By Joe Barbito, news staff
The Northeastern University (NU) baseball team endured a picked up a pair of wins over the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) amid snowy conditions at Friedman Diamond in Brookline this weekend before beating Harvard in the Beanpot semifinal.
The aces were dominant this weekend for NU as the Huskies’ two top starters combined for 15 innings, four earned runs allowed and 12 strikeouts.
Junior Aaron Civale pitched through eight innings on Friday, but the right-hander’s usual headlining performance was overshadowed by the offense. NU’s bats were wide awake the entire game as Husky hitters drove home nine runs. The 9-4 victory came against starter Ryan Foster, the Seahawks’ top pitcher who had five wins and zero losses going into the matchup.
Senior catcher Josh Treff threw out five baserunners – four at second and one at third – and had a homerun with four RBIs on the day.
Junior closer Mike Fitzgerald pitched a one-run ninth, fanning the final batter to shut the door and lift the Huskies to .500 overall and in conference play.
After numerous schedule changes on Saturday, the Seahawks and Huskies took the field at 3 p.m. in what ended up being the final game of the series. Junior Dustin Hunt continued his dominance atop the mound, blanking UNCW over seven innings. Sophomore Ty Robinson picked up his first save of the year, working for two scoreless innings.
Freshman Charlie McConnell continued to make waves. Starting at third base, he went two-for-four with a homerun and a stolen base.
“He is a real coachable kid,” head coach Mike Glavine said. “Sometimes I feel bad moving him around so much, but he seems to play better whenever I move him. He wants to win.”
Last season’s series in Wilmington went significantly worse for the Huskies, who were swept by scores of 10-5, 4-3, and 15-1. UNCW ended up winning the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament in 2015, moving onto the Baton Rouge Regional.
Coach Glavine said the team has a lot of confidence, citing the midweek game against the University of Rhode Island on March 30 as a momentum builder for the team.
“Part of the battle is believing in your teammates,” Glavine said. “We were able to do that both days. We had very good defense and overcame some adversity on Saturday, being at the field all day. At 2 p.m., we decided to have the game, and 45 minutes later, the guys were locked in.”
The Sunday game, canceled due to inclement weather, will not be rescheduled, as per CAA regulations.
Tuesday’s game against the University of Connecticut was postponed due to poor field conditions from snowfall. Both teams agreed to play a game at a later date.
Wednesday marked the opening round of the baseball Beanpot, pitting Northeastern against Harvard University. Sophomore pitcher Will Jahn notched his first win of the season to steer the Huskies to a 3-2 win and their first Beanpot final since 2013.
Jahn went 3 2-3 shutout innings in relief, striking out three and stranding four baserunners. Jahn came in after junior Nate Borges struggled on the mound, allowing two unearned runs the third inning. The offense did the rest of the work. Freshman outfielder Cam Walsh drove in the game-winning run in the fifth inning when he knocked a single up the middle and sent sophomore shortstop Max Burt around to score.
The Huskies will have to wait to see their opponent in the final, however, as the semifinal game between Boston College and the University of Massachusetts was postponed.
NU will take on the Elon Phoenix this weekend in a three-game series.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics