Northeastern starts CAA tournament strong with win against William & Mary


Photo courtesy Jim Pierce

The Huskies celebrate as graduate student first baseman Tyler MacGregor runs home. MacGregor tallied one run, two hits, and one RBI in the Huskies’ win over William & Mary.

Sarah Popeck, news staff

After giving up a series to the William & Mary Tribe (32-24, 15-16 CAA) earlier this month, the Huskies (42-12, 21-10 CAA) redeemed themselves with a 6-0 win to start the CAA Championship on a high note Wednesday afternoon.

Northeastern brought out freshman right-hander Aiven Cabral to set the tone on the mound for the top of the first. After facing 19 batters and throwing 62 pitches through 6.1 innings, he walked off the mound, punching out three players and maintaining his 2.19 ERA.

Cabral’s first pitch hit sophomore left fielder Lucas Carmichael, but a double play prevented him from advancing to second. A strikeout sealed the third out of the inning.

The Huskies made it onto the board in the bottom of the second inning. The Tribe’s sophomore right-handed pitcher Nate Knowles started the inning by hitting senior designated hitter Alex Lane and walking freshman right fielder Cam Maldonado. 

Northeastern’s first base hit came from redshirt freshman left fielder Harrison Feinberg, whose single loaded the bases. Junior second baseman Luke Beckstein was credited with the RBI that sent Lane home, and redshirt senior shortstop Spenser Smith scored Maldonado on a single, ending the inning with a 2-0 Husky lead against the Tribe.

Graduate student first baseman Cole Ragone hit a triple at the start of the third for the Tribe — which would be the team’s only hit of the day — but another double play from the Huskies shut them down before Ragone could make it home.

Lane began a hot streak at the bottom of the inning with a single to left field. Maldonado was walked once again by Knowles, but Feinberg fouled out to end the third.

The pressure of the CAA tournament was starting to reflect on Knowles’ work, throwing three innings without a strikeout , and he was relieved by senior right-hander Tom Mayer for the bottom of the fourth. 

Despite the fresh pitcher, Beckstein broke through the right side with a single. A combination of a bunt from junior catcher Gregory Bozzo and a groundout from Smith placed Beckstein in scoring position on third. Sophomore center fielder Mike Sirota was credited the RBI for scoring Beckstein on his single, and though he was unable to make it home, the Huskies were still on top 3-0.

Cabral walked two players at the top of the fifth, and sophomore shortstop Luca Danos was hit by a pitch in the sixth, forcing the Huskies to retire him. 

Redshirt junior right-hander Jake Gigliotti then had a turn to face William & Mary. He remained on the mound for the rest of the game, throwing three strikeouts in 53 pitches to cement the win for the Huskies.

William & Mary senior third baseman Ben Williamson made a costly fielding error, setting off an explosive sixth inning for the Huskies. It positioned Smith on the bases, and Sirota’s double sent him home. 

Sirota scored when graduate student first baseman Tyler MacGregor singled to center field. Redshirt senior Danny Crossen’s single moved MacGregor up to third, and Lane earned the RBI that scored him. Walking off the diamond with a 6-0 lead, Northeastern continued to persevere.

Inning seven brought another pitcher for the Tribe, attempting to stop the runaway Huskies. Sophomore left-hander Nick Lottchea was next — he struck out Feinberg, but a wild pitch still gave Feinberg the chance to reach first. He was not a threat for long, though, getting caught in an attempt to steal a base, and Lottchea completed a swift, scoreless inning.

Gigliotti struck out his first two batters in the top of the eighth but walked the next two. Feinberg caught a fly out from Carmichael, keeping the Huskies unscathed.

In Northeastern’s last turn at bat in the bottom of the eighth, Sirota singled, making way for another scoring opportunity. He was left on second base at the close of the inning, but the Huskies came out on top regardless after three unsuccessful hits from the Tribe in the final inning.

The Huskies’ win advances them to face off against Elon University (32-20, 19-9 CAA), who they lost to in the regular season, on their road through the CAA Championship. But Wednesday’s win ensures that Huskies will continue to play at least two more contests in the double-elimination tournament.

Northeastern returns to Patriots Point tomorrow against the second-seeded Phoenix with the first pitch at 7 p.m.