Payne's Extra-Inning Walkoff Gives BC The Nod Over Bryant
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
After blowing a four-run ninth inning lead at Northeastern (12-7) on Tuesday, the Boston College baseball team (10-14) had its own late-game heroics yesterday. The Eagles walked off with the 5-3 win against Bryant on Spenser Payne’s 10th-inning home run at Shea Field.
Payne’s blast drove in BC’s first runs since the first inning, and it was his third home run of the season. Payne went into the at-bat hitless in his first four plate appearances with three strikeouts.
“You never want to think negative,” Payne said, “but I was kind of in there trying not to get the fourth [strikeout]. It felt good to get the win and the walkoff.”
After Tom Bourdon led off the ninth with a single to the right side, Matt McGovern grounded into a double play. The Eagles No. 3 hitter, Anthony Melchionda, followed with a line drive that dropped in front of the right fielder. Payne fell behind in the count 0-2, but worked it back to 3-2 before crushing a slider over the fence in left field.
“[Payne] looked really bad with a couple sliders in the at-bat before,” said head coach Mike Gambino. “They kept going after him with them. He made the adjustment, laid off a couple ones in the dirt. Then the guy hung a slider, and [Payne] got his hands through.”
“I was sitting fastball late,” Payne said, “so if he gave me the slider I’d have time for it, and it kind of hung a little bit.”
The Eagles found themselves in their first extra-inning game of the season after failing to score after the first inning. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead early, aided by a couple of key miscues by the Bulldogs.
Bourdon and McGovern started the game with back-to-back singles, and advanced to second and third after an error was committed by Bryant’s centerfielder. BC got on the board after Bourdon scored on a wild pitch.
The next two Eagle batters struck out, and BC seemed to be done in the inning after Rob Moir hit a routine ground ball to the second baseman. The throw to first, though, hit the dirt and ended up out of play, extending the inning and scoring McGovern. The Eagles added a run when Marc Perdios hit an RBI single to drive in Moir.
Eric Stone made his pitching debut for BC with the start, going two innings after coming off of an injury. The freshman was solid, striking out three and only allowing one base runner in his time on the mound.
“It was awesome to have him out there,” Gambino said. “He’s had some shoulder problems. We got him back, we got him healthy, and he came out and played really well for us today. He was really good in the first inning, not quite as sharp in the second, I think due to that long layoff. He was on a 30-pitch count, and we’re going to continue to stretch him out in the next couple of weeks.”
Bryant scored in the third inning with a double and single to cut the deficit to two. In the fifth, Geoff Murphy started the inning by allowing two Bulldogs to reach first and second. He was then replaced by Nick Poore, who allowed those runners to score on a sacrifice fly and a single up the middle, which tied the game at three.
Poore limited the damage after that, finishing with three innings of scoreless, one-hit ball. Meanwhile, BC struggled to get anything going offensively.
“I think it was one of those days,” Gambino said. “We had 10 hits. We just couldn’t string them together. We only had two extra-base hits, one being the walk-off. You kind of scatter 10 singles, and that’s what happens.”
Kyle Prohovich pitched a perfect eighth and ninth inning for the Eagles after allowing the game-winning hit Tuesday.
“I have so much faith in Kyle,” Gambino said. “I love having him in there in big situations. It didn’t quite work out for him [Tuesday], and I couldn’t wait to get him back on the mound, which was a big situation again today.”
Matt Alvarez came on in the 10th for BC and earned the win after a scoreless inning, bringing his record to 2-3 for the season. Bourdon, Melchionda, and John Hennessy led the Eagles with two hits each.
Though both games were decided in the late innings, the story Tuesday at Northeastern was much different for BC. After jumping out to an early 7-1 lead, the Eagles were hit by an onslaught of Huskie offense. BC led 11-7 going into the ninth, but Northeastern rallied from the four-run deficit to beat the Eagles.
The Huskies scored once in the second inning, but then BC put up seven runs in the third. The Eagles used five hits and three walks in the inning, including a two-run triple by Matt Pare.
The six-run cushion didn’t last for long though, as Northeastern scored four in the bottom of the inning. A bases-loaded walk followed three singles to start the scoring for the Huskies, as starter Steve Green was tagged for five runs in 2.2 innings of work.
Nate Bayuk didn’t fare much better, allowing two runs in 1.2 innings.
“As a whole outside of [John] Gorman, we weren’t throwing our secondary stuff for strikes, and we weren’t commanding our fastball,” Gambino said. “We weren’t able to go side to side with the fastball like you need to. In college baseball, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw if you’re not locating your fastball and mixing your pitches.”
The Eagles led 11-7 after five innings, as they scored four more runs in the fifth. Moir reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, and later came around to score on a wild pitch. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, Andrew Lawrence also scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning with runners on second and third, Tyler Hinchliffe singled up the middle to bring both Eagles home.
“Hinchliffe’s a gamer,” Gambino said. “He plays so hard, he competes, he has so much confidence in big situations, and everybody else has confidence in him in big situations. Whether he’s on the mound or at the plate in big situations, he’s able to focus and get the job done.”