Baseball leads off spring season

Baseball leads off spring season

By Erika Carrubba

FORT MYERS, FLA. – Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Derrek Lee and Albert Pujols have all hit home runs off Boston Red Sox pitcher and 2005 MLB All-Star Matt Clement.

And now, Northeastern senior Chris Emanuele can add his name to the list.

Clement gave up only 21 home runs last season, but surrendered one to the Huskies’ centerfielder on the third pitch of the Red Sox-Huskies exhibition match-up on March 3.

On a 0-2 count, Emanuele lifted the hanging curve ball over the left field wall, but the 1-0 lead was short-lived as the Red Sox beat the Huskies 9-2.

“It felt great: unexpected, I guess,” Emanuele said. “I knew when I hit it that it was hit well. I guess I knew it was gone.”

Junior Adam Ottovino started the game for the Huskies and allowed hits to Tony Graffanino and J.T. Snow, but stranded them by striking out outfielders Dustin Mohr and David Murphy to end the inning. Ottovino, last year’s America East Pitcher of the Year, only pitched one inning, combining with five other Northeastern pitchers for the game.

“I don’t prepare any differently for this game,” Ottovino said. “I am just trying to set up my routine for the season. Just don’t try and make the perfect pitch every time because it is just a scrimmage. Throw strikes and if they hit it, they hit it. They are big league hitters.”

In the second inning, the Red Sox tagged junior Dave Pellegrine for seven runs in less than one inning. Pellegrine was relieved by sophomore Kris Dabrowiecki who gave up the last two runs the Huskies allowed. Redshirt freshmen Trevor Smith and Aaron Greenblatt and sophomore Mitch Duggins combined for three scoreless innings to end the game.

“Everyone went one inning because it’s more important to do well in real games,” Ottovino said. “I don’t pitch again for a few days, but I want to be as fresh as can for that game.”

Northeastern’s second and final run came in the third inning. Senior second baseman Brian Nutting singled through the left side and moved to second on a single by freshman third baseman James Donaldson. A wild pitch by David Pauley advanced the runners, and senior shortstop Arman Sidhu singled to bring home Nutting. Freshman first baseman Mike Tamsin had the other two hits for the Huskies.

“We just come out wanting to have fun and get our swings in and don’t go down looking,” Emanuele said. “When you’re playing major leaguers, you don’t expect to win. Just come out and have fun, it’s the dream of a lifetime. Just enjoy it.”

The Red Sox faced Northeastern in the second game of a college double-header. They beat Boston College earlier 10-0 with Curt Schilling on the mound. Many of the Red Sox in action against NU were non-roster invitees to training camp. Outfielder Coco Crisp, newly acquired from Cleveland, along with Graffanino, Snow and Clement were some recognizable major leaguers who played in the exhibition.

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