UCF Up Next For Eagles
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Coming off three wins in its opening tournament, the Boston College baseball team will travel to Florida this weekend for a series against No. 19 UCF with something to prove. By playing solid, fundamental baseball, the Eagles were able to defeat three quality teams last weekend. They will now look to build on that momentum and confidence against the Knights in another challenging series.
"I think [the 3-0 start] gives us a lot [of confidence], especially because we didn't go out and play way over our heads," said head coach Mike Gambino. "I think that's kind of the best thing that came from that. We didn't go do anything spectacular, we didn't go do anything that we can't do every weekend, we just played good, solid baseball. For us, we left sort of saying, ‘That's just kind of who we are.' And we beat three tournament teams from last year. So I think it gave us a lot of confidence. I'm not saying we can sweep every weekend, but I'm saying we can repeat that level of play every weekend and every game."
In the opening weekend, the Eagles received solid pitching performances throughout, and will look to the same three pitchers for another strong start. Eric Stevens gets the call on Friday, Matt Alvarez will go on Saturday, and Hunter Gordon will finish off the weekend on Sunday.
Some of the BC batters got off to hot starts last weekend, as Tom Bourdon and Anthony Melchionda went on hitting sprees, batting .571 and .429 respectively. Gambino said he expected that to even out a bit with the guys who started off batting cold as the season progresses.
"Well, Tommy Bourdon's not going to hit .570, but he can really hit," he said. "Melch—I think that's about what Melch is, honestly. He's really, really good. Tommy Bourdon's not going to hit .570, but Andrew Lawrence is not going to hit .180. Both of those guys are going to end up evening out. So that lineup, I think the guys did a pretty good job. I don't think there was anybody that ridiculously surprised me."
The series against UCF will give certain position players another chance to solidify their spot at some battle positions, but Gambino said that a lot of the decisions will be made based on the situation, such as what pitcher the Eagles are facing, or who might need a break in the field.
Marc Perdios started two games at DH and one in right field, while Spenser Payne started two games at first base, coming in to pinch-hit in the other game. Gambino said he was impressed with Perdios' hustle in the opening series, which will likely continue to make him a starter.
"Marc will always be in the lineup against a left-hander, as long as he keeps doing what he's dong," Gambino said. "He had a really, really big play on Saturday. He singled to left, and the left fielder kind of took his time getting there, and Perds did a great job, a really hard turn around first base, and the guy just gave him an inch by not going hard to the baseball. And Perds exposed him and took second base on him and turned it into a double. It was a huge play in the game. If you weren't at the game, it just looks like a double. But it wasn't. It was hustle.
"And that's what Perds gives us in our lineup. He plays so hard, and that's who we all want to be, is those guys that as soon as anybody makes a little mistake or takes half a play off, we're going to capitalize on it. [Perdios] gives us that."
Another key to BC's early success has been the performance of the bullpen. In the opening weekend, the relievers did not allow an earned run in 10.1 innings of work. Gambino noted that as long as they continue to buy into their respective roles in the bullpen, they can continue to enjoy that same success.
"The guys were great," he said. "One of the catch phrases, especially in college baseball, are roles. What are guys' roles? We talked to our boys going into that weekend, that when you pitch seven years in the big leagues, that's when you start to figure out who you are and figure out where your role is going to be. What these guys' roles are is going to take a while to develop. So what we ask them to do is, ‘What your role is, when you come into a game: get guys out.' That's it. Let's make it as simple as possible. The guys did an awesome job. Everybody we called on came in and did their job. It was great. I was really happy with the boys."