by P.J. Wright
At last, spring is on its way back to Boston!
Jackets will turn into sweatshirts and then t-shirts; those colorful lawn chairs will once again occupy Centennial Common; frisbees will go back to infiltrating the airstream, and cups of coffee will convert into that of the iced variety – or at least the Dunkin’ double-cups will no longer be of service in order to keep your hands warm.
More importantly, however, Northeastern baseball will make its return to Parsons Field in 2016.
However, when the Huskies return home for the first time this year, they’ll already have 18 games under their belt.
While Northeastern students were out studying for midterms and readying for spring break, head coach Mike Glavine had his Huskies’ squad taking care of business on the road. NU kicked off the new season with a 6-5 record in out-of-conference play, a two-game improvement from their 4-7 starts in the 2014 and ‘15 campaigns.
We at WRBB understand that it’s not always easy to keep up with everything surrounding Husky baseball, so here’s a little recap of what you missed to get those juices pumpin’ before March 18’s home opener:
@ NO. 30 OKLAHOMA – Feb. 19-21 (4 games)
Feb. 19: W 3-2
Feb. 20: W 5-3, L 4-10
Feb. 21: L 4-13
The team traveled to Norman, Okla. to begin the new year, and the Huskies came out of the gates hot, defeating the 30th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, 3-2, in the first game of a four-game set. It was the program’s first ever victory against a Big-12 opponent.
Aaron Civale got the ball for Northeastern on opening day and went for 7.1 strong innings, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits and eight strikeouts, a career-high for the junior hurler. Junior outfielder Pat Madigan drove home the game-winning run on an RBI single in the top of the seventh to seal the victory, and sophomore shortstop Max Burt went 3-for-3 with a run scored.
In Game 2, NU got their second victory against a Big-12 opponent in a 5-3 triumph, their first 2-0 start to a season since 2010.
Burt led the team in hits again, going 2-for-5 and an RBI. Junior Dustin Hunt and freshman Andrew Misiaszek led the charge on the mound as they combined for eight strikeouts while tossing 4.2 and 4.1 innings, respectively.
Northeastern dropped the final two games of the series in 10-4 and 13-4 losses, as the Sooner hitters combined for 21 hits in Games 3 and 4 to salvage a series split.
@ ABILENE CHRISTIAN – Feb. 26-28 (4 games)
Feb. 26: W 3-2
Feb. 27: L 0-1, L 3-4
Feb. 28: W 4-3
After stealing a couple of wins against a very good Oklahoma club, the Huskies split their second series in a row in four straight low-scoring affairs, with neither team eclipsing four runs in any of them.
Civale shone again for Northeastern in another strong, durable outing. The junior completed eight solid innings of two-run ball in a 3-2 victory in which NU hitters could only muster four hits.
The Huskies dropped Games 2 and 3 in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader, each by just one run in two impressive opposing pitching performances.
ACU’s Garrett deMeyere went eight innings, allowing just three hits to NU in the first game. Aaron Mason threw six strong frames in the second, despite giving up Northeastern’s only round-tripper of the season thus far to Madigan.
NU finished the series with a 4-3 win, tallying eight hits in the fourth and final game of the set.
Second baseman Keith Kelly reached base for the eighth straight game with a 2-for-4 showing, and the bottom three in the order (Nolan Lang, Josh Treff, Max Burt) combined to drive in all four runs.
@ Fort Myers vs. Boston Red Sox – Feb. 29 (1 exhibition game)
Feb. 29: L 3-8
February’s exhibition contest between Northeastern and the Red Sox marked the 14th overall meeting between the two clubs and the 12th straight spring training matchup, dating back to 2004.
The Huskies lost to the Red Sox 8-3 in the seven-inning affair, shifting their record to 0-14 all-time against the professional ball club. However, the three runs were the most NU has ever scored against the Red Sox. Northeastern had tallied two runs on three separate occasions prior to this season.
(NOTE: Boston College is 0-24 vs. the Red Sox.)
Sophomore right-hander Brian Christian got the nod in Fort Myers and went for two innings, giving up four earned runs on three hits.
The Northeastern squad notched six hits off Red Sox pitchers on the afternoon, including a first-inning triple from redshirt senior catcher Josh Treff.
Treff was one of four NU hitters to go one-for-two, joining Cam Hanley, Charlie McConnell, and Nick Fanneron, who all recorded singles. Nolan Lang and Mike Piscopo each recorded hits in their only at-bats, and Piscopo also picked up a strikeout in his one inning on the hill.
RUSSMATT CENTRAL FLORIDA INVITATIONAL
CORNELL – March 5-6 (3 games)
March 5: W 6-0, L 5-7
March 6: W 11-0
Civale was masterful yet again in the first game of the March 5 doubleheader against the Big Red, going seven scoreless frames with only 5 hits allowed en route to this third win on the young season. NU improved to 3-0 in series-opening games this year.
Northeastern got off to a rocky start in Game 2 after allowing three runs in the first inning – a rare sloppy performance from Dustin Hunt on the mound, whose ERA was 1.13 going into the contest. He gave up five runs in five innings in this one, and the Huskies fell to Cornell 7-5.
Third baseman Nolan Lang had a good afternoon at the plate despite the loss, going 2-for-3 and reaching base on four of his five plate appearances.
The Huskies dominated in the rubber match of the three-game series in an 11-0 rout over the Big Red in seven innings.
15 Huskies came to the plate and eight players combined for Northeastern’s 10 hits. Second baseman Keith Kelly and third baseman Nolan Lang each went 2-for-3.
After two straight decisions that resulted in losses, senior James Mulry was brilliant, pitching six shutout innings and allowing just four Cornell baserunners.
UP NEXT: The Huskies travel to Pullman, Wash. to take on Washington State in a four game series, March 10-13.