By Matt Noonan
BROOKLINE, MA – Things appeared bleak for the Northeastern University baseball team on Tuesday.
Facing a four-run deficit heading into their final offensive frame, the Huskies bats came alive to produce five unanswered runs, which helped them sneak past Boston College, 12-11.
“We have had a number of games where we have scored runs late, we’ve comeback, scored runs early, scored in all parts of the game, and that’s a great sign to come out of the gate hot or to comeback and have big innings late in the game,” said Northeastern head coach Neil McPhee. “We’re scoring [in] every inning – every part of the game, so that’s a great sign for us.”
Northeastern junior John Puttress tied the game with an RBI double, and then recorded the game-winning run – three batters later- when he raced across home plate following a wild pitch by Boston College junior Kyle Prohovich, which prompted a victory celebration on Friedman Diamond.
“[I’ve] just been sticking with the same approach, and I knew [Prohovich] was going to come at me, so I just waited for a fastball, made sure I hit [it and] put a good swing on it,” Puttress said of his game-tying hit.
“Starting in Jacksonville, there were a couple of times where I came up with runners on base, and I just happened to hit the ball hard, and good things happen, so it’s just been building confidence ever since then,” added Puttress. “I know that the pitcher’s going to have to challenge me, and I just know what I have to do.”
Freshman Alex McKeon helped Northeastern earn an early one-run advantage in the bottom of the second before Boston College’s offense beat-up sophomore Matt Cook, who yielded seven runs on five hits in the top of the third.
“My control was just not there, and some pitches I thought were close to the strike zone than the umpire did, and you can’t point fingers in that situation,” said Cook. “I did not throw well, I didn’t throw enough strikes, and they just hit the ball hard and where players weren’t, so that’s what happens against a good team when you don’t have your control and don’t have your best stuff.”
Northeastern responded in the bottom of that same inning with four runs to make the score, 7-5, and then combined for a pair in the fifth and sixth frames, but that didn’t halt Boston College’s offense from tacking on an additional four more runs, as senior Andrew Lawrence, juniors Rob Moir and Matt Paré , and freshman John Gorman all touched the dish.
Boston College never recorded a run following the fifth inning, as Northeastern held the Eagles offense to one hit, and four stranded runners before senior Matt Milner, juniors Jon Leroux and Pete Castoldi, freshman Jason Vosler and Puttress each recorded a run to help the Huskies rally in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
“We’ve had a couple of those taken away from us recently, and it’s nice to get one ourselves,” said McPhee. “You win a game in the bottom of the ninth, especially coming back from that much down is a huge win, it’s just another big step forward for the season and for the program.”
“We’ve been coming back all year. We’re one of the better hitting teams in the conference, [and] I had no doubt that we would have a chance to win this game at the end,” said Puttress.
Northeastern is now 12-7 overall this season, and will attempt to capture three critical victories this weekend when they host Virginia Commonwealth for a weekend series, while Boston College will look to snap their two-game losing streak on Wednesday against Bryant University.