The Red Sox opened their spring schedule with a 5-3 win over Northeastern at JetBlue Park on Friday afternoon.
Meeting for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and the MLB lockout in 2022, Boston moved to 19-0 all-time against the Huskies in exhibition play.
All five of the Red Sox’ runs came in the first inning of this seven-inning contest. Jarren Duran got things started in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double off Northeastern starter James Quinlivan. Rafael Devers followed by plating Duran on an RBI single to right field to give his side an early one-run lead out of the gate.
A pair of wild pitches from Quinlivan allowed Devers to move up to third base. Following an Enrique Hernandez walk, Devers came into score on a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida. Quinlivan then walked three straight batters in Alex Verdugo, Jorge Alfaro, and Triston Casas, who brought in Hernandez from third by taking ball four.
Trailing by three runs now, the Huskies gave Quinlivan the hook in favor of Patrick Harrington out of the bullpen. Enmanuel Valdez promptly greeted the Northeastern reliever by ripping a two-run double to the gap in right-center field. That pushed across both Verdugo and Alfaro to give the Red Sox a commanding 5-0 lead.
On the other side of things, non-roster invitee Oddanier Mosqueda got the start for Boston on the mound. The left-hander worked his way around a leadoff single off the bat of Spenser Smith by picking off the shortstop at second base to end a scoreless first inning. The two relievers who followed Mosqueda, Durbin Feltman and Taylor Broadway, faced the minimum in the second and third as well thanks to a pair of inning-ending plays.
Chase Shugart, another non-roster invitee, got tagged for two runs in the fourth. The right-hander issued a leadoff walk to Smith and immediately gave up an RBI double to Mike Sirota to put the Huskies on the board. Sirota then stole third base and scored from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Danny Crossen.
Wyatt Olds took over for Shugart in the fifth and walked two of the first three batters he faced. That first batter, Harrison Feinberg, successfully stole third base with one out and then scored on a throwing error by catcher Elih Marrero. Olds avoided any further damage by getting Sean McGee to ground into another inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
From there, a pair of lefties wrapped things up out of the Boston bullpen. Rio Gomez, who will soon be pitching for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic, struck out one in a scoreless sixth inning. Brendan Cellucci followed by stranding one runner in the seventh to notch the save and put the finishing touches on a 5-3 victory.
Next up: Grapefruit League play begins
The Red Sox will kick off the Grapefruit League portion of their spring schedule on Saturday afternoon as they travel to North Port, Fla. to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park.
Left-hander Matt Dermody will get the start for Boston opposite fellow southpaw Kolby Allard for Atlanta. Richard Bleier, Kaleb Ort, Wyatt Mills, Ryan Sherriff, Jake Faria, and Norwith Gudino are also scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox.
First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)