By Joe Barbito, news correspondent
After a month of road games, the Northeastern University (NU) baseball team found its way back to Friedman Diamond, winning two of three games against the University of Buffalo Bulls.
Much like he has done all season, junior pitcher Aaron Civale opened up home play for the Huskies with nine masterful innings against the Bulls on Friday, striking out 10 batters. The game would end up being scoreless through 12 innings, as neither team could get their bats working. The game came to a dramatic conclusion in the 12th inning, with a lone run from a walk-off single off the bat of sophomore designated hitter Zach Perry, scoring junior outfielder Pat Madigan from second and giving NU a 1-0 victory.
Saturday proved to be a rough outing for NU. Traditionally a very competent defensive team, the Huskies looked out of their usual groove. Two errors in the first allowed the Bulls to get on the board early.
“If you look at our numbers, we’ve defended well this year, and Saturday was a little blip,” head coach Mike Glavine said. “We always talk about playing all nine, from the first pitch to the last pitch. [Saturday] we didn’t do that.”
Senior pitcher James Mulry was only able to go five innings, yielding four runs. That would prove to be enough for Buffalo, as they held NU to just three runs over nine innings. Freshman Andrew Misaszek had one of his worst outings this season, going three innings and allowing two runs but fanning four Bulls in the process. The 6-3 final score sent the series to Sunday to decide the victor.
Dustin Hunt came out dealing in his first home start since being named to the All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) team. Over seven innings, the only run he gave up was a solo home run, and he struck out six batters in his start. The real story of this game was the resurgence of the batting order – NU batters accumulated eight runs on 10 hits.
“We cannot rely on one person,” Glavine said. “We need to be a lineup that’s one through nine. We need all of our players to chip in in all different ways. We got some bunt hits, we had a couple of hit and runs, we stole some bases […] that’s what we need to do to be successful.”
Senior second baseman Keith Kelly started a new on base streak by going three-for-four with a triple and a walk. Freshman outfielder Charlie McConnell went one-for-three but stole three bases, two of them on back to back pitches. Junior first baseman Cam Hanley continued his weekend tear; after notching two doubles on Saturday, he hit a single and a triple on Sunday.
“It was just a timing thing for me,” Hanley said of his success over the weekend. “I just stuck to the process and believed in what they’re teaching […] I knew it was going to pay off.”
The infield defense for NU was also in mid-season form. Hanley had an unassisted double play to end the top of the fourth, catching a line drive and forcing a baserunner out at first.
“[Assistant] coach [Kevin] Cobb told me the kid was a dead-pull hitter,” Hanley said. “He told me not to get too far off the line. Kid roped it right at me, I didn’t really have to do much, just caught it and stepped on the bag.”
The following inning a line drive to Kelly ended in similar fashion: A throw to first forced the runner out and the side was retired.
A game against cross-town rival Boston College was scheduled for Tuesday but was later postponed for undisclosed reasons. The game has yet to be rescheduled.
This weekend NU will travel to Harrisonburg, Va. for their first CAA series of 2016 against James Madison University at Veterans Memorial Park. Last season, the Huskies swept the Dukes in a three-game series at home.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics