Birdball Runs All Over Northeastern in Narrow Victory

Whether it be in thick forests, scorching deserts, or even the postmodern jungle of hipsterphile East Brooklyn, in the wild, speed kills. The same holds true on the baseball diamond.

Boston College baseball used heady baserunning and timely base knocks to weather early pitching woes and jet past Northeastern 7-6 on Wednesday.

The Eagles (25-17, 9-13 Atlantic Coast) stole 11 bases on the afternoon, an ACC-era school record and one base shy of the ACC single-game mark of 12 set by North Carolina State back in 1990.

BC managed just six hits––all singles save for an RBI double off the bat of third baseman Joe Cronin in the top of the sixth inning––but drew 11 walks on the day, tying its season-high.

The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Huskies (23-20, 7-7 Colonial Athletic) and is their second loss to the Eagles this season.

Sophomore Scott Braren went 2-4 with two singles, a walk, and three RBIs to lead BC’s offense.

Middle reliever Jack Nelson pitched two scoreless innings for the win, fanning out two batters and allowing just one hit.

The Eagles’ starting pitcher, freshman righty Thomas Lane, threw for just three innings after giving up a trio of runs on two first-inning homers over the left-field wall and coughing up another run in the third, which gave the Huskies a 4-3 advantage.

BC held Northeastern scoreless for the next four innings, adding two runs apiece in the fourth and the sixth.

Holding onto a three-run lead in the final two innings would prove difficult, though.

Trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth, the Huskies looked poised to mount a comeback when they loaded the bases with no outs on sophomore right-hander Donovan Casey.

But, in his first appearance since breaking his left hand on April 10 against Virginia, Casey shifted into damage-control mode. The BC reliever struck out pinch hitter Zach Perry before conceding a run off of a sacrifice-chopper blooped over the mound. Casey then struck out another Huskies pinch hitter to end the inning and escape the jam.

In the top of the ninth, BC catcher Gian Martellini stepped to the plate to lead off, and the heavens opened, soaking the players on the field with a chilly deluge.

That’s when things got interesting.

The Eagles ultimately stranded runners on the corners, and the lead remained at 7-5.

Eagles head coach Mike Gambino sent senior left Jesse Adams to the muddied mound to close out the contest.

After giving up a leadoff walk, Adams baited Huskies hitter Mason Koppens into a grounder to shortstop, and a 6-4-3 double-play put the Eagles one out away from victory with no men on base.

Second baseman Jake Palomaki botched a slippery ground ball to allow a batter to reach first. After a Nolan Lang single, Adams mishandled another ball for the Eagles, loading the bases.

A wild pitch scored a run for the Huskies and advanced runners to second and third.

But Adams collected his wits and froze Northeastern freshman Jake Farrell for a strikeout to end the game.

Junior shortstop Johnny Adams went 1-3 on the afternoon for the Eagles, extending his hit streak to seven games. Adams has now reached base in 12 straight hits.

BC’s win comes on the heels of a 2-1 victory at Rhode Island on Tuesday, where the Eagles scored both runs on wild pitches.

In that game, starting pitcher Brian Rapp struck out seven batters in four innings of one-run baseball, and relievers Zach Stromberg, John Nicklas, and Bobby Skogsbergh combined for five strikeouts in as many innings to close out the game.

Wednesday’s game against Northeastern was scheduled to be played on Shea Field but was moved to Friedman Diamond in Brookline, the Huskies’ home field, because of poor field conditions.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

May 4, 2016