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‘We wanted to be the team to get it done.’ Northeastern baseball team makes Major League effort against Boston Red Sox

A baseball player wearing a red jersey labeled "Red Sox" slides into a base as a Northeastern baseball player wearing a grey uniform tries to strike them out.
Northeastern lost, 7-2, to the Boston Red Sox at jetBlue Park Friday. Photo by Billie Weiss for Northeastern University

FORT MYERS, Fla. – As much as he enjoyed competing against his hometown Boston Red Sox, Northeastern second baseman Luke Beckstein enjoyed talking with them even more.

For center-fielder Mike Sirota and starting pitcher Aiven Cabral, it was a chance for the All-Americans to show their talents against Major League talent.

And for right-fielder Justin Bosland?

“We never beat them and we wanted to be the team to get it done,” Bosland said.

Once again, that didn’t happen. For the 20th straight time, the Red Sox beat the Huskies 7-2.

The Huskies had their chances on Friday at Jet Blue Park. They had just three hits but with four walks and two Boston errors, the Huskies had baserunners throughout the game. They loaded the bases in the fifth.

A total of 5,971 fans attended. That included Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, who spoke to alumni before the game.

“He always enjoys coming to this,” Northeastern coach Mike Glavine said. “I thanked the alums for their support. I recapped the season and asked them to follow our team all year long.”

Last season, the Huskies went 44-16 after losing to Boston 5-3 and earned an NCAA Tournament bid in a season that included sweeps over super regional team Indiana State and wins over NCAA entrants Duke, Connecticut, Boston College and North Carolina-Wilmington.

Sirota, who earned a variety of all-region and All-American honors after hitting .344 with 18 homers, is ranked as the No. 11 prospect by Major League Baseball.

Cabral, who had a 2.26 earned run average with 68 strikeouts to 12 walks, earned a number of freshman awards.

This year?

“This team is really focused on a conference championship,” Glavine said.

After going 1-2 at Arizona, Glavine felt his team came into Friday’s game looser than last year when it spotted the Red Sox a 5-0 lead in the first before rallying.

“Last year was more surreal,” Sirota said. “This year it was more about being competitive and beating these guys. Our whole team expects to go out and win. This team will be better.”

Sirota set the table when he walked in the top of the first inning and stole second easily.

“I knew once I walked I had already made up my mind to steal,” he said. “I was going to go on the first pitch but I missed it so I went on the second.”

He then scored on left-fielder Alex Lane’s RBI single to left.

Cabral went two innings. He gave up one run while spacing out three hits. He redeemed himself after struggling last weekend.

“I was definitely excited to pitch the game against the Red Sox,” Cabral said. “I treated it like any game. I had a pre-game routine of breathing and relaxing because it can get nerve wracking. I threw fastballs and sliders as well as curves, which didn’t get called strikes but looked good.”

The sophomore said it didn’t hit him who he pitched against until he left the game.

“When I watched the other guys go through the same thing, I realized I was facing some dudes,” Cabral said.

Beckstein found the Red Sox to be cool dudes as he talked to them during the game.

“I said, ‘Hey man, I hope you’ll be successful because it only helps me, being I’m a Red Sox fan,’” Beckstein said. “They said, ‘That’s cool, we appreciate it.’ It was an awesome experience and good energy.

“I’m from Tyngsborough, Mass., I watched Dustin Pedroia, Big Papi growing up. It’s cool to be in the same ballpark playing the Red Sox with their guys who are going to be really good in the coming years.”

Beckstein also showed his fielding ability in the third when he was part of a relay with Sirota, who nailed a Red Sox runner at third before he also was the relay man on a 6-4-3 double play.

Right-fielder Justin Borland almost matched Beckstein’s efforts but he just missed Mark Contreras’ line drive that went over the right-field fence for a three-run homer in the third. Boston led 4-1.

After the Red Sox pushed the lead to 5-1, Northeastern threatened to make it close in the fifth. Bosland doubled, then scored when Jack Goodman reached second on an error. Goodman was thrown out trying to steal third but the Huskies loaded the bases. However, a strikeout ended the inning.

“I would say when we watched them in batting practice, we were in awe at how far they hit the ball and then walked around,” Bosland said. “But after the first pitch, we treated them like anybody.”

Glavine said while the defense – two errors and a fly ball dropped due to the sun – could’ve been better, he liked the way his team competed.

“The strike zone is tighter and the ballpark is larger so it takes our guys out of their comfort zone, which is good,” Glavine said. “I thought we had some good, tough at-bats and a couple of chances to score. I also liked the atmosphere. We were loose and having fun with it.”

One of the Huskies’ highlights was seeing pitcher Wyatt Scotti – who doesn’t hit much – go to opposite field to left for a hit. His teammates, standing in the dugout, roared their delight.