By Chris Judd, News Staff
This season, much of the Northeastern baseball team’s success came from its pitching. The Huskies finished the season with a 3.62 ERA overall, second in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) behind the College of William & Mary’s 3.60. The Huskies also gave up the fewest number of hits (421), runs (217) and earned runs (184).
“Our pitching was terrific in the sense that our rotation guys did incredibly well because we didn’t have great depth going into the season,” head coach Neil McPhee said. “It turned out to be one of the program’s best staffs of pitchers ever.”
The pitcher leading the rotation was senior Kevin Ferguson. He had a 7-4 record in 14 starts this season. In nine of those games, he only gave up two or fewer runs. Ferguson led the team with a 2.59 ERA in 104 innings pitched. Opposing batters facing him had a .231 batting average, as he allowed 90 hits all season and had 93 strikeouts.
“Kevin’s a classic pitcher’s pitcher that’s left handed,” McPhee said. “He has three pitches with great command [fastball, slider, changeup]. His key to success is good ball placement and he keeps hitters off balance with the change up. He was the foundation for the rotation and every Sunday would come through, especially in the big games. He was a critical player on the roster from the first week to the last week.”
The MLB draft begins tonight, and Ferguson is a prospect that teams are looking at. The draft is a multiple day process, so he may be drafted on Friday or even later.
“A lot of scouts have come to the games to see Kevin, and they’ve liked him,” said McPhee.
Accompanying Ferguson was sophomore Nick Berger, who also played a big role in Northeastern’s success. Berger had a 3.56 ERA in 93 innings pitched, giving up 40 runs and 93 hits.
“Nick was the rock of the staff,” McPhee said. “He was so consistent every time he was out. He and Kevin pitching back to back were clearly the key to our run into the tournament. His strength is in his competitiveness. He is a good student and a good athlete.”
With Ferguson and Berger pitching, the Huskies were able to rely on them to keep the games close. Although the offense was often on point, the pitching was the foundation of the team that led them to three wins in the CAA tournament before the Huskies were knocked out in the semifinal round.
“Both of them came into the postseason on very short rest,” McPhee said. “But both pitchers were examples of what the top two guys are supposed to do in the tournament: give you a chance to win. That’s what you ask for your pitchers and both of them did a great job getting us into the sixth inning, and then others pitched in.”
With only three senior pitchers this season, McPhee is returning the majority of his pitching staff, allowing it to be a staple of the team’s success in the coming seasons.