Chiara Jurczak/WRBB Sports File

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Coming off of their sweep of Stony Brook to finish the regular season, Northeastern entered the CAA tournament looking to keep Hofstra’s lineup at bay and take advantage of their CAA-worst pitching in the first round. 

However, in a game marked by multiple back-and-forth offensive rallies, the Huskies were unable to keep up with Hofstra’s lineup, blowing through six pitchers who allowed 17 hits in a brutal 12-9 loss.

“We just didn’t have it today,” said Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine following the game. “We fall behind, we come back. Tie it up, then we take the lead and four pitches later — the game’s tied. We couldn’t get any momentum.”

From the start, the Pride lineup had no trouble against Northeastern lefty starter Jack Bowery, kicked off by a leadoff single by Hofstra sophomore second baseman Dylan Palmer. Palmer scored on an RBI hit by senior first baseman Steve Harrington, and a groundout by graduate student third baseman Santino Rosso gave the Pride their second run. 

In the bottom of the inning, Northeastern quickly threatened. Center fielder Mike Sirota and graduate student first baseman Tyler MacGregor both recorded hits against Hofstra senior righty Michael O’Hanlon, and junior third baseman Jack Doyle sent the pair home to tie the game on a double down the right field line.

Bowery continued to struggle in the second inning, letting up a single and a walk, but was able to escape the inning without any runs allowed after striking out Palmer and getting graduate left fielder Will Kennedy to fly out. The Huskies managed to get a rally together in the bottom of the second inning after back-to-back singles by senior catcher Gregory Bozzo and sophomore outfielder Cam Maldonado, and both were batted in by Sirota on a single to center field to give the Huskies a 4-2 lead.

Hofstra’s lineup came into the third ready to respond, started off by senior center fielder Alex McCoy hitting a leadoff single. McCoy was sent home on a two-run home run by Harrington to right field, and another single by Rosso ended Bowery’s afternoon. Junior righty Dennis Colleran took over on the mound for Bowery, and managed to get the Huskies out of the inning without any more runs allowed. 

Neither team was able to gain momentum until the bottom of the fourth, when the Huskies were nearly able to put together a two-out rally after O’Hanlon walked three straight batters. However, MacGregor was unable to get anything out of the loaded bases, and popped out to right field to end any chance of breaking the tie. 

After loading the bases on two walks and a hit-by-pitch without getting any outs in the top of the fifth, Colleran was taken out of the game for redshirt senior Jake Gigliotti. The righty was unable to stop the Pride momentum, immediately letting up an RBI single to senior catcher Matt Pelcher and sending another home by plunking graduate shortstop Michael Florides. Palmer then hit into a fielder’s choice to score a third run, before Gigliotti finally got out of the inning on a double play ball hit by Kennedy. The Huskies were able to respond in the bottom of the inning, with graduate left fielder Alex Lane sent home on a groundout by sophomore designated hitter Carmelo Musacchia, but the rally was stopped on a strikeout by Bozzo. 

Hofstra continued to tee off on Gigliotti in the sixth. A leadoff single by McCoy and a subsequent double by Harrington gave the Pride two early baserunners, and after two strikeouts both came home on a double by senior designated hitter Penn Sealey. Another hit by Pelcher scored Sealey to give the Pride a 10-5 lead, and Gigliotti concluded the inning with a flyout by Florides. 

Northeastern was able to respond in the bottom of the inning with a first-pitch leadoff homer by Maldonado. However, after senior second baseman Luke Beckstein was hit by a pitch, for the remainder of the sixth the bats went quiet.

Junior righty Brett Dunham came onto the mound for the seventh, and let up only one baserunner in a scoreless inning. After walking sophomore shortstop Jack Goodman on his 104th pitch of the afternoon, O’Hanlon was taken off the mound for right-hander Russell Hunter. 

The sophomore’s wheels came off quickly, letting Goodman get to third on a steal and a single by Musacchia. The Pride lead then shrunk to one after a sacrifice fly by Bozzo and a two-run homer by Maldonado, his second long ball of the night. After letting up another hit to Beckstein, Hunter was pulled for righty Mike McKenna, who walked Sirota and MacGregor to load the bases but killed the Huskies’ momentum by causing Alex Lane to foul out.

Junior righty Jack Beauchesne came onto the mound for the eighth inning for Northeastern and continued the Huskies’ pitching woes. After walking the leadoff batter, Beauchesne managed to get two straight outs, but the Pride put together a rally, scoring a run on a double by Pelcher and sending him home on a single hit by Florides. 

After hitting another batter with a pitch, Beauchesne finally managed to get out of the inning on a flyout by Kennedy, but left the Huskies with a three-run deficit. McKenna held the Huskies down in the eighth, sending Doyle down on a strikeout and Goodman on a flyout, before forcing pinch-hitting senior Jimmy Sullivan to ground out to end the inning.

The ninth inning was uneventful for both teams. Right-handed sophomore Charlie Walker came onto the mound for the Huskies. After letting up a two-out double to Rosso and hitting junior ex-Husky Luke Masiuk with a pitch, he was able to get out of the half inning on a lineout by Sealey straight to Doyle’s glove. 

Any chance of a ninth-inning comeback for the Huskies was quieted by McKenna, who struck out both pinch-hitting freshman Ryan Gerety and Maldonado, then forced Beckstein to foul out to end the game.

Though the Huskies’ offense was successful at taking advantage of Hofstra’s weak pitching with their nine-run performance, their own pitching woes kept their hopes of advancing past the first round with a win dashed. 

“We gotta pitch better,” Glavine said “The hits, certainly, but you can’t give up nine free bases either. You can’t walk five guys and hit four and give them nine free bases on top of 17 hits.”

Going forward, Northeastern will have to win every game they play in the Tournament to avoid elimination, and another loss could stop them from having a chance at an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. 

WRBB continues to have full coverage of Northeastern’s postseason contests in Wilmington. First pitch of their second-round elimination game against the William & Mary Tribe is scheduled for 11 a.m., with Luke Graham and Patrick O’Neal calling the game on WRBB Sports+.