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CBB Visit: Rhode Island at Northeastern

jtrossBROOKLINE MASS.- A lot of words could be used to describe Northeastern sophomore JT Ross’s pitching performance Monday.

Amazing. Dominating. Outstanding.

Or how about simply one of the best outings longtime NU head coach Neil McPhee has ever seen?
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my career 23 batters set down in a row, not that I knew it was happening until I was told,” McPhee said. “But that was as good a pitching performance as I’ll ever see or anyone will ever see.”

Ross (3-1, 3.69) struck out twelve batters and allowed just one base runner in a complete game, 12-1 win over Rhode Island at Friedman Diamond.

It was Northeastern’s first nine inning complete game since May 10, 2008, when junior Ryan Quigley went the distance against William & Mary. The one hit allowed was the fewest a Husky pitcher gave up since current St. Louis Cardinals prospect Adam Ottavino hurled a no-hitter April 7, 2006 against James Madison.

The Rams got their only run in the top of the second when sophomore Jeff Cammans lined a 1-2 pitch from Ross down the left field line for a double. Cammans stole third and scored on redshirt freshman Dan Haverstick’s ground out to third, giving the Rams a fleeting 1-0 lead.

“I remember the pitch,” Ross said of his lone blemish on the afternoon. “I think it was a changeup away and he just really got a good piece of the bat on it. No regrets or anything like that, he just did a nice job with that pitch.”
The Rams (24-13-1, 12-1 A-10) were without some of their key bats in the lineup, but that didn’t diminish Ross’s performance one bit. The southpaw came out dealing, tidily striking out the side in the first inning and consistently stayed ahead of hitters throughout the game, not allowing a base runner after Cammans’ double.

“I was throwing strikes with a lot of my pitches, which was key,” he said. “From the get go I was able to throw all my pitches over for strikes and I had real good defense.”

Northeastern (20-13, 6-6 CAA) quickly erased URI’s 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Sophomore Ryan Maguire slapped a one-out single down the left field line and junior Brendan Stokes was hit with a pitch. Senior Mike Tamsin then laced a shot off junior Dan Rossignol (1-1, 3.69) that bounced over the center field wall for a ground rule double, scoring Maguire and sending Stokes to third.

Senior James Donaldson crushed a towering shot on the first pitch he saw from Rossignol to give NU a 4-1 lead. Donaldson blasted his second home run of the game, a two run shot, in the eighth. It was his team leading seventh of the season.

“James Donaldson is on fire,” McPhee said. “James has come into his own this year. He hasn’t had any big slumps, he’s just been consistent. [It’s just been] his development and maturity. Scouts have been noticing, we’ve been getting some letters on him recently, so you never know.”

NU added a run in the fourth and five in the fifth to blow the game open, all coming with two outs. Sophomore Jeff Dunlap knocked an RBI single to deep short and advanced to second on an errant throw, which allowed Tamsin to score from second. Sophomore Devin Barry followed with an single to right to score Dunlap, and Maguire launched a two run home run to center to give the Huskies a 10-1 advantage. It was the first collegiate home run for Maguire, who finished the day 4-for-4 with two runs and three RBI, after driving home just two runs in 34 games last season.

“The coaches always stress see the fastball early in the count,” Maguire said of Northeastern’s aggressive approach at the plate. “They don’t like us going up there and looking at a first strike fastball. That’s been our philosophy all year to hit the first fastball we see that’s a strike.”

Rhode Island’s lone highlight came leading off the bottom of the sixth. Tamsin crushed the first pitch he saw from freshman Anthony Pasani to deep center, but sophomore Kenny Burns leaped over the fence and through the center field gate to rob Tamsin of a sure home run. Video of it is available by clicking here.

Northeastern resumes CAA play this weekend when Virginia Commonwealth visits Friedman Diamond. The opening game of the series is Friday at 2 p.m.

VCU and NU are currently tied for seventh in the conference.

“It’s a big weekend coming up,” Maguire said. “We need to get a sweep to get back in the tournament. Hopefully with a good week of practice and coming off this game we should be all set.”

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