Eagles’ Bats Come Alive in Win at UMass

While Boston College baseball has struggled at times to keep its offense consistent and aggressive, its victory against UMass was an impressive show of power, speed, and clutch two-out hitting. BC (14-9, 3-6 Atlantic Coast) scored early and often against UMass (5-11, 1-2 Atlantic 10), and never let its guard down, putting up at least two runs in four separate innings and tying a season high by ripping 16 hits off of Minutemen pitching. Its 27 total bases and four stolen bases were a season high, and the Eagles completely turned their offense around in the 24 hours since their deflating home loss against UConn.

As the away team, BC batted first, and the Eagles took full advantage of this. The Eagles put up three runs in the first inning, starting with sophomore Jake Palomaki, who led off with a double to the right-field corner. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a second wild pitch to put BC up 1-0. Senior Joe Cronin walked on the wild pitch, but was not on base for long before Stephen Sauter blasted a home run over the right field wall. Gian Martellini followed with a single down the left-field line, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, and a ground ball to short ended the inning for the Eagles. Zach Stromberg started the game, only allowing one baserunner in the first inning.

The top of the second inning continued what the first inning had started. Michael Strem hit a solo home run to left field and was followed by a single from Johnny Adams. Freshman Anthony Maselli then ripped a fly ball to the wall in left center, but UMass center fielder Dylan Morris tracked it down for the first out. Palomaki picked up his second hit of the game, and both runners moved up on another wild pitch. Cronin walked for the second time in the game, and after a pitching change, Casey hit a sacrifice fly to score Adams.

Stromberg allowed a single to leadoff batter Hunter Carey in the bottom of the second, and then a double to Cooper Mrowka that Carey scored on, giving the Minutemen their first run of the game. Stromberg settled down after that, however, getting a groundout, a flyout, and foul out to end the inning.

The Eagles led off the top of the third with two straight hits by Logan Martellini and Hoggarth, but the inning ended as quickly as it began, as Martellini and Hoggarth found themselves in a baserunning gaffe. They were both caught between bases on a wild pitch and were tagged out, and the inning ended on a groundball to the shortstop.

UMass struck back in the bottom of the third, as Dylan Morris and John Jennings both hit solo home runs off Stromberg to right center and left field respectively. Stromberg bounced back effectively and got the last two batters of the inning to strike out swinging to end the Minutemen momentum.

Adams led off the top of the fourth with a double to the centerfield wall, and was moved to third on a fly out. Palomaki walked to get on base for his third straight at-bat, and both runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Cronin followed up with his third walk of the day, and Casey walked after him to bring in the sixth run of the game. In the bottom of the inning, UMass could only get one baserunner off of an infield single off of Stromberg.

The Eagles were held scoreless in the fifth inning, but Cronin led off the sixth inning with a triple to right center and scored on a wild pitch to put BC up 8-4. Sophomore Brian Rapp came in to pitch in the bottom of the sixth and induced four ground balls, one that shortstop Adams could not handle, to end the inning. UMass did not score until the bottom of the seventh, when back-to-back base hits put runners on first and third with no outs. A run scored on Carey’s fielder’s choice, but a groundball to short ended the inning.

Cronin led off the top of the eighth with another walk, his fourth of the day and the most of any BC player in a game this season, and followed it up with a steal of second. With two outs, Martellini ripped a single to center to score Cronin. Senior Gabriel Hernandez beat out a bunt single to put two runners on, and Strem doubled to center to put the Eagles up 11-5.

Casey pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and the Eagles put one runner on in the top of the ninth but did not score. Justin Dunn came in to the pitch the bottom of the ninth, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, ending the game with a strikeout swinging. Stromberg picked up his first career win, and the Eagles improved to 14-9. They will face a tough Florida State team, who are 10-3 in their last 13 games, including a win against North Carolina State and a series where they took two of three from Pittsburgh.

March 30, 2016