Baseball: NU notches three wins

Baseball: NU notches three wins

By Nate Owen and Chris Estrada

A young Northeastern squad enjoyed another successful weekend, traveling to Towson (7-16 3-6 Colonial Athletic Association) and taking two out of three from the Tigers before finally making their home debut yesterday against Rhode Island, winning an exciting 11-inning affair.

Long after newly-inaugurated president Joseph Aoun sat in the Northeastern dugout for a few innings and left the ballpark yesterday, junior shortstop Mike Lyon helped the Huskies finally finish off Rhode Island (2-15, 0-3 Atlantic 10). His bloop single to center field in the bottom of the 11th inning scored senior catcher Dan Milano, giving them a 5-4 win.

Sophomore left-fielder Mike Tamsin got a one-out single in the Huskies’ half of the 11th, then sacrificed himself to break up a possible double play when Milano grounded to Rhode Island reliever Jamie Degidio. After a few pitches to Lyon, Milano stole second base and put himself in scoring position for his teammate.

“All I was thinking was we have first base open,” Lyon said. “And if I get on, my run’s gonna mean nothing, so [Degidio’s] probably gonna throw offspeed, even with a 3-1 count. He threw a curveball. Got a little on the outer half, didn’t get all of it, but just enough to get a hit and win the ball game for us.”

Freshman Ryan Quigley came in for junior starter Bobby Carrington (7 2/3 innings, 6 strikeouts, 3 walks) with one out in the eighth inning and successfully got the Huskies out of the frame. After pitching the ninth and 10th innings, Quigley handed the ball over to Dan Zehr. (1-1 3.18) The sophomore allowed runners to go on first and second with one out, but he induced a pop fly and a strike out to escape.

“It ended up being a tough one, but we went in going, thinking, that it was going to be tough,” Zehr said. “I just knew that I had to try and hold them [in the 11th] and give our team another chance to score.”

In his second start of the season, Carrington pitched a solid game – save for his fourth inning. With a 3-0 lead that had been built by Milano (a two-run home run in the first) and Tamsin (an RBI single in the third), the junior right-hander was shelled for four runs to give the Rams a 4-3 lead. But in the sixth inning, the Huskies tied it up at 4-4 with a solo homer from junior first baseman Josh Porter, his second home run of the year.

“I thought it was a very good midweek game for both teams,” said manager Neil McPhee. “It looked like we were both equal and a lot of times, midweek games have a down time because it’s human nature. It’s non-conference.”

Junior pitcher Jamie Degidio (0-2 4.82) took the loss for URI.

Last weekend at Towson, the dimensions of 312 feet to left field, 365 to dead center, and 301 to right in Towson’s John B. Schuerholz Baseball Complex offered the perfect setting for an offense showdown.

The Tigers and NU delivered, scoring a combined 54 runs in the three-game set while batting an eye-popping .341 with a combined 13 home runs. Friday’s game was rained out, resulting in a double-header scheduled for Saturday, which the Huskies swept, taking game one 12-10 and game two 10-4.

Towson jumped on sophomore Jeff Thomson (2-1 4.79) in game one, tagging the righty for eleven hits and six runs in four innings of work.

After starting the season in the rotation, sophomore Trevor Smith made his season debut out of the bullpen in relief of Thomson.

Despite shifting back to the bullpen, where he made 19 of his school record 23 appearances last season, Smith’s struggles continued as he allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings of work.

“We’ve essentially put Trevor back into the role that he was last year and

again even this weekend he did not establish his 90-plus fastball early,” said McPhee. “We’ve talked about it – he’s definitely very, very aware of it.”

McPhee said Smith is still developing as a pitcher and “nobody is suggesting or even thinking remotely that he isn’t what we think he is. He’s very talented, very smart and very competitive out there.”

Despite the rough outing, Smith (2-2, 6.97) was able to notch the win as NU erased a 10-9 deficit with three runs in the top of the ninth.

Sophomore first baseman Frank Pesanello doubled home Milano to tie the game. NU would net a pair of runs on an error by sophomore second baseman Gary Helmick, giving them a 12-10 lead.

Quigley slammed the door shut for his second save of the season. Towson senior Tyler Travis (1-3 4.82) was tagged with the loss.

Redshirt freshman center fielder David Gustafson went 2-5 with five RBIs, three of them courtesy of a three-run blast in the sixth. Lyon was 2-5 with a home run and two RBIs and Pesanello went 3-4 with three runs and two RBI.

Game two saw Northeastern ace Kris Dabrowiecki go six innings, allowing only one run on four hits. The junior ran his record to a perfect 3-0 while maintaining his CAA-leading ERA at 1.40.

The Huskies wasted little time getting on the board. Gustafson drew a one-out walk in the top of the first. Tamsin then took freshman Zach Umberger (0-3, 10.89) deep for his first home run of the season.

Pesanello slammed the first of his two home runs on the game leading off the second inning and finished with three RBIs. Milano went 3-5 with a pair of RBIs while Tamsin was 3-4 for three RBIs .

Sunday’s game saw freshman Sheldon McDonald (0-2, 9.00) take the hill for his first start since March 7, and struggle, allowing eight runs in 5 1/3 innings.

NU closed the gap to 10-8 on a solo home run by Gustafson in the ninth, but Towson held on as junior Jon Dupski (2-2 ,9.37) picked up the win.

Tamsin hit his second home run of the season while Lyon had two RBI and hit his team-leading sixth home run, setting a career-high just 13 games into the season.

Northeastern (8-6, 4-4 CAA) will host conference leader Old Dominion (19-11, 7-2) and reigning CAA Pitcher of the Week, junior Ryan Bergh (3-4, 3.94) for a three-game series Friday (3 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (12 noon) in Brookline. Probable starters for the Huskies are Dabrowiecki, Thompson and McDonald.

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