Men’s baseball returns to the diamond for first series against Wake Forest


Riley Robinson

The Huskies opened their season against Wake Forest, completing the weekend series with a 1-2 record.

Jack Sinclair, news correspondent

347 days after the last game of their 2020 season, the Northeastern baseball team finally took to the diamond to begin their 2021 campaign.

The Huskies made the trip down to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face off against the no. 17 ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons for a three-game series. The Huskies had only practiced indoors and had one outdoor practice this season before the series against the Deacons began.

Redshirt senior Kyle Murphy kicked off the season for the Huskies on the mound. He got off to a rough start, letting up a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning. An RBI single by Wake Forest in the bottom of the third increased the Demon Deacons’ lead to 5. 

Murphy settled in after his first three innings, and pressed on to end the game with a decent stat line of five hits, seven strikeouts and two walks.

Wake Forest starter sophomore Ryan Cusick ate the Huskies alive for their first two times through the lineup. The sophomore slinger didn’t even give a Husky batter a three-ball count until the fifth inning. However, when leadoff hitter and redshirt senior second baseman Sam Holzwasser stepped up for his third at bat of the game, it was clear Cusick couldn’t maintain his dominance. The NU bats woke up, hanging three runs on the Deacons ace, chasing him out of the game. 

The Huskies kept the pressure on, scoring three runs over the next two innings to take the lead. However, the lead would be fleeting, as NU redshirt junior closer Brandon Dufault would let up a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to freshman third baseman Brock Wilken, giving the Demon Deacons the lead.

“I’m thankful to be back out there,” Northeastern head coach Mike Glavine said after the first game. “We pretty much just stepped out of the gym, that’s why the first couple innings, I think it took us a little to get our heart rates down.”

Redshirt freshman and 2019 Red Sox draft pick Sebastian Keane started the game on the mound for the second game of the series. After a strong debut to his Northeastern career last season, Keane started off his 2021 campaign on the back foot. Keane got rocked by the Deacons for eight runs, and exited the game before reaching the third inning. The Northeastern bullpen took over the game, allowing only one run over the next six innings.

The Huskies offense experienced similar struggles, earning only nine hits over the course of the game. They got runners on the bases, but couldn’t link hits together to score them. The Huskies would be blanked, falling to the Deacons 9-0. 

Sunday’s matinee was started by redshirt freshman Cam Schlittler. The rightie looked sharp through five innings, posting a stat line of eight strikeouts, three hits, three runs and two walks. The Northeastern offense really came alive, grabbing the lead in the top of the first inning.

“We finally won the first inning,” Glavine said after their third game.

A two-run dinger off the bat of Brock Wilken gave Wake Forest the lead, but the Huskies bats stayed lively, as they put three runs on the board in the top of the third.

Schlittler was sharp, demonstrating his excellent command over his fastball, as well as a lethal arsenal of breaking balls. A big six-run inning in the bottom of the sixth for Wake Forest gave them the lead again, but the Huskies weren’t done yet. They responded by plating six runs of their own in the top of the 7th.

“[It’s a] sign of a great team,” Glavine said. “We just didn’t play well that inning, we gave them a few of those runs there. We could have hung our heads and felt sorry for ourselves, but we came up fighting. That’s what you love in a team, as a coach.”

The Northeastern bullpen took the mound to close the game, and held onto the lead while only allowing two additional runs. The Huskies won, 14-11.

“It was great seeing the guys happy, seeing them running around again, playing baseball and competing,” Glavine said.

The Huskies exited North Carolina with a 1-2 record, earning 31 hits and 20 runs against a very strong pitching staff in the Demon Deacons. 

The Huskies continue non-conference play next weekend, with a three game series at Villanova. First pitch Friday will be at 2 p.m.