By Jessica Geller, sports editor and Ethan Schroeder, news staff
Once a baseball team allows 18 runs, the chance of winning the game is not in its favor.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Northeastern baseball team gave up a combined 36 runs in its losses to the University of Rhode Island (URI) Rams and Bryant University Bulldogs (6-11).
At Friedman Diamond on Tuesday afternoon, NU (10-16) produced eight runs en route to the 18-8 URI (7-10-1) win. The games in the middle of the week have become problematic for the Huskies, Head Coach Mike Glavine said after the loss.
“We are struggling mid-week on the mound,” Glavine said. “We have to sort some things out, and it’s up to us as a coaching staff to figure those things out. It’s up to the players to perform better. Right now, we are not pitching well mid-week.”
NU sophomore pitcher Nate Borges received his first start of the season as he took the mound against the Rams. URI wasted little time in terms of pumping out runs, attacking Borges for five earned runs over three innings before Glavine called to his bullpen. A five-run fourth inning for URI put NU in a big hole, seemingly all but sealing its fate. Junior reliever Nick Cubarney replaced Borges mid-inning but fared no better, giving up a three-run home run to junior outfielder Ryan Olmo.
Down 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Huskies showed signs of life with three runs, but the Rams’ hot bats prevailed, adding on two more runs in the game’s final four innings. Three NU pitchers, including Borges, gave up at least five earned runs each in Tuesday’s contest. With four more games for the Huskies to play this week, Glavine was forced to use his bullpen staff sparingly.
“You have to give them credit. We knew that they were going to run, they were going to bunt and they were going to swing it,” Glavine said. “Every time we made a bad pitch, they put a good swing on it.”
A five-run ninth inning for NU did nothing more than lessen the deficit of defeat, as the team dropped to 3-3 at home. The Huskies have been outscored 42-10 on Tuesdays this season.
After the loss, Glavine looked ahead 24 hours, knowing it would be an uphill climb before first pitch.
“Bryant will be tough. They always play us well. They have beaten us now a bunch of times in a row and have had a really good team the last few years,” Glavine said.
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 6-3, including wins at the last four meetings.
Bryant was just as difficult, if not more, than Glavine predicted, and the Huskies only mustered two runs in the 18-2 loss on Wednesday.
In the top of the second inning, with two runners on base, freshman infielder Mason Koppens hit an infield single to score sophomore third baseman Cam Hanley. The Huskies led 1-0.
The lead lasted just one inning. In the bottom of the third, freshman pitcher Brian Christian, who made his second start of the season, gave up two runs on an RBI triple and a sacrifice fly. Bryant led 2-1 after three and kept the lead for the remainder of the game.
Christian left the game in the fifth inning with the Huskies down 5-1. In his longest outing of the season, he had one strikeout and four walks. The Bulldogs scored three more runs in the inning off of sophomore reliever Mike Driscoll to put them ahead 8-1.
NU scored its second and final run in the sixth inning. Sophomore left fielder Pat Madigan doubled. He has now reached base in 22 consecutive games – a team best. Freshman infielder Nolan Lang brought Madigan home with an RBI single to make the score 8-2.
Down 16-2 and needing pitchers, junior infielder Mike Piscopo made the first pitching appearance of his career.
“Right now, we don’t have [depth],” Glavine said. “The mid-week games give guys opportunities. It’s not going the way we want, but there are still chances for those guys to get out there on the mound. We are trying to get more guys that we can count on.”
Piscopo struck out the first batter he faced, freshman infielder Cole Fabio, but then allowed the final two runs of the game.
Bryant accumulated 12 hits and one error. NU had eight hits and two errors. The biggest problem for the Huskies was walks – five pitchers gave up 13.
NU’s road trip continues at Elon University for a three-game weekend series in North Carolina.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics