Baseball, Spring

Wake Forest Shuts Out Eagles in Series-Opening Doubleheader

It looked as if Boston College baseball had finally turned things around. After losing eight straight, including six to ACC opponents, the Eagles rattled off three-consecutive wins, conceding just a combined seven runs in the process. Once again, BC’s pitching staff delivered during Friday afternoon’s doubleheader against Wake Forest. The Eagles’ lineup, on the other hand, was a different story. Over the course of the two-game set, BC batters struck out a total of 26 times, recording a mere five hits and zero runs on the day.

Dan Metzdorf tried to put the Eagles on his back in Game Two, fanning nine Demon Deacons in his seven-inning start. Unfortunately for the junior, the two earned runs he gave up in the opening frame turned out to be the deciding factor, as Wake Forest shut out the Eagles for the second-straight game, 2-0, clinching the series in the first day of play.

Morgan Mcsweeney started on the bump for the Demon Deacons (16-20, 9-8 Atlantic Coast). He threw six scoreless frames, only allowing two hits and adding 11 strikeouts. The Eagles (12-21, 5-12) once again struggled to get anything going offensively. BC’s Metzdorf was dominant from the first inning on. In the opening frame, he conceded three singles and a walk, which led to an early 2-0 lead for Wake Forest. Besides that troubling inning, Metzdorf pitched efficiently before being signing off at the end of the seventh. BC’s sound defensive execution kept the contest close. Hard-throwing junior right-hander Thomas Lane heard his name called for the second time of the afternoon in the eighth.

In the bottom of the inning, sophomore outfielder Joe Suozzi got things going with an eight-pitch walk. He was 0-for-2 on the day, but displayed great plate discipline in his final at-bat. Dante Baldelli and Jack Cunningham followed, but couldn’t make anything out of the leadoff base runner.

Senior Zach Stromberg came in to pitch the ninth. Stromberg is part of an improved Eagles bullpen and has an impressive 2.70 ERA in 16 innings pitched. He struck out the side in the final frame to keep BC’s comeback bid alive. In their last at-bats, the Eagles hinted an offensive revival. Anthony Maselli, who pinch ran for Jake Goodreau in the inning previous, was hit by a pitch. Freshman outfielder Chris Galland recorded his second hit of the day past the second baseman. With two men on, sophomore infielder Brian Dempsey moved both runners, resting the Eagles’ fate in Scott Braren’s hands. But the pinch hitter struck out, and Wake Forest took the game.

BC didn’t fare much better in Game One. In fact, its margin of defeat was even worse in the series opener than it was in the tailend of the doubleheader. The Demon Deacons tacked on two runs in the fourth and added another in the seventh to secure a 3-0 victory.

BC batters found some of their stride offensively, tallying four hits—one of which came from shortstop Jake Palomaki. Chris Galland extended his hitting streak to eight games with two singles. He also grabbed another stolen base, upping his total to 24 on the season.

In the early going, the game resembled that of a pitcher’s duel. BC right-hander Jacob Stevens threw three shutout innings before finding trouble in the fourth. Demon Deacons designated hitter Shane Muntz started out the top of the fourth with a double to left followed by a hard-hit single by Michael Ludowig. With two on and one out, Stevens was unsuccessful in his attempt at a pick off to first base. The ball got away, and Wake Forest struck first. Demon Deacons catcher Logan Harvey followed the error with an RBI single to increase their lead to 2-0.

Despite the loss, Stevens had another solid start for the Eagles. Although surrendering eight hits, the junior logged six punchouts, one walk, and just one earned run.

If it wasn’t for Galland’s second-inning single, BC would have been staring at a no-hitter. In the same frame, the freshman swiped another base, maintaining his perfect steal percentage on the year. The Eagles did not threaten often offensively, due to a stellar pitching performance from Wake Forest’s Griffin Roberts. He threw eight shutout innings, only surrendering one hit and one walk. He also recorded 11 strikeouts on the day.

Solid relief pitching for BC came in the form of four different Eagles. Right-hander John Witkowski pitched the sixth and a portion of the seventh, giving up one run on three walks and a hit. Lane, Sean Hughes, and Stromberg rounded out the bullpen, conceding a combined zero earned runs over the course of the final three frames.

BC gave its ACC foe a scare in the ninth, as captain shortstop Jake Palomaki started off the inning with a walk. Palomaki advanced to second on a groundout from outfielder Dante Baldelli. The comeback was squandered by two flyouts from Gian Martellini and Jack Cunningham, though.

The Eagles’ pitching staff got the job done on Friday, only allowing three runs in the first game of the doubleheader and two in the second. Their bullpen pitched a combined seven innings without allowing a run. Their offense, however, came up short, recording just five hits on the day. Saturday’s series finale—a matchup preceded by the Harrington Athletics Village dedication ceremony—will come down to whether the Eagles can put two and two together.   

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

April 13, 2018

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