Baseball: Huskies down Dallas

By Nate Owen, News Staff

It was Dallas Baptist, not Northeastern, that entered the’ weekend series with an eye-gouging .346 team batting average and 56 home runs in 29 games.
But once more, the Husky pitching staff was able to keep their opponent at bay, enabling them to win their third straight weekend series.
‘Again, it was the pitching,’ head coach Neil McPhee said of the series.
A six-run sixth inning helped the Huskies avoid a sweep in Friday’s doubleheader with the Patriots. Senior third baseman Mike Tamsin (2-for-5) started the inning with a single and eventually scored on a single by senior catcher and co-captain Frank Pesanello. Junior first baseman Brendan Stokes, freshman shortstop Sam Berg and redshirt freshman right fielder Matt Miller (3-for-4) each drove home runs, but the big blow of the inning was junior center fielder David Gustafson’s two run double off the left field wall, which pushed Northeastern’s lead to 7-1.
Dallas Baptist (22-10) added two runs in the sixth and the seventh innings off senior co-captain Jeff Thomson (6 2/3 innings, five runs) but senior Dan Zehr struck out catcher Brandon Brantz with a runner on third to end the inning. Zehr shut down the Patriots for the final two innings, picking up his second save of the season in the 7-5 win and securing McPhee’s 600th career win as Northeastern head coach, the most of any coach in any sport at Northeastern.
‘Danny Zehr was the key to the second game, he struck out four of the six batters he faced,’ McPhee said. ‘He’s a huge reason why we’ve been able to hold the lead in games.’
Michael LaCourse (1-1, 6.33) surrendered three runs in his 2/3 inning to pick up the loss. Thomson (4-3, 5.31) earned his third straight win in as many starts.
Northeastern was able to bounce back from game one, which saw the Patriots pound out 11 combined runs in the sixth and seventh innings to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 12-2 advantage. Junior Ryan Quigley (2-3, 5.40) gave up a first inning home run to third baseman Travis Meiners (2-for-4). But NU scratched across two runs in the fourth and sixth innings, as each time Tamsin (2-for-4) was driven home on single by junior left fielder Frank Compagnone (2-for-4).
But the Patriots poured on 11 unanswered runs off Quigley (6 1/3 innings, 11 runs) and sophomore Brandon McNelis. Ryan Millard (4-2, 4.42) scattered eight hits and two runs over his seven innings of work to pick up the win.
‘Ryan Quigley pitched very well for the first six innings. They were probably the best six innings he pitched all year,’ McPhee said. ‘He just couldn’t stop the bleeding.’
Senior Trevor Smith took the mound for the Huskies in the series finale Saturday in just his third start of the season and first since March 7 in an 11-8 loss to Ohio State.
Smith gave up 10 hits, but held the Patriots to four runs over eight innings in his longest outing of the season.
‘Trevor Smith was absolutely dominating,’ McPhee said. ‘Right now he’s absolutely our number one starter in terms of the way he’s performed.’
The Huskies scored four runs in the top of the sixth to extend their 3-2 lead. Victor Black hit sophomore shortstop Ryan Maguire to force in a run and Miller reached on an error by first baseman Trevor Head, allowing another run to cross the plate. Compagnone (2-for-5) then lined a two run single to center field to give the Huskies a 7-2 lead. Smith allowed two-more runs in the eighth to close the gap to 7-4, but senior Russ Lloyd was able to pitch around two walks in the ninth for his second save of the season and allowed the Huskies to win the weekend after dropping the first game.
‘I think it’s real big,’ Thomson said of winning the weekend. ‘It showed that even if we lose the first game of the series, we can come back and win the series.’
The series also saw junior outfielder Tony DiCesare make his season debut after missing the first part of the season with a back disc injury. He pinch hit in Friday’s first game before starting the final two games at left field and designated hitter, respectively.
‘We’re going to try and keep Tony in there until he gets his baseball timing back,’ McPhee said. ‘He struggled with the bat, but both he and Comp [Compagnone] are coming back from injuries. It took Comp one weekend to come back, but he was the key to this weekend.’
The news wasn’t as positive for junior Charly Bashara, who was a valuable bullpen and midweek starter for NU before leaving his start at BC on March 31 with an elbow injury.
‘ McPhee said Bashara will be looked at again today.
‘We’re very concerned about Charly,’ McPhee said, adding that an x-ray on his elbow didn’t find a tear, but that it is most likely tendinitis and would require rest. McPhee said Maguire, who went 1-for-3 and turned in some nice defensive plays at short in the series finale, threw a simulated game this weekend and could see some action out of the bullpen.
Smith (2-1, 3.12) picked up the win, while Black (5-2, 3.19) got the loss, allowing nine hits and five runs, two of which were earned, in his 5 1/3 innings of work.
Smith is making a case to get another start this weekend against Georgia State, McPhee said, but that is still up in the air, depending on how sophomore Les Williams feels after his start today against Massachusetts.
NU will face the Minuteman (10-18, 4-8 Atlantic-10) at 5:05 in the championship game of the Beanpot at Fenway Park. Williams (0-0, 4.20) will be on the mound for NU. Tuesday, the Huskies will return to Friedman Diamond when they host Bryant (25-10). Sophomore JT Ross (2-0, 3.24) and freshman Andrew Leenhouts (0-1, 1.32) are the candidates to take the hill. Should Leenhouts start, it would be promising youngster’s first start of his collegiate career.
‘We want Drew to get some more innings,’ McPhee said. ‘He hasn’t been able to extend himself. He’s got such talent and so much potential in the future, not only with us, but beyond us, that we need to get him on the mound.’

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