Baseball: Losing streak reaches double-digits for NU

Baseball: Losing streak reaches double-digits for NU

The baseball team’s losing streak reached 10 games as the Huskies were swept at home by Hofstra over the weekend and lost to Rhode Island at home yesterday. NU gets a week off before facing Harvard at home Tuesday, then travels to Brockton to face UMass–Amherst in the first round of the Beanpot Tournament Wednesday night.
By: Anthony Gulizia, News Correspondent

In the midst of a six-game losing streak, the woes continued for the baseball team this weekend as it dropped a three-game set to Hofstra, including a tough 12-inning battle Saturday afternoon. NU also dropped a 15-5 decision to Rhode Island yesterday, bringing the losing streak to 10 games. The Huskies slid to 0-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association, with an overall record of 6-13.

“It’s been a two-week nightmare, there’s no doubt about that,” head coach Neil McPhee said. “When you get into losing streaks like this, they tend to have a life of their own just like winning streaks have a life of their own. We’re finding ways to lose baseball games, and that’s what happens when you’re in one of these horrible streaks that we’re going through. We don’t know that it’s going to turn around immediately, but it will turn around.”

Perhaps the most painful loss of the streak came Saturday afternoon, as the Huskies fell to the Pride 9-6 in a game that required three extra frames after the Huskies surrendered a ninth inning lead for the third time during the past nine games. The Huskies banged out six runs off of 17 hits, but this would not be enough to quiet the surging Hofstra offense.

Compliments of a towering home run by senior right fielder Tony DiCesare, a double by senior left fielder David Gustafson which turned into an inside-the-park home run, and a home run from sophomore first baseman Matt Miller, the Huskies carried a 5-3 lead into the ninth. The Pride tacked on two runs in the bottom of ninth to force extra innings, where the two teams traded runs in the 11th. The game-deciding blow came in the top of the 12th, as Hofstra second baseman Matt Prokopowicz stroked a three-run home run off of senior reliever Dan Zehr.

Friday afternoon, the Pride jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, which began with the leadoff batter Prokopowicz reaching on catcher’s interference, and ended with a base clearing double by Hofstra first baseman Ethan Paquette, who eventually scored on a double steal.

Huskies senior right-hander Les Williams settled in nicely after the opening frame, giving up just four hits and no runs before being relieved by Zehr in the seventh. The Huskies responded with a run in both the seventh and eighth innings, but could not muster enough offense and fell to Hofstra 5-2.

The series concluded with a 6-1 loss Sunday, a game in which the Huskies scraped across just four hits.

“Les and Drew, without having their best games, still pitched well enough for us to win,” McPhee said. “It’s frustrating in the sense when you’re in the middle of this, you just can’t catch a break at the right time when you need one. But we’re going through this nightmare together, and this is what I’ve told the team. I’m susceptible to mistakes as well and it’s something that goes through the whole team from the coaching staff to the players. But being in the game as long as I’ve been it, this is baseball and we look ourselves in the mirror and say how do we get out of this, and we will get out of this.”

Although their record may indicate otherwise, the Huskies have received significant production from veterans like DiCesare, hitting .366, senior outfielder Frank Compagnone, hitting .371, and Miller, hitting .360.

DiCesare is having a remarkable season McPhee said.

“Tony is having a career year,” McPhee said. “Saturdays game was down to one pitch, one strike, and Tony hits a two-out bomb triple that tied it up again. He has been the one guy in the lineup that is truly carrying the team when we need to be carried.”

On the other end of the spectrum, McPhee said he is receiving valiant efforts from his freshman ball players, however they are doing their fair share of learning how to play the game at the collegiate level.

“We are clearly going through growing pains, especially with the younger players,” McPhee said. “The game is played at a much faster level defensively, and that is causing us problems. But what the freshman players have shown on the field to this point, we have got to allow them to play through this and their talent level has shown us they are ready to play Division I baseball.”

Freshman third baseman Logan Gillis said all it takes is the complete combination of good hitting and good pitching for a victory.

“We’re going through a difficult stretch right now, and we need that one game where we play to win from the first pitch to the last pitch,” Gillis said. “Once we get that first win back under our belt, we’ll be on a roll.”

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