Casey Hits for the Cycle as Eagles Crush Minutemen

Donovan Casey knew the pitch was perfect when the ball left Scott Hovey’s hand. He swung, connected, and drove the ball into right center. Casey reached first, rounded first, and took off for second. He reached the bag safely, prompting raucous cheers from the BC dugout.

On its own, a double in the bottom of the fifth while the Eagles held a 10-0 lead wasn’t much to celebrate. But this wasn’t just any old double—this double completed Casey hitting for the cycle, the first time a Boston College baseball player had successfully hit for the cycle since Jason Delaney on April 27, 2003. Even more impressive, Casey hit for the cycle in his first four at-bats.

After the game, Casey admitted that it was a good day for him, but credited his teammates with helping BC earn the win.

“The pitchers did their jobs, and I’m just happy for a team win,” he told BCEagles.com.

Bolstered by Casey’s cycle and an especially productive third inning, Birdball earned a commanding 13-1 victory over the University of Massachusetts.

BC (8-14, 1-8 Atlantic Coast) shut down UMass (6-10, 1-2 Atlantic 10) from the very beginning. Jack Nelson started on the mound for the Eagles, and set a dominant tone from the start with a game-opening strikeout. He forced the next two batters into ground-outs, bringing the top of the first to a quick end.

The Eagles used their first opportunity at the plate to build up an early lead. In his first at-bat of the day, Casey earned a lead-off triple against Connor Donahue, immediately putting a runner in scoring position and rattling the Minutemen’s confidence. Donahue then hit Johnny Adams with a pitch and walked Michael Strem, loading the bases. For a few minutes, it looked like Donahue would escape the jam without any lasting damage—he recorded two quick strikeouts. But then Jake Alu doubled to right field, driving Casey and Adams home for a 2-0 lead.

Nelson began the top of the second with a quick strikeout, then forced the second batter into grounding out. He briefly faltered, walking Nolan Kessinger and Dylan Morris on nine total pitches. Nelson returned to top form, however, and the Eagles managed to avoid surrendering any runs. Matt Bare hit a hard grounder to Anthony Maselli at third base, who sent it to Alu at second for the third out.

Donahue stifled BC in the bottom of the second. Maselli and Dominic Hardaway each struck out, while Dante Baldelli popped out, ending the second without any runs scored for either team.

The third proved to be the breakout inning for the Eagles, while the Minutemen continued to struggle offensively. Nelson dispatched UMass in short order, recording another strikeout in the process, to put BC back on the offensive.

Casey started the bottom of the third with a bang for the Eagles. He checked another hit off the list by riding a pitch for a solo homer to left field, cushioning BC’s lead to 3-0. Adams then struck out, but Strem walked, placing one runner on base as Martellini went to the plate. Martinelli rattled Donahue for another homer, driving in two more runs to boost BC’s lead to 5-0. But the Eagles weren’t done scoring yet. Bigras and Alu walked, putting BC in a good position to build its lead up even more. Maselli doubled, driving both Bigras and Alu home and increasing the lead to 7-0.

Nelson continued his hot streak in the top of the fourth. Although he gave up one walk, he recovered quickly and once again ended the inning without surrendering a run to the Minutemen.

The bottom of the fourth saw Donahue replaced by Hovey, but the new UMass pitcher failed to cool down the Eagles’ hot bats. Casey recorded his single against Hovey and then scored thanks to Strem’s RBI double. Bigras singled to send Strem home, and then Alu sent Martinelli home, bringing the Eagles’ lead to 10-0.

Zach Stromberg replaced Nelson on the mound for the Eagles in the fifth and continued to stifle the Minutemen, allowing just one hit in the inning and preserving the Eagles’ shutout.

BC finally began to slow down offensively in the fifth, but the damage was already done. After reaching base thanks to his cycle-completing double, Casey advanced to third on a passed ball. Strem hit a sacrifice fly to send Casey home, rounding the score up to 11-0 in BC’s favor.

The Minutemen finally mustered up offense in the sixth inning. Jack Cunningham replaced Stromberg on the mound. After recording an early out, he surrendered a solo homer to Mike Geannelis. Cunningham recovered quickly, however, and the BC defense recorded two quick outs with the next two batters, limiting the damage to just one run.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles scored the final runs of the day with an RBI single from Chris Balogh and a bases-loaded walk from pitcher Casey Aubin. The 13-1 tally remained unchanged at the end of the game.

It was a commanding victory for the Eagles, made even better by Casey’s cycle. The blowout win snapped BC’s three-game losing streak.

Featured Image by Michael Sullivan / Heights Editor

March 29, 2017