Spring, Baseball

Eagles Blow Eight-Run Lead, Lose 12-10 to Wofford

Boston College baseball will score its fair share of runs this season. After all, it returned its two top hitters by batting average, top three by on base percentage, and its home run leader. So, a day removed from an eight-run output against UNC Asheville, the Eagles flexed their offensive muscles again.

Playing against a Wofford team that had hung close in a loss against No. 12 Clemson the night before, BC batted around in the first inning, punctuating a seven-run inning with a grand slam from third baseman Jake Alu.

The offensive output, however impressive, wasn’t enough, as the Eagles lost, 12-10, blowing an early 10-2 lead. The Terriers (7-6) scored twice in the third, then completed the comeback with an eight-run sixth inning.

The game unraveled quickly for BC (5-6) in the fateful sixth inning. Four different pitchers toed the rubber for the Eagles in the frame, but Wofford’s bats figured out almost all of them. After chasing starter Jack Nelson in the sixth, reliever Will Hesslink got the inning’s second out before conceding a bases-clearing, three-run double from Alex Malsch. He then gave up a RBI single to Brett Rodriguez before issuing a walk and, consequently, getting the boot.

Reliever Brendan Spagnuolo entered with a two-run lead, and promptly served up a go-ahead, three-run home run to Mack Nathanson. After an infield single and an error on a pickoff attempt, Terriers’ outfielder Max McDougald lofted a fly ball to right field that appeared to end of the inning. Much to the Eagles’ chagrin, right fielder Jacob Yish dropped it, and an extra insurance run, ultimately unnecessary, raced home.

All said and done, the sixth inning featured eight runs from Wofford on five hits and a pair of BC errors. It handed the Eagles a third loss in four games, and marked the fourth time in 11 contests that they’ve given up double-digit runs.

Terriers starter Clay Schwaner was chased after just two innings, as he was tagged with nine runs on nine hits, but the bullpen behind him stepped up. Long reliever Jake Dippold allowed a lone run over four innings to pick up the win, while Austin Higginbotham bridged the gap to the ninth with two scoreless innings. Adam Scott then worked around a hit in the final frame to earn his first collegiate save for Wofford.

BC jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on the strength of Alu’s grand slam. Yish drove in a run with a single and Jack Cunningham extended his hit streak to six with a double to the left field corner.

Nelson, who went 5 1/3 innings in the no decision, was touched up for two in the bottom of the frame. A pair of singles set up McDougald’s two-run double.

The Eagles had an answer, as Scott Braren led off the second with a double and eventually scored on a chopper to third that resulted in an errant throw. Chris Galland then continued his torrid start to the season with a single through the right side to bring in Alu to make it 9-2.

Galland deserves yet another mention, having now hit safely in seven consecutive games—and is an impressive 14-for-23 in his six career starts. He finished 3-for-4 in the loss, one of four BC batters who posted multi-hit days. Jake Palomaki led the way, going 4-for-5 with a run in the loss.

After a two-out double from Dante Baldelli in the third, Braren brought him in with a single up the middle. Wofford had an answer, though, as Nelson gave up two more runs in the bottom of the inning on a home run to Cody Miller.

That was it for the Eagles’ offense the rest of the way, as they finished having stranded seven runners on base. Relievers Zach Stromberg and Thomas Lane combined to keep the Terriers scoreless till BC was due up in the ninth, but the Eagles didn’t have enough left in the tank to mount a rally.

Struggles on the mound have routinely haunted the Eagles. BC has piled up double-digit hits six separate times and have averaged just under 10 runs per game in those games, but are just 3-3. Opponents can keep up with the Eagles’ barrage because of the pitching staff’s woeful 6.89 ERA.

Their first ACC foe looms this weekend in North Carolina State, a team that enters the matchup with a 10-2 mark in non-conference play. The Wolfpack has been an impressive team thus far, hitting .344 as a unit to go along with a sub-3.00 ERA as a pitching staff. To beat them, the BC pitching staff that combined for nine strikeouts and held UNC Asheville scoreless will have to show up—just like last year, when the Eagles came away with a sweep on the strength of holding N.C. State to four runs in three days.

Featured Image by Jake Catania / Heights Staff  

March 7, 2018

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