Nick Berger struck out 10 in a complete-game four hitter to lead Northeastern to a 3-1 victory over JMU in a Colonial Athletic Association tournament elimination game on Wednesday night at Brooks Field.
No. 5 seeded NU improved to 26-28 and advanced to Thursday’s 7 p.m. game against the lower-seeded losing team in Thursday’s first two games. No. 6 JMU was eliminated by the Huskies for the second consecutive season and finished its 2014 campaign at 17-36.
Berger had his shutout broken up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia’s (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) RBI single. He recovered to record his second complete game of the season, each coming in his last two starts. His 10 strikeouts were the most this season by a JMU opponent and included seven strikeouts looking. In addition to limiting the Dukes to four hits, Berger retired 13 consecutive batters stretching the middle innings of the contest.
Redshirt sophomore Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) also had a complete game, which was also his second of the season. All three runs against him were unearned with eight hits allowed and two strikeouts.
The combined complete games led to a game decided in one hour and 48 minutes after the Dukes had played a three-hour, 26-minute game earlier in the afternoon with an 11-10 loss to UNCW in 10 innings.
The pitchers dominated into the fifth inning when Northeastern rallied for a three spot. Left fielder Gabe Levanti led off with a single and advanced on a bunt attempt with right fielder Sean Lyons reaching on a throwing error. A flyout advanced the lead runner to third and a heads-up steal put two in scoring position for Connor Lyons’ two-out single. Second baseman Michael Foster then made it three unearned runs in the frame with a RBI single to left. Foster, Levanti and first baseman Brad Burcroff each had two of the eight NU hits.
Freshman left fielder Josh Wyatt (Eden, Md./James M. Bennett) was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth and advanced on a groundout. He scored on Tenaglia’s single to right for the lone run of the game for the Dukes.