Sports, Top Story, Spring, Baseball

Eagles Avoid Shut Out, Still Embarrassed in Second Straight Game by Cardinals

At the beginning of every inning, Louisville’s Nick Bennett makes sure to complete a ritual. The star Cardinals pitcher steps to the back of the mound, squats down, and brings his hat to the ground. From there, he prays to his late grandfather and writes his initials in the dirt.

It seemed to bring Bennett good luck on Saturday afternoon. The sophomore was perfect through six innings before Anthony Maselli saved his team from embarrassment with a line drive single to right center. The damage had been done against Boston College baseball by then, though. By the time it was all said done, Louisville finished the middle game of the series with an 11-3 win.

For BC (15-30, 6-20 Atlantic Coast), Dan Metzdorf’s woes continue. The Eagle starter, now 1-7 over 11 starts this season, had his worst performance of the season against the red hot Cardinals (32-14, 12-11). By the time he was removed from the game in the middle of the fourth inning, the junior had let up nine earned runs, thrown two wild pitches, committed a balk, and hit three batters. To make matters worse for Metzdorf, after knocking off the helmet of Drew Campbell with an errant fastball, Matt Gill came in relief and immediately retired two batters to end the inning.

Metzdorf’s day didn’t start well either. Within minutes Louisville was already on the board. Three straight hits to start the game, including a sneaky bunt single to the right side by Jake Snider, brought in a run. After a walk, the first mound visit of the game foreshadowed what was to be a long day for BC. The meeting on the hill was supposed to take some of the pressure off of Metzdorf, but the exact opposite happened. On the very next pitch—with the bases loaded—Josh Stowers was hit by a pitch to let in another run.

Even Metzdorf’s first strikeout of the game didn’t go smoothly. With two strikes on him in the second inning, Justin Lavey whiffed on strike three, but so did the glove of backup catcher Jake Goodreau. Lavey ended up successfully sprinting over to first base, yet fortunately for the Eagles, Jake Palomaki was able to make the assist on a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning two batters later.  

Lavey was able to take advantage of another Metzdorf mistake the very next inning. BC’s southpaw was tagged with a balk to send Pat Rumoro to second, but it didn’t matter. Rumoro was able to continue his walk around the bases when Lavey sent the following pitch 30 feet over the left field wall. The deep shot with two outs capped a four-run inning for Louisville, and the blunders would only continue for BC.

Metzdorf started the fourth with another hit by pitch, and Devin Mann followed by hitting a shallow pop up to right field that three different Eagles couldn’t get underneath. Mann ended up with a double in the stat sheet, but it looked much more like an error.

A lined single to left brought two more Cardinal runs in, but Metzdorf remained on the mound. Only after pegging Campbell did head coach Mike Gambino finally pull the plug, but by then the game was well out of reach.

Gill performed marvelously in his 3.2 inning appearance. The sophomore allowed no runs and just three hits, and on three separate occasions was able to field well struck balls for outs with impressive reflexes. His work was well earned, and his 1-2-3 sixth may have inspired an offensive run, too.

Maselli’s single to start the bottom half of the inning cracked the floodgates Bennett had been dealing behind all game. Jake Alu soon followed up with a single to right of his own, and Palomaki’s line drive to center got BC its first run of the game.

The sixth inning wasn’t the only bright spot for the Eagles. Louisville got Sean Hughes for two more runs to bring its lead to double digits, but with Bennett off the mound in the eighth, the pressure soon turned to Gavin Sullivan. The freshman pitcher was taken out after just eight pitches, walking two batters.

Senior Rabon Martin didn’t fare much better. Alu singled up the middle for his second hit of the game, and Palomaki walked in for another Eagle run. Chris Galland followed with an RBI single for BC’s third run of the game, but the rally stopped there.

Once Brandon Stone struck out to end the game, Bennett officially notched his sixth win of the season. Meanwhile, BC still doesn’t have a starter with more than three, and it finished the game with Mitch Bigras—traditionally a first baseman—on the mound. Only a win in the series finale Sunday afternoon can salvage what has been a devastating spell for the Eagles, in which they’ve lost seven of their last nine games.

Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor

May 5, 2018

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