Huskies win baseball Beanpot at Fenway Park

By By Nate Owen, News Staff

On perhaps the biggest stage of his young career, southpaw Andrew Leenhouts came out firing.
The freshman came in relief of sophomore Les Williams and fit the mound at Fenway Park perfectly, striking out four of the first six batters he faced and six overall in his three and two-thirds innings of work. The Huskies went on to win 5-3 over Massachusetts in the Beanpot Championship Monday.
‘It’s pretty nerve racking, the celebration was great,’ said Leenhouts, a Franklin native and Red Sox fan. ‘I know a lot of a seniors really wanted this, so it’s good for them.’
After three dominating innings, Leenhouts ran into some trouble in the ninth, though some of it was out of his hands.
Leading 5-0, he hit UMass catcher Tom Conley with a pitch to start the inning. Then shortstop Matt Gedman singled through the right side. Left fielder Kyle Multner reached on an error by junior first baseman Brendan Stokes, who threw to second to try and force Gedman but instead plunked Gedman in the back, allowing him to get to second and load the bases for third baseman Sam Boone.
Boone grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, which brought home Conley from third to make it 5-1. UMass (10-19, 4-8 Atlantic 10) added on another unearned run before senior Dan Zehr replaced Leenhouts. Zehr gave up an infield hit to designated hitter Jim MacDonald to make it 5-3, but pinch hitter Mike Gedman grounded out to end the game, leaving two men on base and giving Zehr his third save of the season.
‘That last inning, it obviously got a little hairy there,’ head coach Neil McPhee said. ‘We brought in Danny Zehr who did a good job again. Our two pitchers before, Les and our freshman Drew were absolutely outstanding.’
Williams (1-0, 3.60) not only picked up his first win of the season, but his first decision of the year, going five innings while allowing four hits and striking out five.
‘It’s a big one to get,’ Williams said of his first win. ‘Eight tries and my first one at Fenway.’
Northeastern struck first in the third inning. Redshirt freshman right fielder Matt Miller (3-for-5) led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Junior left fielder Frank Compagnone (2-for-5) singled and advanced to second on an error by right fielder Mike Donato, which enabled Miller to score. An RBI single by senior third baseman Mike Tamsin gave NU a 2-0 lead and junior DH Tony DiCesare sacrifice fly scored Tamsin, who had advanced to third on a double by junior second baseman James Madison.
The Huskies added a run in the sixth when Miller’s bloop single scored sophomore shortstop Ryan Maguire and another in the seventh when junior center fielder David Gustafson (2-for-4) doubled home Miller to give NU a 5-0 lead.
It was the Huskies’ (18-11, 5-4 Colonial Athletic Association) second Beanpot win in the last three seasons and fifth overall in the baseball tournament’s 20 years.
The excitement of playing at one of basesball’s most historic ballparks wasn’t lost on McPhee.
‘The first thrill is to play on this field, there’s no question about that’ he said.’ ‘It’s a lifetime moment for every kid that can step on this field and then to win it, it’s obviously icing on the cake. It’s a huge, huge perk to this program and the four teams that can come on this field and live their dream.’
For Leenhouts, the game gave him a chance to step onto the historic mound after years of watching Red Sox games from the stands.
‘It’s amazing, I couldn’t imagine pitching in front of a full crowd. Being here on this field, I’ve watched games from over there, games from over there,’ he said, gazing around the empty post-game stadium. ‘I’ve been all around the stadium but never on the mound.’

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