Eagles Swept by No. 1 Louisville

A week removed from a tough series at No. 2 Florida State, Boston College baseball was thrown right back into the fire against No. 1 Louisville. The Cardinals entered the weekend as the hottest team in the country, and after sweeping the Eagles to stay perfect on the season, they’ll leave with the same designation.

BC (6-11, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) tried to avoid a three-game sweep on Sunday, when Dan Metzdorf squared off against Louisville’s Nick Bennett. The Eagles’ Sunday starter had one of his finest outings of the year against a high-octane Cardinals (19-0, 6-0) lineup, allowing just one earned run over six innings of work. But it was actually a Metzdorf error that gave Louisville the lead for good in the sixth inning, as he couldn’t handle a sacrifice bunt. With two men on and one out, Josh Stowers hit a routine ground ball to Anthony Maselli at third base. The junior couldn’t make the play, though, gifting the Cardinals a 3-2 lead thanks to a pair of BC errors.

Louisville tacked on two more insurance runs in the seventh inning off reliever Jake Alu. The sophomore right hander recorded two outs before a double and two walks loaded the bases. Donovan Casey came in for Alu and surrendered a base hit up the middle that plated two runs. Although the Eagles cut into the deficit in the eighth, scoring one off of a Louisville error, they never threatened in the ninth and fell in the series finale, 5-3. The four errors by BC were a season high.

On Saturday, the Eagles nearly had their first signature ninth-inning comeback of the season. After being outplayed the entire game—Cardinal starter Kade McClure had a perfect game into the sixth inning—BC’s bats began to come alive in the eighth inning. Jake Goodreau doubled off the top of the wall following a Johnny Adams infield hit, placing two runners in scoring position with no outs. But after a groundout and a couple strikeouts, Louisville escaped the jam with only one run allowed.

Down 6-1 going into the final frame, BC refused to fold against Cardinal reliever Riley Thompson. Michael Strem and Casey reached base to start the inning, and Gian Martellini drove both of them in with an opposite-field single. Mitch Bigras continued the rally with another single, setting up Johnny Adams for an RBI infield single that scored Martellini. Goodreau then struck out for the first out of the inning. With the score 6-4, Louisville got Maselli swinging and gunned down Bigras attempting to steal third to end the game on a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out.

With sophomore ace Jacob Stevens starting on Friday night, the series opener was likely BC’s best chance at a win in Louisville this weekend. But neither the offense nor the bullpen showed up.

Stevens looked like his usual self early on, striking out four and allowing just four hits through six innings. But the Cardinals broke the scoreless game in the fifth, drawing first blood after Josh Stowers led off with a double. Stevens induced a pair of fly balls for the next two outs, but a Logan Taylor ground ball up the middle brought Stowers home for the first run of the game. Colby Fitch doubled to center, scoring Taylor and giving Louisville a 2-0 advantage. With Brendan McKay on the mound for the Cardinals, they wouldn’t need any more offense. The Louisville ace struck out a whopping 12 batters over seven innings, and the bullpen shut the door to complete the shutout of Birdball. The 6-0 defeat was Stevens’ first loss of the year and the Eagles’ second time being shut out this season.

Overall, BC’s pitching staff looked improved—but against the nation’s No. 1 team, it wasn’t nearly enough. The Eagles get a short break from their brutal conference schedule when they take on Northeastern on Tuesday, but they must gear up for nationally-ranked Clemson next weekend. It’s been said before, but Birdball’s early-season schedule only reinforces it: the ACC is unforgiving.

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

March 19, 2017

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