Northeastern won its fifth Baseball Beanpot championship on Monday, and second in the past three years, beating UMass, 5-3, at historic Fenway Park.
“The first thrill is to play on this field, there’s no question about that,” said manager Neil McPhee. “It’s a lifetime moment for every kid that can step on this field and then to win it, it’s obviously icing on the cake. It’s a huge, huge perk to this program and the four teams that can come on this field and live their dream.”
The Huskies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning, stringing together four hits in a row, including a leadoff double by outfielder Matt Miller who scored on a single by outfielder Frank Compagnone.
Northeastern added single runs in top of the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, the Huskies played some small ball. Infielder Ryan Maguire bunted for a hit, stole second base and scored on a single by Miller.
“Miller’s been a hit machine all year long,” McPhee said. “He’s an on-base machine, he never strikes out.”
In the seventh, Northeastern again used its speed to manufacture a run. Second-baseman James Donaldson stole second base after a one-out walk and scored on a double by outfielder David Gustafson.
UMass was held scoreless until the bottom of the ninth inning when they scored three runs on four hits and benefited from a hit batsman and an error by the Huskies’ first baseman. After cutting the lead to 5-3, UMass had runners on first and second and the winning run at the plate, but pitcher Dan Zehr got UMass’ Mike Gedman to ground out to first to end the game.
Northeastern’s starting pitcher, Les Williams, scattered four hits through five innings, striking out five and walking only two. He earned his first win of the season.
“It was a great feeling,” he said of winning his first game of the year. “I haven’t had any decisions this year, so it was a good one to get. Eight tries and the first one at Fenway Park.”
The 18-11 Huskies will face Bryant University on Tuesday at Friedman Diamond at 3 p.m.