It was a beautiful day for baseball…in Florida, at least.
While winter persists in snow-ravaged Boston, the Red Sox opened up their Spring Training schedule with a 2-1 win over Northeastern University at JetBlue Park in sunny Fort Myers on Tuesday afternoon.
Clay Buchholz took the mound for Boston to start the exhibition game with what will likely be the Opening Day lineup behind him. Buchholz pitched one perfect inning before he was replaced with Rick Porcello (or Jeff Porcello, according to the PA announcer), who followed up with two perfect innings of his own. Anthony Vavaro, Eduardo Rodriguez, Zeke Sprulli, Dana Eveland, and Mitchell Boggs, who got the game’s win, also saw time on the mound for the Red Sox.
Right-hander Aaron Civale got the start for Northeastern and boy, did he show up. In the first two innings, the Connecticut native struck out David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Napoli, and Xander Bogaerts. Mike Fitzgerald replaced him in the third inning and surrendered the first hit of the game off the bat of none other than Mookie Betts. Betts was then anticlimactically caught stealing second.
Ramirez and Napoli each singled in the fourth and were replaced with pinch runners Henry Ramos and Bryan LaHair, respectively. The substitutions continued in the fifth with Aneury Tavarez in right field, Shannon Wilkerson in left, Jeff Bianchi at second base, Brock Holt at shortstop, Sean Coyle at third, and Humberto Quintero behind the plate.
The brand new lineup faired well and got things going in the fifth when Holt and Bianchi walked and Ramos singled to drive in Holt for the first run of the game.
Things took a turn in the seventh when, with two runners on base, a throwing error by Bianchi caused a Northeastern run to score to tie the game at one.
In the eighth inning of what was supposed to be a seven-inning game, the Red Sox scored on a Northeastern throwing error to walk off with the win.
The other squad in Tuesday’s split takes on Boston College with a special tribute to Pete Frates.