Eagles Earn Another ACC Series Win Over Maryland
Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
After beginning ACC competition with six straight losses, the Boston College baseball team earned its second straight ACC series victory this weekend at Shea Field. The Eagles won two out of three against Maryland, including their third walkoff win in the past week.
Because of concerns about the weather, BC planned to play a doubleheader on Friday and finish the series on Saturday. But the second game on Friday was called with the game tied in the ninth inning because of darkness, so the Eagles completed that game before starting the series finale on Saturday.
“It makes it a little bit weird when it feels like the first inning but it’s the tenth,” said head coach Mike Gambino. “We play a lot in the fall where we’ll just play a ninth inning: tie ballgame, ninth inning, and that’s how the scrimmage will start. So it’s something that we’re somewhat used to doing.”
Saturday continued a game that was tied at four heading into the bottom of the ninth. Maryland scored the first run of the game off of starter Taylor Lasko in the second, aided by a throwing error by shortstop Anthony Melchionda to begin the inning. The Maryland runner advanced to third on a single, but was thrown out after the Terps attempted a suicide squeeze. Lakso made a great play to get the runner out, fielding the ball and shoveling it from his glove to the catcher just in time for the out.
An RBI double later in the inning put Maryland up 1-0, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long. In the bottom of the second, the Eagles used singles from Melchionda and Rob Moir and a walk to Spenser Payne to load the bases with one out. Matt Pare then crushed a grand slam, giving BC a 4-1 lead and raising his RBI total to 17, good for second on the team.
Lasko threw three more scoreless frames for the Eagles, finishing with no earned runs in five innings of work. He gave way to Nate Bayuk, Kyle Prohovich, and Matt Alvarez over the next four innings, each of whom gave up one run. Alvarez came in for the ninth to close out the game with BC up 4-3, but he issued walks to the first three batters, and a sacrifice fly by the Terps tied the game.
Both teams traded scoreless innings until the bottom of the 12th, helped by three one-hit innings from Eagles pitcher Nick Poore. Pare led off with a walk for BC, and John Hennessy attempted to bunt him over to second, but he struck out after fouling a bunt with two strikes.
“That was my call,” Gambino said. “I had faith in him to get the job done even with two strikes. It’s hard to bunt with two strikes. He didn’t get it done, but he’ll get it done next time.”
After the strikeout, Tom Bourdon then singled to center, putting runners at first and second for Blake Butera. For the second time this season, the freshman second baseman came through with a walk-off hit for the Eagles, singling to right field to drive in Pare.
“I was looking for a good pitch to hit something back through the middle,” Butera said. “I had two strikes on me, so I was looking to go the other way with something.”
“He’s a really good hitter anyway, and he does a great job with two strikes,” Gambino said. “That’s his second walk-off hit. It’s not going to be his last. He’s going to have a lot of big hits for us in his career.”
Gambino continued to speak highly of Butera, who, as a freshman, bats second in the lineup and stands third on the team with 27 hits.
“Blake is able, at a really young age, to just focus on his job and do what he has to do at the time,” Gambino said. “There can be a lot of crazy stuff going on, and he just focuses in on the task at hand and has great at-bats. I have a lot of confidence in him in any situation, as does the rest of the team.”
In the series’ first game on Friday, the Eagles cruised to a 10-3 win over the Terps. Andrew Lawrence hit a grand slam in the first inning to help BC to a 5-1 lead, and they never looked back. Starting pitcher Eric Stevens earned his team-leading fourth win of the season, allowing two runs over 5.2 innings.
Matt McGovern led BC with three hits on the day, including two RBI singles, as the Eagles offense put up 10 runs on 13 hits. Pitcher John Gorman finished the game with 3.1 innings of one-run ball, and opposing batters are now hitting just .206 against him, good for best on the team.
The Eagles dropped the third game of the series on Saturday, however, in a 7-1 drubbing that saw head coach Mike Gambino get ejected for the first time in his coaching career.
BC couldn’t get anything going against Maryland starter David Caroll, who scattered eight hits over eight innings, allowing just one run. The game was scoreless until the fourth, when Maryland scored five runs after having the bases empty with two outs. Starting pitcher Hunter Gordon loaded the bases by way of two walks and a single, and two more hits put Maryland up 3-0. They scored next on a delayed steal and another RBI single.
In the top of the seventh, Melchionda made an error on a ball hit by Maryland’s Jordan Hagel to put runners on first and third. Gambino then came out to the mound to talk with the infield, perhaps to discuss the defense for the situation. Gambino then became visibly upset with one of the umpires, and after a couple minutes of arguing, was ejected from the game.