Strong pitching from Northeastern shuts down Pride in rubber match
The Hofstra University baseball team lost 3-0 to the Northeastern University Huskies in the rubber match game of a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) clash on Sunday afternoon at University Field.
Northeastern entered the game atop the CAA standings and boosted their conference record to 14-4 with a stellar pitching performance from sophomore Sean Mellen.
“He [Mellen] was able to keep throwing his changeup at will and we refused to keep swinging at it. He was really good, really tough,” said head coach John Russo.
Hofstra carried momentum from a 6-4 comeback victory over the Huskies on Saturday but were unable to get their bats going against Mellen and his challenging changeup. The Pride turned to freshman Brad Camarda.
The Huskies got all the runs they would need in the second inning after a leadoff double from Ryan Solomon and a single from Cam Walsh gave way to Mason Koppen’s sacrifice fly with runners on the corners.
Teddy Cillis relieved Camarda with a runner on second and two men out. A six-pitch walk led to an RBI single off the bat of Ian Fair to give Northeastern a 2-0 lead. The Huskies threatened to lengthen the lead but a run-saving web gem from right fielder Tyler White ended the inning.
Hofstra had their lone hit in the first inning off the bat of Vito Friscia but Mellen followed with a 1-2-3 second inning.
Cillis matched Mellen by mowing down the Huskies in order to start the third before Hofstra would strand a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the inning.
Both pitchers began to settle in after Cillis issued back-to-back two out walks in the fourth inning.
Mellen held Hofstra hitless again in the bottom of the fourth inning and sat them down in order for his second time in the fifth.
A leadoff single for the Huskies in the fifth was unable to mount any runs after three straight outs.
Northeastern struck again in the sixth inning after a leadoff walk, sacrifice bunt, and wild pitch put a runner on third. Koppen contributed his second RBI of the game with a base hit to left to stretch the Huskies’ lead to 3-0.
Hofstra was retired in order again to end the sixth inning as was Northeastern to begin the seventh. The Pride remained tamed in the bottom half of the seventh inning.
Cillis recorded the first two outs of the eighth inning before being relieved by Chris Weiss.
Cillis finished with six innings of work, allowing four hits and one run, while walking three batters and striking out five.
“Teddy was really good. He got us there until late and shortened Chris Weiss’s outing,” said head coach John Russo.
Weiss capped off the inning with a strikeout.
Northeastern made a call to the bullpen to start their half of the eighth inning as David Stiehl took the ball. Mellen allowed only one hit in seven innings and struck out nine Hofstra batters to be in line to pick up his tenth win of the season.
Stiehl recorded three straight outs after issuing a leadoff walk.
Weiss retired the side in the top of the ninth inning which gave the Pride one last chance to mount a three-run comeback with three outs remaining.
Northeastern closer Andrew Misiaszek closed the door on any hopes of a Hofstra victory with a 1-2-3 inning to end the game.
Hofstra was shutout for the fourth time this season after recording a season-low one hit.
“We just weren’t staying off that changeup and we had at-bat after at-bat popping up or out in front swinging at it,” Russo said.
The Pride welcome Monmouth University to town in a non-conference matchup at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.