The loss means that Harvard (7-19, 5-3 Ivy) will play in the consolation game of the Beanpot Tournament next Monday at Fenway Park.
Harvard banged out 11 hits, but none of its three pitchers—sophomore Anthony Nutter, senior Ryan Watson, and sophomore Zach Hofeld—could cool the Huskies’ hot bats.
“We keep coming out hard every day, but there’s just not much you can do when a team puts 17 hits on you,” captain Harry Douglas said.
Star Mike Tamsin, who Crimson coach Joe Walsh has called one of the best in New England, paced Northeastern with a 3-for-5 day that included a walk, a home run, and four runs scored.
Nutter started the game and struggled through four-plus innings of work, surrendering 10 runs (nine earned) on 12 hits.
The biggest blow he sustained was a three-run jack by Northeastern’s Frank Pesanello (five RBI), whose bomb to left landed just inside of the foul pole to put the Huskies up 6-3.
The game stood in stark contrast to last year’s semifinal game, in which Nutter also got the start.
The then-freshman allowed just three runs in seven strong innings of work, but got nothing from his teammates at the plate as Harvard dropped a 3-0 decision.
Fast-forward to this year’s Beanpot opener, and the bats have come around. Nutter, though, was missing his best stuff.
Things went from bad to worse for the Crimson in the bottom of the fifth, when Watson failed to provide much relief after inheriting two runners from Nutter. David Gustavson and Tamsin greeted him with back-to-back run-scoring hits, and Watson came unglued—a balk, wild pitch, walk, and consecutive singles followed before Walsh called for Hofeld with the score 14-4.
Harvard’s defense did not particularly help the floundering pitching staff, commiting two errors in the difficult contest.
The game started in promising fashion for the Crimson, with sophomore leadoff man Dillon O’Neill and senior Taylor Meehan reaching base on a single and walk, respectively.
Douglas followed with an RBI double, and red-hot senior Tom Stack-Babich plated two with a double of his own. Harvard’s offense seemed to be churning again, with Douglas finishing 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good at the plate,” Douglas said, “but I just want to get some wins right now.”
The captain would not get his wish, as the Huskies lineup jumped on Nutter its first time up to tie the score at three—a start that suggested the Crimson was in for another long day. To make matters worse, Northeastern starter JT Ross settled down nicely after his rocky start and went eight frames for his second win in three starts.
Stack-Babich, fellow-senior Jon Roberts, and freshman Jeff Reynolds all collected two hits for Harvard, but the Crimson never managed to strike with its go-to weapon—the longball. Whereas the Huskies sent four shots over the fence, Walsh’s squad could not seriously rattle Ross.
Hofeld put together the only reasonable pitching line for Harvard, allowing two runs and striking out three batters in 3.2 innings of work.
The sophomore represented one of the few options Walsh had after a grueling four-game weekend set that included a 17-inning win Sunday afternoon, and a tired and depleted Crimson squad arrived in Brockton yesterday.
Senior Matt Rogers, who along with Douglas and Stack-Babich has paced the offense of late, missed the game for a class. While the offense missed Rogers, Walsh was most in a bind for pitching.
“[Monday] night, I didn’t know how many guys I was going to have,” Walsh said. “I was just making sure we had enough pitching to get through the day.”
Ross’ eight innings meant Northeastern didn’t have to patch anything together.
The Huskies’ Drew Leenhouts, who Walsh predicted would be “playing in the big leagues some day,” struck out the side in the ninth, giving him 20 punchouts in 13.2 innings this season.
Harvard continues non-conference play this afternoon at Bryant College. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 in Smithfield, R.I.
—Staff writer Emily W. Cunningham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.