Huskies close in, but fall short in Red Sox exhibition game


Mika Podila

Sophomore center fielder Mike Sirota steps up to bat. Sirota was the top performer in Friday’s exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox.

Amelia Ballingall, deputy sports editor

Friday afternoon, the Northeastern baseball team (2-1) flew to Fort Myers, Florida, to square up against its neighboring team, the Boston Red Sox, in a seven-inning exhibition game. The event reinstated a years-old tradition that was put on hold due to COVID-19. After leading UNC Greensboro 2-1 the previous weekend in their first series of the season, the Huskies fell just short of another success, falling to the Red Sox 5-3. 

Although the matchup was the first on the Red Sox’s spring training schedule, the pros put their best foot forward on the field, tallying all five runs in the first inning. 

Meanwhile, the Huskies still had a little rust on the wheels when they stepped up to bat at the top of the first, only able to get one batter on base before the Red Sox quickly picked off the next three for their own chance at bat. 

After Northeastern’s first chance was tossed into the dirt, redshirt junior pitcher James Quinlivan stepped up to the mound shakily, letting through three runs and four walks before being swapped out for graduate student pitcher Patrick Harrington. 

With the bases fully loaded, Enmanuel Valdez snapped a ball down center field to let teammates Alex Verdugo and Jorge Alfaro run home and bump the Red Sox’s score up to five. 

Luckily for the Huskies, the next two batters were unable to get a strong hit, and Northeastern ended the Red Sox’s streak. 

Both teams now knew they had to step up their game, and with that mindset, the next two innings went quickly. 

Now ready to face the big leagues, the Huskies completely shut down the Red Sox in the second inning, allowing zero base hits from their opponents through the frame.

After an uneventful third inning, the Huskies hit their stride when Chase Shugart stepped up to pitch at the top of the fourth.

Northeastern redshirt senior Danny Crossen runs the bases. The Huskies fell to the Red Sox 5-3 Friday afternoon. (Mika Podila)

Redshirt senior infielder Spenser Smith got an easy walk, then stole second base, but it was sophomore center fielder Mike Sirota who sent him home with a double to put the Huskies on the board.

Following Smith’s lead, Sirota stole third, inching just close enough for redshirt senior Danny Crossen’s next hit to send him home and seal the second run.

The Red Sox moved quickly to stop the Huskies’ momentum, but after ending the Red Sox’s fifth-inning bid to reclaim their wide-margin lead, Northeastern chipped in one more run in its next chance at bat.

A base hit from sophomore outfielder Harrison Feinberg continued the Huskies’ trend toward success, and after stealing one more base, a dropped ball from Red Sox infielder Christian Koss gave Feinberg the window to run home and put the team within two. 

With only two opportunities left, Northeastern was feeling the pressure, but freshman pitcher James Morice kept the Huskies alive with two straight strikeouts to send them into the sixth inning.

However, neither team was able to claim another run throughout the next two innings, and although Feinberg reached third base, nearly making it home, Red Sox pitcher Brendan Celluci’s strikeout of sophomore outfielder Luke Masiuk kept the major league team on top to finish out the game 5-3. 

In its first matchup of the season, the Red Sox experimented with different formations all game long, making a multitude of defensive changes nearly every inning. 

From the opposite dugout, the Northeastern set the tone for the season, with Harrington strongly representing the newcomers, Sirota proving his recent honor as part of the CAA preseason all-conference team and Crossen showing Husky determination with a dive into the net in an attempt to catch the ball. 

After narrowly losing to Hofstra in last season’s CAA championship, the Huskies are already preparing for their next chance at the title. Tomorrow, they’ll be moving just a few towns over to take on Indiana State in a double-header. The Huskies will take the field at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to continue their pre-CAA preparation.