Column: A must see at NU

Column: A must see at NU

Here’s something new. It is actually exciting to go to Friedman Diamond. It is worthy of a T trip to Brookline that requires you to transfer near the Public Garden. It is necessary – if you call yourself a Northeastern Husky fan – to get involved with the baseball team.

Here’s why.

He’s 6 feet 5 inches tall, 215 pounds and a Brooklyn native. He’s a fireballer, a 30th round 2003 MLB draft pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and has a confident, smooth approach to his work on the mound.

Adam Ottavino is the ace of the Northeastern Huskies and, among many other accomplishments ignored by the Huntington Avenue community, has thrown a nine-inning no-hitter.

That display of athletic finesse came April 7 against James Madison in a 3-1 victory for NU. The baseball team always falls under the radar, but hopefully Ottavino, at least, has permanently changed his own status after that masterpiece.

In nine innings, he walked three batters while striking out a career-high 14. However, it’s what he did in the ninth inning that really proves just how ready he was for something historic. Ottavino blew away the first two James Madison batters swinging and then induced a pop out to third base to end the contest.

Just the eighth no-hitter in Northeastern history, it was the first since Greg Montalbano’s on March 20, 1999 and the first nine-inning no-hitter since Joe Killelea’s performance against MIT on May 3, 1985.

Previously in his Husky career, Ottavino suffered from the Pedro Martinez Run Support Disease – that is, his teammates rarely scored much on his days on the hill. For example, on March 7, he was more than prepared for the nationally top-ranked Georgia Tech and held the Yellow Hornets to just two hits, but the Huskies lost, 2-1.

He had a 1-4 record his freshman year, but two of his losses came with scores of 1-0. Sophomore year, he became the ace of the staff and posted impressive numbers of 8-4 and 3.09, but his teammates still managed to put him under the same Dominican-like spell. In four and a third innings of work against Northwestern Feb. 26, he gave up only one run, but his team did little to help him in a 7-1 loss.

Then, against Holy Cross on March 26, he struck out 11 batters in eight innings and still lost, 2-1.

Growing by leaps and bounds, last year he had arguably one of the greatest pitching seasons in the long history of NU baseball. His 6-0 record and minuscule 1.96 ERA in the America East raised many eyebrows. Moreover, he added more substance to his title as The Strikeout King of Northeastern with 106 during the season, a school record.

As of late, it seems Ottavino’s national presence is elevating right in front of us. On April 21, there was a special visitor at Friedman for one of Ottavino’s most magnetic performances of the season. Revered Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein watched Ottavino strike out a career-high 16 William ‘ Mary batters while setting the NU career strikeout record of 257 in the process.

His 96 mile-per-hour heat just got that much more valuable.

Ottavino is, quite simply, a true treat for those who love the game of baseball. Would be a true treat, however, is unfortunately a more appropriate way to put it.

It’s too easy to find excuses to ignore the exploits of this talented team. College baseball just doesn’t do it for the average American sports fan. The elite teams are hardly covered by the national media and will seemingly never draw the same sort of support given to the heavyweights of collegiate sports – football and basketball.

But that’s exactly why you should stop in your tracks and reevaluate your dedication to athletic competition. Bostonians typically like to assert their proud city as the premier location for baseball. Students from as far as California and even internationally like to join in on the fun, buying Red Sox hats and snagging tickets off scalpers on Yawkey Way.

Is everyone truly a baseball fan, though? Because if you are truly a fan of the sport, it would be mind-boggling to think you would pass up a free opportunity to watch baseball athletes as talented as those playing in the Colonial Athletic Association on Friedman Diamond.

Ottavino just so happens to be one of the best examples of this, and most of us are guilty of ignoring him.

Epstein isn’t ignoring him and neither are the rest of Major League Baseball’s talent evaluators. Maybe you’re forgetting about the kind of playing ability that exists in Division 1 baseball and Ottavino’s already comfortable spot in Northeastern athletic history.

Now it’s your turn to do something historic. Navigate your way to Friedman Diamond and see him pitch.

– Jeff Powalisz can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Reply