Top Story, Spring

Rain Halts Beanpot Final Against Harvard in Fifth Inning

It was bound to happen. It was just a matter of when.

With rain in the forecast all throughout Wednesday, both Boston College and Harvard baseball knew that weather was all but guaranteed to disrupt the Beanpot final. The two sides even decided to move up the annual Fenway Park classic to 5 p.m. But, as luck would have it, the third place game between Massachusetts and Northeastern ran late. And as a result, Dan Metzdorf ended up taking the rubber right around 6 p.m.—just a half hour prior to the original game time.

Four innings in, and the rain started to pick up. Having just let up a run, BC head coach Mike Gambino walked to the mound, knowing that this very well could be his team’s final frame. Up 3-2, Gambino turned to his go-to reliever: Donovan Casey. After throwing out Drew Reid at first, Casey punched out Trent Bryan on four pitches to end the inning, and apparently the game.

As soon as the teams began to trot back to their respective dugouts, the grounds crew assumed position. Within seconds, the tarp was being rolled out, and the game was ruled final. Or so we thought.

Eventually, after 15 minutes or so, everything was sorted out between the Boston Red Sox staff and the two teams. The game was officially halted, meaning that the teams will try to coordinate with the Red Sox, in order to reschedule the final innings. If nothing can get worked out in the coming days, the Eagles will be crowned Beanpot Champions. But for now, the 3-2 score is anything but final.

The first inning was misleading to say the least. Metzdorf forced Josh Ellis to groundout. But one pitch later, the lefty’s scoreless effort was already tainted. Quinn Hoffman hit a solo shot over the Green Monster, giving the Crimson the early lead. Fortunately for BC, Metzdorf immediately recovered, retiring the next two batters.

And it wouldn’t take long for the Eagles to erase the deficit. Everything was bouncing their way. Literally. Leading off, Casey half-swung at Garrett Rupp’s pitch. The ball dribbled toward the left side, but gave Casey just enough time to beat the throw to first. Casey then stole second, avoiding a potential double play.

With a man in scoring position, Michael Strem did what he does best. Ahead in the count, he doubled through the left-center gap, scoring Casey. Gian Martellini proceeded to drill one toward third base. The ball took an odd hop, preventing John Fallon to, not only get the out at third, but also make the throw to first. To cap things off, Mitch Bigras hit a line drive to center, bringing home Strem. BC would go on to strand two runners on base. Nevertheless, it had the lead.

But the apparent shootout transformed into a chess match between pitching staffs. For the next two frames, Harvard and BC traded goose eggs. Yet in the fourth, the scoring resumed. Only it came in the most unconventional of ways.

Now facing JT Bernard, Jake Alu worked his way to a full count. Alu took one more pitch, drawing the walk. Shortly into Johnny Adam’s at-bat, Alu swiped second base. And just one pitch after that, he took off for third. Then, for the third-straight pitch—this time, a passed ball—Alu stole a base. The sophomore slid into home plate before Bernard could apply the tag.

All it took was three pitches for Alu to cover three bases. Right when he reached first base, both he and Gambino knew what needed to be done.

“We knew [Bernard] wasn’t real quick to the plate,” Gambino said. “We knew we wanted to get going. And Jake did a really good job of reading pitches and getting jumps.”

Down two runs in the top of the fifth, Harvard’s offense rejuvenated. Patrick McColl took Jack Cunningham’s first pitch and blasted one to left field. The ball soared over Alu’s head and hit the fence, allowing McColl to jog into second. Not too long after that, John MacLean singled through the right side. The ball barely escaped the glove of a diving Jake Palomaki, giving McColl the opportunity to score.

To break up the Crimson’s offensive flow, Gambino pulled Cunningham and put the ball in Casey’s hand. Casey quickly quelled Harvard’s surge, picking up two outs in just as many batters. At that moment, play was abruptly suspended, and the one-run game was halted until further notice.

Disregarding the uncertainty of the final outcome, Gambino is satisfied with his team’s performance—especially leading into this weekend’s series against North Carolina State.  

“Regardless of how many innings, any time you can leave a game with a lead like that, you end up feeling good,” Gambino said.

Featured Image by Shaan Bijwadia / Heights Staff

April 19, 2017