After taking two of three against Santa Clara, Boston College baseball continues its start to the season with a trip to the Snowbird Baseball Classic in Florida. The Eagles took on the Boston Red Sox in an exhibition game in Fort Myers, but now head to Port Charlotte to play three games in three days against Big Ten opponents Minnesota, Indiana, and Rutgers.
Who is BC playing?
Minnesota, Indiana, and Rutgers
When is BC playing?
Friday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 24, 12 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m.
Where is BC playing?
North Charlotte Regional Park, Port Charlotte, Fla.
How to Watch:
Streams are not available. You can listen to Saturday’s matchup with Indiana here, but that’s the only one of the three available to stream audio for. That said, all three games can be monitored with the live stats tracker available on BCEagles.com.
Boston College (2-1)
The Eagles were picked to finish sixth in the ACC Atlantic Division in 2018, but started the season on the right foot by winning two of three games against Santa Clara. They also played a competitive game in their annual exhibition game against the Red Sox, although they ultimately fell 4-2. The Eagles return their entire starting rotation from 2017 and will lean on the trio of Jacob Stevens, Dan Metzdorf, and Brian Rapp to be their weekend starters. Rapp is coming off of an ACC Pitcher of the Week nod, having thrown six no-hit innings in last Sunday’s win over the Broncos. On the offensive side, BC has an excellent one-two punch at the top of the order in second baseman Jake Palomaki, who is BC’s all-time leader in walks and led the team with a .446 OBP last season, and outfielder Jake Alu, who batted .331 last season to lead the team. One of 2018’s most pleasant surprises thus far has been Dante Baldelli, who struggled in 2017 but currently leads the team with a .462 batting average.
In 2017, the Golden Gophers finished third in the Big Ten, and just missed out on a spot in the NCAA tournament. This season, Minnesota was once again picked to finish third in the Big Ten and has split its first four games, picking up two wins against Kennesaw State while finding itself on the wrong end of the scoreline against Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern. Minnesota’s strength is undoubtedly its dangerous lineup, which boasts eight upperclassmen and is led by Toby Hanson, an All-Big Ten third-team member who batted .319 last season. Junior catcher Cole DeVitt will provide some offensive firepower as well. On the mound, the Golden Gophers have more questions than answers, but Reggie Meyer, who was 5-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 2017, is a capable Friday night starter.
Coming off a 2017 NCAA tournament berth, the Hoosiers were picked to lead the way in the Big Ten, and have enjoyed a successful start to the year, rattling off three straight wins after a season-opening loss to Oklahoma. Much like Minnesota, Indiana’s strength is in its experienced batting lineup, which is led by outfielders Logan Kaletha, a junior who hit .354 last year, and Logan Sowers, who hit .291. Sowers has opened 2018 on a tear, slashing his way to a .438 mark through four games. In addition to their offensive firepower, the Hoosiers also boast one of the Big Ten’s best pitching staffs, led by returning starters Cal Krueger and Pauly Milto. Krueger began last season in the bullpen, but was moved into a starting role midway through the season and thrived, ending the season 5-2 with a 2.82 ERA. Milto is a capable second starter, and won his first start of 2018, pitching six scoreless innings against Kansas State.
The Scarlet Knights opened their season with three games against another ACC team in No. 9 Miami. They dropped the first two games by scores of 7-1 and 8-5 before winning the final game of the series, 7-5. Rutgers has one of the most athletic players in the Big Ten in Jawuan Harris, a two-sport star who also plays safety for the football team and batted. 269 with 23 stolen bases in 2017. It’ll also get production from catcher Nick Matera, who earned an All-Big Ten third-team nod last season. Rutgers’ depth on the mound is questionable, but it does feature senior John O’Reilly, who was named as a player to watch on the Big Ten Preseason Honors list. O’Reilly headlines the rotation despite going 4-7 with a 5.87 ERA last season.
Minnesota: BC has never played the Golden Gophers.
Indiana: The Eagles last faced off against Indiana in 2011, and managed to hold the Hoosiers scoreless from the first inning on, en route to a 6-1 victory in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Rutgers: BC last played Rutgers all the way back in 2005, when it traveled to New Jersey to play a three game series against the Scarlet Knights. BC managed to take the first two games by scores of 6-4, and 15-0, respectively, before dropping the final game of the series 11-8.
The Eagles should be in for a good test against some solid Big Ten opposition in Minnesota and Rutgers, and a likely NCAA tournament team in Indiana. All three have good hitting lineups, and the performance of BC’s pitching staff will likely determine how successful it is this weekend. The Eagles impressed in California, as Stevens and Rapp both turned in stellar outings. Santa Clara boasted a dangerous middle of the lineup, but not the same depth as the teams BC will see in this classic. If the Eagles are able to win two or three games here, it should give them a solid confidence boost ahead of the start of ACC play, as they’re looking to shake off a disappointing 2017 and make a return to the postseason.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Minnesota: Jacob Stevens (1-0) vs. Reggie Meyer (0-1)
Indiana: Dan Metzdorf (0-0) vs. Pauly Milto (1-0)
Rutgers: Brian Rapp (1-0) vs. Harry Rutkowski (0-0)
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor