Boston College freshman Kyle Dunster trotted to the mound, wide-eyed and ready to go, in his first career start at Boston College. With some classic Stevie Nicks blaring in the background, Dunster looked relaxed and confident in throwing his warmups.
Harvard leadoff hitter Mike Adams welcomed him to the starting pitching game as only an experienced hitter can—he sent a meatball from Dunster flying over the left field fence.
The next batter, sophomore Drew Reid, came up next and slapped a double into the outfield, and Mitch Klug brought him home with an RBI single on the next at-bat. After issuing a walk later in the inning, BC head coach Mike Gambino decided he had seen enough.
For Dunster, his start ended before it ever really began—he lasted only 2/3 of an inning, allowing three hits, two runs, and a walk.
But fortunately for the freshman right-hander from Greenwich, Conn., his team was there to pick him up.
In a sloppy game consisting of four errors and nine unearned runs total, BC (18-18, 6-11 ACC) returned to a .500 record on the season with a 13-10 victory over the Harvard Crimson (16-17, 5-7 Ivy League). Reliever Tyler Hinchliffe stepped in for Dunster in the first inning and locked down the Crimson for the next three, carrying the Eagles into the fifth inning with his effective pitching.
The teams traded runs back-and-forth for the first few innings, but shortstop Johnny Adams blasted a home run to left-center field in the bottom of the fifth to put the game out of reach for good. It was Adams’ first career homer, the highlight of a big game the native of Walpole, Mass.
“It was such a great feeling to get my first collegiate home run,” Adams said following the game. “I’m glad I could contribute at the plate to a good team win.”
Gambino had high praise for Adams’ work ethic following the game and said that it could not have happened to a better person on the team. The bench let out a raucous cheer when Adams’ shot fell on the other side of the outfield wall, and they whooped and hollered for their teammate as he rounded the bases.
“Johnny is one of the hardest workers I have ever been around, and he’s one of the best kids I’ve ever been around,” Gambino said. “His teammates love him, coaches love him, umpires love him, and he’s an unbelievable kid. We were all fired up and the bench went nuts.”
Adams, fellow sophomore Michael Strem, and junior Joe Cronin are the only three players who have started every game this season for the Eagles. Adams is a defensive specialist, forming a formidable double-play combination with second baseman Blake Butera and first baseman Cronin. He struggles at the plate, carrying a .186 batting average into the game against Harvard, but he was the hero against the Crimson on Wednesday.
The Eagles received a majority of their production offensively from the three through five hitters in the lineup, who combined for six hits and eight runs. Cronin, Strem, and Stephen Sauter paced BC with timely hitting in the middle of the lineup.
Gambino was happy to see production coming from the entire team, especially taking the loss of superstar outfielder Chris Shaw into account. The fifth-year head coach said that it would take a concerted effort from the entire team to replace what he brings to the table, and he sees that happening with the Eagles.
“There’s not one guy in the country that replace what Chris Shaw gives you,” Gambino said. “In my mind, he’s the best hitter in the country. The awesome thing is that no one has to. We have to have nine guys working together to fill the void, and the same goes for the pitching staff with (Jeff) Burke out.”
The game on Wednesday marked the Eagles’ fifth consecutive win on a weekday, a streak that stretches back to late March. BC has owned the Northeast thus far in the season, suffering its only loss to the University of Connecticut. Don’t expect that reign of dominance to end if the roster continues to answer when teammates get knocked down.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Staff