BC Gets One At UCF In Tight Series
Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The Boston College baseball team faced No. 19 University of Central Florida for a three-game series this weekend, and although the Eagles lost two of three, all three games were decided by one run. BC continued to look strong to start the season, and brought its record to 4-2.
"I really like where this ball club is right now," head coach Mike Gambino said. "We're really confident in close baseball games, which comes from our senior leadership. We're loose, confident, and focused in all these close ballgames, and I love the way we're playing."
BC lost on Sunday 5-4, as the Knights came through with a walk off two-run single in the bottom of the ninth. The Eagles had trailed 3-2 going into the top of the inning, but took the lead on freshman Tyler Hinchliffe's two-run single, the first hit and RBIs of his career.
"That kid is one of the most competitive kids I've ever been around," Gambino said. "He works so hard, and he's so confident in his preparation, there's no worry or doubt. He's going to out-compete everybody. He's going to be a lot of fun to watch over the next four years, both on the mound and in the field. Everybody kind of feeds off his energy."
Although Andrew Lawrence was the losing pitcher, he had a solid game at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. BC's cleanup hitter has only four hits in 22 at bats, but Gambino isn't concerned.
"He swung the bat well in Myrtle Beach without much to show for it [last weekend]," Gambino said. "He started to press a little bit, which tends to happen when you look at the scoreboard and your batting average looks kind of funky. He had great at bats [Sunday]. I was never worried about him at all. He's going to hit a lot for us. I didn't really consider it early struggles."
Spenser Payne also had two hits, and centerfielder Tom Bourdon led the Eagles with two runs scored. Starting pitcher Hunter Gordon allowed two runs in four innings, and reliever John Gorman limited the Knights to one run over three innings. BC outhit UCF 10-9, and left 13 men on base.
On Saturday, the Eagles pulled out the win in a back-and-forth game against the Knights. BC used a six-hit third inning to score four runs, including consecutive singles by freshman Blake Butera, leadoff hitter Matt McGovern, Bourdon, and Anthony Melchionda
"Our at-bats were just okay on Friday night, [but] the rest of the weekend, we swung the bats well," Gambino said.
The starting pitcher for BC, Matt Alvarez, pitched three innings, allowing only an unearned run. The Eagles' lead held until the sixth inning, when UCF scored four runs to put them on top 7-5. BC reliever Kyle Prohovich allowed two hits and two walks while only getting one out, and left the game with the bases loaded. Hinchliffe came in and allowed the three inherited runners to score, but shut UCF down after that and in the next inning.
Hinchliffe ended up earning the win, the first of his career, after BC scored three runs in the top of the seventh. The two-out rally was fueled by only one hit, as BC used three bases-loaded walks to go ahead. Butera's walk proved to be the game winner, and was also the first RBI of his career.
"We had really good at bats, a couple guys going deep in counts and spoiling some really good two-strike pitches," Gambino said. "It wasn't that they came in and gift wrapped runs for us. Guys battled and battled. That was a really good inning for us against a good arm."
Reliever Matt Brazis closed out the win for the Eagles, throwing 1.2 innings of scoreless ball while striking out two.
"I feel completely comfortable with Brazis closing out the game," Gambino said. "His stuff was filthy. His fastball was 91-93 mph, it was down, it was located, and it had hop on it. His cutter was filthy. I don't know that we're going to go with a specific closer. I have a lot of confidence in Matt Brazis right now."
On Friday night, the Eagles played a close game but eventually fell to the Knights, 6-5. Bourdon's home run in the first inning propelled BC to a two-run lead, as he knocked in McGovern, who led the game off with a single. Bourdon is hitting .429 on the year, which leads the team, as do his eight runs scored.