Sports, Top Story, Baseball

Fans Show Up, but Eagles Fall at Fenway in ALS Awareness Game

With 94 total pitches, five earned runs, and six walks by the end of the fourth, Boston College baseball starter Dan Metzdorf’s day was surely over—at least that’s what everyone thought. The junior stepped back on the mound for the fifth in a tie game, head coach Mike Gambino trusting the junior to redeem himself. A first pitch single to left suggested otherwise, yet Metzdorf persisted.

“I realize I kept him in too long today,” Gambino said. “That one’s on me.”

Only after he issued his seventh walk of the game to the next batter was he finally pulled for Joey Walsh, who immediately allowed a Nick Derr RBI double to the right center gap. Walsh wasn’t able to get out of the jam in the same way Metzdorf had an inning prior. Three more runs came in for Florida State, and the four-run lead eventually carried the Seminoles to a 13-7 win, BC’s first loss in the ALS Awareness game in four years.

At the start of the game, the Eagles (13-25, 5-15 Atlantic Coast) couldn’t wait to get the offense going in front of a packed crowd of over 5,400 at Fenway Park—nearly 2,000 more fans than BC has ever had in the annual contest honoring Pete Frates, BC ’07. Taking advantage of three early walks by FSU (28-12, 10-9) starter C.J. Van Eyk, the Eagles loaded the bases for Dante Baldelli. The sophomore roped a ball past the right of the shortstop, scoring Jake Palomaki and Chris Galland for an early 2-0 lead.

In the top of the second, BC was the one issuing free bases. Cal Raleigh and Drew Mendoza both reached on walks, and the next batter, Steven Wells, was then able to take advantage of Fenway Park’s unique field dimensions. A shallow bloop hit along the right field line took an FSU bounce up and into the stands for a ground rule double, scoring Raleigh. The Seminoles would score again on back-to-back grounders to Palomaki at shortstop, who decided to concede two runs instead of forcing the ball home, getting much needed outs.

Anthony Maselli crushed the first solid hit of the game in the third, sending Wells running backwards in right field for a sliding double. Palomaki followed with a single to right and stole second to put two runners in scoring position for the red-hot Galland, but the freshman would end up using his feet to make a scoring play for the Eagles. Following a walk, Dante Baldelli sent a grounder toward first base with the bases loaded. Galland appeared to shield first baseman Rhett Aplin from fielding the ball, allowing it to get through to right field. Maselli then scored, and Palomaki beat the throw to the plate as the ball got away from Raleigh at the last second. Galland attempted to score all the way from first—FSU was unable to locate the ball. The risk paid off for Galland, just beating the throw from the backstop to the plate and retaking a two-run lead for the Eagles.

Just when things starting looking good for BC, the tide turned again. A walk and an RBI double from Aplin brought the Seminoles within one, and Metzdorf proceeded to load the bases by hitting one batter and walking another. A strikeout and groundout later, though, and the Eagles were able to preserve their lead.

FSU started the third with reliever Tyler Ahearn after Van Eyk allowed five runs and five walks through just two innings. The move was just what the Seminoles needed, with Ahearn not allowing a hit to 10 consecutive Eagles. BC may have wished it used the same strategy. Metzdorf began the fourth with a walk, a double just a hair shy of the top of the Green Monster, a sacrifice fly to tie the game, and another walk. His disastrous fifth inning essentially put the game away, and FSU was able to ride Ahearn through the sixth inning.

After Metzdorf’s disastrous fifth inning, the Seminoles tacked on three more insurance runs in the sixth to push their lead to seven. A triple to the right field corner by Codi Johnson brought in Mendoza and Wells—who crossed the plate for the third time in three at bats.

Ahearn let up a bit in the sixth. A wild pitch scored Joe Suozzi, who had led off with a single up the middle, but the next two Eagles went down swinging to extinguish any comeback bid BC had in mind.

From there, things ended quietly. With shade beginning to traverse the entirety of the stadium and game excitement dwindling, fans began to trickle out of the gates. BC and FSU crossed the plate just once each in the last three innings of play. A groundout to third brought Suozzi home in the eighth for BC, but the run was meaningless outside the score card. The Eagles are now left wondering how to mend their defense with Metzdorf falling to 0-6 on the season.

Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Staff

April 21, 2018