Top Story, Spring, Baseball

Baldelli Hits Walk-Off Grand Slam as Eagles Split Double Header

You wouldn’t know it from the final score, but the first game of a doubleheader for Boston College baseball against Virginia Tech was a nailbiter. The Eagles’ offense entered the bottom of the ninth in a 2-2 stalemate, but tripled its score for the win on just one swing of the bat. A walk-off grand slam to left center for Dante Baldelli clinched the series for BC after its win the previous night.

Despite the 6-2 win, the Eagles couldn’t keep the bats going in Game Two and sputtered, ultimately dropping the series finale, 5-2.  

Brian Rapp took the mound for BC (9-12, 4-5 Atlantic Coast) in its second game and pitched phenomenally for all but two pitches. Through six innings, Rapp allowed just three hits to VTech (10-12, 4-5), but also carried four earned runs to his name.

After Jake Owens—the first batter of the game—reached base on a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, three-hole hitter Luke Horanski stepped to the plate. The designated hitter crushed the only hit Rapp would concede for three innings, a home run to right field.

The fourth inning was much of the same. After retiring the first two batters, Rapp allowed what appeared to be a harmless single up the middle to J.D. Mundy. The very next batter though, Sam Fragale, scored what would be the winning run in an instant. The third baseman sent Rapp’s very next pitch well over the left field wall, putting BC in a four run hole.

“It was just a matter of their power hitters getting it done at the perfect time,” said head coach Mike Gambino.

Rapp didn’t get much help from his offense the entire game and ended up claiming the loss. The Eagles recorded exactly one hit in each of the game’s first seven innings, never stringing enough power together to get anything on the scoreboard.

It wasn’t until the eighth inning—after Owens had already added another insurance run on an RBI single in the seventh—that BC was able to put up a crooked number of its own. With Nic Enright on the mound, Gian Martellini lined a double to left center field that brought Jack Cunningham home for the Eagles’ first run. Martellini was eventually able to score after an off-balanced throw from Hokies shortstop Jojo Odachowski couldn’t find first base.

While the risky throw from Odachowski may have cost his team a run, in the end it didn’t matter. Jake Alu started the bottom of the ninth with a double deep in right center, but Graham Seitz was able to retire the next three batters for the save.

Baldelli may have ended Game Two on a strikeout swinging, but his ninth-inning heroics just three hours earlier had given BC a much needed win.

It was Dan Metzdorf on the mound for the Eagles to start the day, and the lefty didn’t come out until the very end. Metzdorf struck out 13 Hokies over eight innings—the most for BC in 11 years—not walking a single batter.

The power hitting for BC was also present in this one, as the Eagles recorded three homers in the game. In the third inning, back-to-back homeruns from Mitch Bigras and Jake Palomaki put the Eagles up two early on, and they didn’t look back until the ninth.

VTech got its first run of the game off a wild pitch from Metzdorf in the fifth and tagged reliever Sean Hughes for one more in the ninth. The Hokies loaded the bases with one out, but could only accumulate one run after Hughes walked Darion Jacoby, tying the game.

In the bottom half it was all Baldelli, the same guy who had robbed VTech of a homerun in center field minutes earlier in the eighth. After a walk, an intentional walk, and a hit by pitch, Baldelli recorded the first home run of his career in clutch fashion. The win gave BC its first conference series win of the season, and Baldelli a moment he will never forget.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

Video by Boston College Athletics

March 25, 2018