BROOKLINE MASS.- In perhaps their most important CAA series of the season thus far, it was the veteran of the Northeastern’s pitching staff that gave the Huskies a chance to emerge with a winning weekend against Georgia State.
Senior Jeff Thomson pitched seven and a third brilliant innings in game two of a doubleheader Saturday at Friedman Diamond, helping the Huskies to a 4-1 win after they dropped the opening game 5-3.
The co-captain was consistently ahead of hitters and used his changeup to keep the Panthers off balance.
“The second game was clearly a big one for us,” NU head coach Neil McPhee said. “It gives us a chance to win the weekend again.”
Northeastern (19-13, 6-5 CAA) staked Thomson to a 3-0 lead in the fourth.
Mike Tamsin and James Donaldson singled off Will Palmer to begin the inning. Frank Pesanello sliced a double down the left field line to score Tamsin. Donaldson advanced to third and scored on a ground out by Brendan Stokes. David Gustafson capped the scoring with an RBI single to left.
NU added another run in the fifth when Matt Miller scored on a Tamsin sacrifice fly.
That would be all Thomson would need, as the righthander struck out seven while allowing just one run, a solo home run by Marc Mimeault to lead of the eighth. Thomson got Carl Moniz to ground out before allowing a pair of hits and giving way to Dan Zehr. Zehr gave up an infield hit to Nick Hogan but Derek Simmons grounded into a 5-3 double play to end the threat. The southpaw set the Panthers down in order in the ninth for his team leading fourth save of the year.
“Jeff Thomson was phenomenal and Danny Zehr was just lights out,” McPhee said. “Players cannot get good swings at anything the throws,” McPhee said of Zehr. “That’s just so key and he’s so tough and good under pressure.
In game one, the Panthers got a stellar pitching performance from Robinson Polanco, who pitched a complete game, while allowing three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts.
Ryan Quigley took the mound for Northeastern and settled down after a shaky first inning where he hit a batter and threw several wild pitches, allowing Georgia State to take a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies responded with three in the third.
Ryan Maguire reached on a one-out bunt single to start the rally.
“Ryan, he’s one of those guys you’ll put him in the game and he’ll fight his tail off to help you win and that’s what he’s doing,” McPhee said of Maguire, who has been the regular at short for the Huskies over the past several games with Sam Berg out of the lineup due to a severe bone bruise on his glove hand. He could be back in a week or so, according to McPhee.
Miller followed with a single of his own and Frank Compagnone lined a lined a double down the right field line to score Maguire. Tamsin followed with an RBI groundout and Donaldson singled to give the Huskies a 3-1 lead.
But Georgia State (24-14, 7-4) added a run in the sixth and three in the seventh to go ahead for good.
The two teams will meet in the series finale Sunday at 12:15 p.m. Les Williams (1-0, 3.60) will take the mound for Northeastern. He’ll be opposed by Ryan Moore (3-1, 4.65).