By Ethan Schroeder, news staff
The losing streak has hit seven games for the Northeastern baseball team. The Huskies started Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play on March 20, losing all three games of the weekend away-series to the University of North Carolina – Wilmington (UNCW).
In the home opener on Tuesday, Boston College (BC) was too much for NU to handle, winning 22-1. The Huskies had chances to beat the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell on Wednesday but lost 11-9 at Friedman Diamond.
In preparation for the UNCW series, Head Coach Mike Glavine said that he believed his team was turning a corner, with its best days ahead. In retrospect, Glavine spoke too soon and the team dropped its record to 7-14.
“Obviously, we are in a rut,” Glavine said. “That’s what happens when you get on a bit of a losing streak. You doubt yourself, and mistakes happen.”
On Friday against the Seahawks, the Huskies failed to maintain a one-run lead in the game’s final innings, losing 10-5.
Redshirt junior catcher Josh Treff started things off for NU on a strong note, belting a leadoff home run in the game’s first frame. The Huskies emulated Treff’s work at the plate initially, scoring five runs over the first five innings. Taking a 5-4 lead in the sixth with sophomore pitcher Aaron Civale in for relief, the Huskies lost their composure defensively.
With six runs on seven hits in the sixth inning, UNCW was able to take the lead and seal NU’s fate in one fell swoop. Treff ended the day with a home run, single and double, but the Huskies bats ultimately fell silent when a comeback was needed.
Led by sophomore starting pitcher Dustin Hunt, NU entered game two looking to even things up. Those in attendance at Wilmington experienced a severe case of déjà vu, as the two teams repeated the script from the night before on a more gradual scale. The Huskies found themselves up early, but four unanswered runs from the Seahawks allowed the home team to escape with a 4-3 victory.
Once again, NU struck first with a home run, this time from sophomore infielder Jimmy Hand, scoring two runs. The Huskies extended their lead to three runs in the next inning off of a UNCW throwing error. From then on, it was the Seahawks’ ball game. They began to chip away at NU’s lead in the fourth and fifth innings with RBIs from sophomore outfielder Casey Golden and redshirt sophomore catcher Gavin Stupienski.
In the eighth inning, UNCW jumped ahead off of the bat of junior infielder Terrence Connelly. Connelly’s two-run single gave the team its first lead of the day. Senior closing pitcher Jordan Ramsey came in and shut the Huskies down in the top of the ninth, ensuring the Seahawks’ victory.
NU took to the field in its last game against UNCW, looking to save face. In contrast, a mixture of poor performance at the plate and on the mound doomed the Huskies from the start, giving the Seahawks the sweep with a 15-1 victory.
“We’ve had a little bit of everything,” Glavine said. “We’ve had some tight ball games that we could have won. We are just not playing well enough to win these games. We just need to get over that hump right now.”
For the third time in as many games, NU registered the game’s first run. Treff was able to put the Huskies ahead in the first inning, scoring when redshirt junior infielder Michael Foster was caught stealing second base. Treff’s run was the Huskies’ only of the game.
The Seahawks started slowly with runs in the third and fourth innings, then broke open the floodgates in the fifth, scoring six runs. Highlighted by Stupienski’s two-run home run, the inning gave UNCW all the momentum it needed to bury the Huskies and complete the sweep.
Though NU was thoroughly defeated by the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon, Foster and sophomore outfielder Pat Madigan were able to extend their reached-base streaks to 12 and 15 games respectively, continuing their impressive personal starts to the season.
On Tuesday, the Huskies traveled back to Boston to play in their first home game of the season. In front of 31 fans at Friedman Diamond, NU’s losing streak continued in prolific fashion, as the team was handed a humbling 22-1 defeat by rival BC.
The Eagles’ control of the game was displayed early and often on Tuesday. It began with the first inning when the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead due to a solo home run from junior outfielder Chris Shaw and an RBI line-out by sophomore outfielder Michael Strem. Shaw added runs again in the third inning, this time with a two-run home run to put BC ahead 5-0. From there, BC scored runs in all but the sixth inning, emphasized by a nine-run eighth inning. Four NU pitchers gave up multiple earned runs over the course of the game, with senior starter Isaac Lippert taking his third loss of the season.
“Pitching has been a disappointment this streak, which is usually one of those things that Northeastern baseball is known for,” Glavine said. “I still believe in this pitching staff. It’s just right now we are doubting ourselves, and when you lose, you lose confidence. Right now, we are not a confident team.”
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, NU had chances to win the game at Friedman Diamond against UMass Lowell but couldn’t deliver. In the top of the first, the River Hawks took a 1-0 lead on senior third baseman Matthew Sanchez’s single.
In the bottom of the first, NU redshirt junior first baseman Rob Fonseca drew a walk from UMass Lowell pitcher Jeffrey Peterson. Treff was hit by a pitch to put two Huskies on base. NU tied the game at 1-1 on sophomore left fielder Pat Madigan’s RBI single. Sophomore right fielder Joey Scambia hit a 2-RBI double to right field to score Madigan and Treff. After one inning, NU led 3-1.
After getting two outs in the top of the second, UMass sophomore infielder Zack Tower hit a 2-RBI homerun to left center, sending home senior first baseman Jimmy Ricoy to tie the game at 3-3.
Thanks in part to four straight walks, NU scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the third. Foster added the fourth run of the frame on an RBI single to score freshman second baseman Nolan Lang. NU led 7-3.
The River Hawks crawled back in the fourth and fifth innings to take an 8-7 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Foster hit a two-run home run to put the Huskies ahead 9-8.
Civale entered the game in the sixth with two runners on base. He struck out the first three batters he faced to retire the side.
“To come in at a point like that in a game and shut it down is just classic Civale,” Treff said.
Down 11-9 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Huskies loaded the bases, but Burt flied out to end the game.
NU faces the University of Delaware for a three-game series at Friedman Diamond starting Friday, March 27.
“A lot of guys are going to be excited for this weekend, a CAA series, trying to get back in the conference,” Treff said. “I think it won’t be tough for us to put our full team effort together.”
Photo by Brian Bae
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