The College Baseball Blog made the trip to Fenway Park to take in the Beanpot Tournament on Monday afternoon. The Championship game featured Northeastern University against the University of Massachusetts. Northeastern entered the weekend on a two game winning streak as they took the final two games in their series against Dallas Baptist while UMass entered the game after taking two out of three games against St. Louis.
Northeastern sent sophomore RHP Les Williams to the mound while UMass sent junior RHP Bryan Leigh to the hill.
The game would remain scoreless until the top of the third inning when Northeastern would score three runs. Matt Miller started the inning off with a double down the left field line. Next batter, Frank Compagnone hit a single to right field which was misplayed by UMass RF Mike Donato who never got down for the groundball in the outfield which got underneath his glove as it allowed Miller to score the first run and let Compagnone advance to second base. Compagnone would advance to third base on a passed ball by Tom Conley. Northeastern all-time hits leader Mike Tamsin would drive Compagnone home on a single back through the box to put the Huskies up 2-0. James Donaldson would follow with a double to left field to put runners on second and third with no outs. After a Frank Pessanello strike out for the first out of the inning, Tony DiCesare would hit a sacrifice fly to right field allowing Tamsin to score the third run of the inning and give the Huskies the 3-0 lead.
The offenses would stay quiet until the top of the 6th inning when with two outs Ryan Maguire dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line to get on first base. He would then steal second base and then come around to score on a Matt Miller single to center field to put the Huskies up 4-0. Northeastern would add another run in the seventh inning after a Tony DiCesare two out walk to set up runners on first and second with two outs. Donaldson who was on second base would score the fifth run of the day on a David Gustafson double to right field.
The UMass offense would stay quiet until the bottom of the ninth inning when they finally figured out the Northeastern pitching staff. UMass would put together four hits and take advantage of a Northeastern error which brought the score down to 5-3 and the Minutemen had the winning run at the plate but Dan Zehr was able to get the final out of the game to pick up the save.
Northeastern starter Les Williams picked up his first decision of the season to put him at 1-0 while UMass starting pitcher Bryan Leigh drops to 0-5 and Northeastern closer Dan Zehr picked up his third save of the season.
Northeastern Head Coach Neil McPhee stated the following about the victory and getting the chance for his squad to play at historic Fenway Park:
“The first thrill is to play on this field, there’s no question about that. 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.”
The biggest story of the day was freshman LHP Andrew Leenhouts who pitched 3.2 effective innings while striking out six batters. He ended up tiring in the ninth inning but had the most impressive day on the mound for Northeastern. Lennhouts seemed thrilled with his experiance on the day by saying the following:
“It’s amazing playing in this tournament, its amazing to be able to play on this field, knowing who else has been on that field. Actually having a crowd at some of our games, it’s been hard getting them up to Parsons, but getting them here, they love to come out for this.”
We should see how this victory is used as motivation for the Northeastern program the rest of the year as they have a game on Tuesday against Bryant University before having a few days off until they host Georgia State for a brief three game two day set.
Special thanks to Keith Lavon of Northeastern Media Relations for the photo.
The College Baseball Blog writer Nate Owen for contributing to this report.