior southpaw Will Jones toed the slab. With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, senior outfielder Alex McCoy connected on his fifth round-tripper of the season, evening the score 1-1.

Despite some traffic on the base paths, the Huskies went quiet in the top half of the second frame. Unfortunately for Northeastern, Hofstra built off the momentum from McCoy’s first-inning homer. With runners on second and third and one out, graduate infielder Michael Florides smoked a two-RBI double to give the Pride a 3-1 advantage.

To open the top of the third, redshirt sophomore outfielder Harrison Feinberg reached on an error, before Doyle smoked a 2-2 heater to left-center field, advancing Feinberg to second. 

Hofstra head coach Frank Catalanotto went to sophomore RHP Carlos Martinez to relieve Kaenzig. Martinez struck out both sophomores Carmelo Musacchia and Matt Brinker. However, in Brinker’s at-bat, Feinberg scored on a passed ball, and Doyle scored on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 3-3.

Resilient, the Pride answered right back in the bottom half of the third inning. After Jones retired McCoy and junior outfielder Luke Masiuk, senior utility man Penn Sealey extended the inning with a two-out single. Then, junior infielder Sean Lane crushed an opposite-field home run, his second big fly of the season, to push the Pride back in front 5-3. 

Northeastern benefited more from Martinez’s command blunders in the fourth. Senior infielder Luke Beckstein opened the frame with a single, and MacGregor drew a base on balls. With junior outfielder Mike Sirota at the plate, Martinez threw his second wild pitch to advance both runners a base. After, Martinez’s third wild pitch scored Beckstein to bring the Huskies back within one run.

After three innings, graduate RHP Aidan Tucker relieved Jones. Florides walked, and sophomore utility man Dylan Palmer reached on a weakly hit infield single fielded by Tucker. Then, graduate infielder Santino Rosso popped out to Musacchia at short, who committed a throwing error trying to double off Florides, allowing both runners to advance to second and third.

Following the error, Tucker hit McCoy. With the bases loaded and only one out, Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine went to sophomore RHP Charlie Walker in relief. After a long battle, Masiuk drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to score Florides, bringing the score to 6-4 and allowing the Pride to regain their two-run lead.

After both teams went scoreless in the fifth, the Huskies put up a much-needed crooked number in the sixth inning and scored four runs to take an 8-6 lead. With MacGregor on first and Beckstein on third, Sirota grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, bringing Beckstein across the plate for the first run. 

With two outs and a mission to add on, graduate DH Alex Lane smacked a single to left-center before Feinberg walked. Catalanotto penciled in senior RHP Danny Kelleher to avert any more damage.

However, Doyle greeted Kelleher with a missile up the middle, scoring Lane from second to even the score at 6-6.

Following Doyle’s single, the Huskies piled on two more, courtesy of Musacchia and Brinker, and scored Feinberg and Doyle respectively. The sequence gave Northeastern their first lead since the first inning of game one.

After the major momentum shift, graduate RHP Cooper McGrath tossed a quick 1-2-3 inning to put bats right back in the hands of the red-hot Husky offense.

In the seventh inning, Northeastern tacked on five more runs. With the bases loaded and no one out, Lane grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring Beckstein in the back door to extend the lead to 9-6.

Junior RHP Brian Hart plunked Feinberg on a 2-2 count to put runners at the corners with two outs. Immediately after, Doyle was hit by his second pitch of the game. Catalanotto saw enough and placed freshman LHP Tanner Sanderoff in a tight bases-loaded, two-out situation. 

On a 1-0 fastball, Musacchia hammered his first home run of the season to left field in grand fashion and scored himself, MacGregor, Feinberg, and Doyle. 

Trailing 13-6, Hofstra immediately answered back in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs and senior utility man Steve Harrington on first, Florides reached on an error, placing the runners at first and second. Then, Palmer reached on an infield single to Doyle at third base. With the bases loaded, Rosso rifled a bases-clearing double to Sirota in center, narrowing the score to 13-9.

Both Northeastern and Hofstra went scoreless in the eighth, and the Huskies did not add any insurance in the ninth.

Ahead of the Pride by four runs, junior RHP Jack Beauchesne continued his work from the bottom of the eighth inning into the ninth to close the game for the Huskies. With one out, Beauchesne issued a walk to graduate outfielder Will Kennedy, who pinch-hit for Florides.

Following the walk, Palmer reached on an infield single. Then, Rosso weakly grounded out to Beckstein at second, moving both runners to score position with two outs. With the tying run on deck, Beauchesne closed the door and struck out McCoy, supplying the Huskies with their first conference win.

The Huskies look to take the positive momentum to the rubber match on Sunday. 

The Huskies return to action on Sunday, March 24, for the final game of the three-game series against Hofstra. The first pitch is set for noon. WRBB will have written coverage of the game.