Sports, Spring, Baseball

Eagles Leave Too Many Runners on in Loss to Northeastern

After suffering back-to-back blowout defeats to Wake Forest to end the previous weekend, Boston College baseball found itself locked in a much different game against Northeastern on a brisk Tuesday afternoon in nearby Brookline. Runs were tough to come by for the Eagles, as the bats seemingly went cold for most of the afternoon. So, despite a favorable non-conference matchup against an inconsistent Huskies side, the Eagles fell, 4-2.

For BC (10-9, 2-4 Atlantic Coast), the offense came in waves. While it was a solid day for senior third baseman Jake Alu, who went 3-for-5, and a trio of freshman—Sal Frelick, Cody Morissette, and Peter Burns—each went 2-for-4, BC recorded just one hit outside of these four players. Early troubles resulted in a loss for freshman righthander Joe Mancini, as he surrendered two quick runs in his outing and the Eagles couldn’t rally.

Although it was not the result he wanted after throwing three solid innings last week against Holy Cross, Mancini is certainly showing signs of improvement as he begins to cement himself as a weekday starter. For Northeastern (10-10), starter Kyle Murphy was dominant in his three innings of work. Murphy was effective in generating outs via the ground ball and allowed just one hit with four strikeouts.

The Huskies opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first. After Mancini retired the first two batters, he gave up a Jake Farrell single and a Corey DiLoreto triple to drive in the first run. Diloreto, a redshirt freshman, continued his stellar start to the season, piling up seven extra base hits and 16 RBIs.

Northeastern tacked on another run in the second, putting BC in a quick 2-0 hole. Jeff Costello singled off Mancini and stole second. Michael Geaslen was then able to poke a single through the right side to score Costello. Mancini struggled early on but ultimately settled in and posted two scoreless innings to close out his day, scattering two hits and two earned runs over four innings of work.

The Eagles threatened early on but were not able to capitalize on their first few scoring chances. BC’s best opportunity early on came in the top half of the fourth when Northeastern brought in right-handed reliever Brandon Dufault on what turned into a bullpen day. Alu started the inning with his second base hit of the day, and Cunningham followed that up by drawing a walk in what began to look like a promising inning for the Eagles. Yet Gian Martellini grounded into a double play, and Morissette grounded out to second, ultimately negating the scoring chance.

BC finally got on the board in the fifth by stringing a few hits together. Burns led off the inning with a base hit, and Chris Galland, amid a tough offensive slump, was able to manufacture a single to put runners on first and second. Frelick then took a 1-2 pitch and drove it opposite field to bring in Burns, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

In the bottom of the frame, though, the Huskies got the run right back. Sean Hughes, entering in relief for Mancini, was able to retire the first two batters he faced. He surrendered back-to-back doubles to Ian Fair and Jake Farrell, however, and the hosts extended the lead to 3-1.

The Eagles pulled within one in the eighth, thanks to another spark from Alu, who led the frame off by ripping a pitch down the left field line for a double, his third hit of the game. Cunningham moved him over, and he scored on an RBI groundout by Martellini. After a rough offensive season in 2018, Alu has really come into his own this year, boasting an average of .347 thus far—a mark good for second on the team, trailing only Frelick (.403).

A combination of Joey Walsh, Thomas Lane, and John Witkowski were used the rest of the way from the last out of the fifth onward. Walsh was able to work around two errors and escape a dangerous bases-loaded jam in the sixth, which would have surely broken the game open. Lane was effective in the seventh, striking out two batters, but he lost his touch in the eighth. Two singles and a wild pitch allowed runners on the corners with no outs to start the inning. Lane was able to get one punchout, but pinch hitter Kyle Peterson won a seven-pitch battle and drove a single into right field, pushing the Huskies’ lead to 4-2. Witkowski came in and prevented further damage by getting a strikeout and a flyout, but it was too little, too late for BC.

Poor situational hitting proved to be detrimental for the Eagles. The lineup stranded 12 men on base for the game, batting a woeful .067 (1-for-15) with runners in scoring position. While both teams were evenly matched in terms of hits with 10 apiece, the Huskies found more timely hitting, and that was enough to result in a defeat for BC. It was a disappointing setback for the Eagles, their third straight loss, and even more so as midweek games are crucial to establishing momentum heading into tough conference play. BC has a chance to rebound against Siena on Wednesday afternoon, something it’ll need to do before welcoming in a Clemson side over the weekend that has taken five of its last six conference series dating back to last season.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

March 20, 2019