Spring, Baseball

Shaw’s Three Home Runs Stave Off Sweep By Demon Deacons

Left field, center field, right field—Chris Shaw put a ball over each wall in Sunday’s game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (21-13, 8-7 ACC). Shaw did this to head coach Mike Gambino’s amazement. “You ever seen that? With left field, center field, and right field? I don’t know which one he hit harder.” Through the series, Shaw went a mind-boggling 8 for 12, tallying at least two hits in each game. On Sunday afternoon, Shaw’s hot streak continued for the Boston College Eagles (13-16, 5-9 ACC) in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The junior right fielder’s magic started in the top of the fifth, when a couple of walks and a single set the table for Shaw. When he stepped to the plate, Shaw was more than ready to capitalize on his opportunity. Not only did he take the first pitch he saw for a grand slam, but he put it over the left field wall—an opposite field home run that brought a five-run deficit down to a one-run deficit. But Shaw still had more to add for the Eagles.

After Nick Sciortino tied it up in the fifth with an RBI single, Shaw was back at it in the sixth, smashing a home run the right over the center field wall to put the Eagles up one on the Demon Deacons. Still, Shaw was not done for the day as he hit another home run in the eighth, completing the trifecta by putting a ball over the right-center field wall, capping off a monstrous day for the junior from Lexington, Mass. Gambino had more to add about Shaw’s tremendous day at the plate. “It may be the most impressive offensive day I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Kid can really hit.”

Single-handedly, Shaw ensured that BC avoided the sweep, driving in seven of the 10 runs that the Eagles scored on Sunday on the way to a 10-7 victory.

Shaw’s superhuman effort on Sunday kept the weekend series from being a complete disappointment for the Birdballers, who dropped the first two games on Friday and Saturday. The story for much of the weekend was the struggles for the Eagles’ pitching. BC gave up a total of 23 runs to the Demon Deacons through the three games.

Friday’s game was a relative bright spot for the Eagles’ staff, which allowed only four runs. Outside of the first, right-hander Jeff Burke, the starter, and left-hander Jesse Adams did a great job of limiting the Wake offense, one of the ACC’s most potent offensive teams.

BC’s offense also provided a solid performance Friday afternoon, scoring one run in each of the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to tie the game. Despite the resilience of the Birdballers, Wake claimed the game in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off hit by Joey Rodriguez, the Deacs’ center fielder.

If the Eagles showed resilience on Friday and their best on Sunday, Saturday was their worst, as they failed to quiet the stellar Wake Forest offense. In the fourth inning, center fielder Michael Strem hit a three-run shot to right field to jump on Wake Forest 3-0. Jake Palomaki homered to lead off the sixth inning and extend BC’s lead to 4-2. From there, the sixth inning and the rest of the game were totally downhill for the Eagles.

Wake reversed BC’s momentum as both stud second baseman Nate Mondou and right fielder Stuart Fairchild hit home runs to make the game even before an RBI single gave Wake the lead. A three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh from designated hitter Will Craig, Wake’s best hitter, was the final, definitive blow to BC. Wake’s power outburst gave them the upper hand and took the game right from the hands of the Eagles.

As the ACC’s best offense, Wake Forest showed the Eagles vulnerability by exposing their pitching staff. Their greatest strength of the weekend, however, proved to be the same that it has been for the entire season: the bat of Shaw. Shaw carried the team out of a dismal weekend effort and salvaged an otherwise messy series. Again and again, the junior is proving to be BC’s saving grace.

Featured Image by Michael Sullivan / Heights Editor

April 7, 2015

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