BROOKLINE MASS.- Northeastern is playing some of its most complete baseball entering the final month of the season. But in Monday’s 6-4 loss against Connecticut, it was some basic mistakes that prevented NU from emerging victorious.
“The kinds of mistakes we are making are the simplest [kind],” Northeastern head coach Neil McPhee said. “The catch and throw type mistakes, base running mistakes, not knowing your situation, things of that nature. The good news is that we’re playing the best baseball we have all year.”
After an hour delay due to a miscommunication by the umpire crew, Connecticut added a run in the first two innings thanks to an RBI single by freshman George Springer and a sacrifice fly by freshman Nick Ahmed.
Senior Frank Pesanello’s RBI single to deep short gave NU its first run in the fourth, but Connecticut pushed its lead to 3-1 in the fifth when sophomore JT Ross’s errant pick off throw sailed to the fence and allowed Springer to score.
After a one hit, 12 strikeout complete game last Monday against Rhode Island Ross turned in another solid performance. The CAA Pitcher of the Week threw six and two-thirds inning, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits.
In the seventh, Spring was again allowed to advance thanks to an botched pick off play. Ross had him picked off, but senior Mike Tamsin lost the ball during the transfer, allowing Springer to reach second.
That came back to haunt NU, as junior Peter Fatse’s RBI single scored Springer to give Connecticut a 4-2 lead after senior James Donaldson singled home NU’s second run in the sixth.
But Connecticut’s lead was short lived as Northeastern tallied two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie it at 4.
Junior David Gustafson’s one-out triple in the right center gap knocked freshman Dave Fischer (six and a third innings, three earned runs) out of the game.
Freshman Sam Oberg came in and promptly walked sophomore Ryan Maguire on four straight pitches. Freshman Sam Berg knocked a sacrifice fly to left to score Gustafson and advance Maguire to second.
Redshirt freshman Matt Miller sliced a liner to left center, scoring Maguire, but a strong throw by Fatse gunned out Miller at third for the final out of the inning.
Connecticut (23-20, 8-10) added two runs in the top of the ninth off senior Russ Lloyd (1-2, 2.16) to go ahead for good. Junior Dusty Odenbach (1-2, 2.74) grabbed the win, while senior David Erickson recorded his sixth save of the season.
Despite the loss, McPhee is starting to see things come together for Northeastern (22-16, 8-7).
“We’re hitting the ball well right now, everybody is chipping in,” he said. “We’ve been playing solid defense for the most part- I don’t consider bad defense when the ball is in your glove and you drop it. That’s a human error, a lack of concentration. We can eliminate that in a heartbeat and we’ve got to do that. We’ve been making mistakes and winning games and today we didn’t and we should have.”
Sophomore Brandon McNelis (0-0 9.82) will face Harvard (12-28, 10-10) in his first career start today at 3:30 in Cambridge.