Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports

BROOKLINE – “This is one of those games where I need to sit down and decompress for a few moments.” 

Those were the words of Northeastern Head Coach Mike Glavine after the Huskies 10-9 extra-innings walk-off victory over the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils.

On paper, Tuesday afternoon’s bout at Parsons Field should have been an easy win for the Huskies. Coming into Tuesday’s match-up, the Huskies held a record of 16-6 and undefeated (4-0) at home. Their opponents, CCSU, came into the game with a record of 6-8. But the combination of the cold, wet, and dreary weather conditions – as should be expected in March in New England – and a few very well played innings by the Blue Devils meant the Huskies were forced to grind it out for ten innings before finally claiming victory. 

The starter on the mound for the Huskies was junior Brett Dunham, who came into Tuesday’s start with a 9.53 ERA after 5.2 innings of work. For Dunham, he would be looking to recover after two up and down performances in his last two appearances — against Merrimack, where he let up a home run, and Bryant, where he was also homered off of. In the two innings Dunham pitched, he threw 48 pitches to a total of nine batters striking out four, walking one, and only surrendering two hits, a very productive afternoon for the starter as he looks to turn his season around. 

Opposite Dunham, the Blue Devils ran out Freshman pitcher Randy Guzman, who, like Dunham, came into the outing only having pitched 5.2 innings across two appearances and earning an ERA of 6.23 on his rookie season. However, unlike Dunham, Tuesday was certainly not the start that Guzman was hoping for. The first and second innings went smoothly for Guzman, however, in the third things started coming off the rails for the young righty. 

In the third, he walked two batters and gave up a single to Mike Sirota which drove in a run to tie the game at 1-1. Immediately after the Sirota RBI single, Alex Lane dug into the box and crushed a three-run home run over the left field wall to open the game up to a score of 4-1 Huskies and end Guzman’s afternoon. 

In the top of the fourth inning, Northeastern’s freshman pitcher Nick Coniglio, who had come into the ball game in relief of Dunham at the opening of the third, returned to the mound in hopes of rectifying the damage he had caused by letting up a solo-shot home run to Central Connecticut’s senior catcher Jeff Nicol the inning prior. Unfortunately for Coniglio, he was unable to sustain the Huskies three-run lead when a hanging breaking ball left over the plate was belted out to the bullpens out in left field by CCSU’s Joe Rios. That two-run home run made the score of the ball game much tighter with a score of 4-3 Huskies. 

The Blue Devils continued their scoring frenzy in the top of the fifth inning against Brendan McFall, giving up a sacrifice-fly that scored the tying run, and then his challenges continued as he walked the bases loaded with two outs and was pulled for James Quinlivan to try to pick up the broken pieces – Quinlivan did not. 

In what, at the time, seemed like a turning point that would lead to a Huskies loss, Elliot Good belted a no doubt grand-slam into the suburban houses way behind the left field wall at Friedman Diamond to break the game open and make the score 8-4 Blue Devils. The grand-slam came just two pitches after Good had hit what seemed to many to be a homer, but was ruled foul by the home plate umpire to much displeasure from the Blue Devils.

When asked about the grand-slam, Glavine said he felt it “rocked” the team and the only message he had for his players was to “try to get the momentum back,” which as Glavine pointed out the Huskies were not able to do immediately — even when the heart of their lineup was up to bat in the half bottom of the inning. 

Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports

After a few quiet innings offensively for both the Huskies and Blue Devils, the score remaining at 8-4, the Huskies began to crawl their way back in the bottom of the seventh. To begin their miraculous rally, Mike Sirota hit into a fielder’s choice that got Luke Beckstein out at third but allowed Cam Maldonado to score from third, bringing the score to 8-5.

Just after Sirota, Alex Lane furthered his hot streak at the plate by knocking in Tyler McGregor on a deep sacrifice-fly to right field. That Lane RBI made the score 8-6. The scoring for the Huskies continued in the seventh, with a Jack Doyle double that knocked in Sirota to make the score 8-7 going into the top of the eighth. In the eighth Blue devils were able to extend their lead to 9-7; however, short of that one run James Quinlivan was able to shut down CCSU and give his team a fighter’s chance moving into the ninth.

Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports

The score remained 9-7 Blue Devils, until leading off the ninth inning, Luke Beckstein took the Huskies just one step closer to completing the comeback with a clutch ninth inning solo-shot home run. A few batters later, Jack Doyle, who had a great night, popped up a sacrifice-fly that allowed Tyler McGregor to score and tie the game, forcing extra-innings.

In the top of the tenth the Blue Devils went one-two-three and left the door open for the Huskies to complete the comeback in extras. Tasked with attempting to stop the Huskies was sophomore pitcher Nic Benhardt – he did not pass the test. After walking the bases full – two of which were intentional walks to both Tyler McGregor and Alex Lane – Benhardt faced Jack Doyle who he was unable to take care of and also walked for a walk-off base on balls to give the 10-9 victory to the Huskies after 10 innings of play. 

With the resilient win, the Huskies improved to a record of 17-6 on the season and 5-0 at home. 

The Huskies will return to action on Wednesday, March 27th, when they face off against the University of Connecticut Huskies in Storrs, Connecticut at 3:05 p.m.