Baseball, Sports, Spring

BC Tallies Highest Run Total of Season, Outlasts Maine in Offensive Bonanza

Prior to Boston College baseball’s matchup against Maine on Tuesday, the team’s highest run total of the season was 14, and that effort came against Bethune Cookman on Feb. 24 in the series finale. In the first month of the season, the Eagles scored north of 10 runs on five separate occasions. But as conference play kicked in, BC encountered much more trouble in generating runs against tougher conference competition. From April onward, the Eagles only recorded more than 10 runs once—against Quinnipiac on April 10. With the 14-win Black Bears visiting town, there was hope that BC could snap out its scoring funk—even with leading hitter Sal Frelick sidelined for the rest of the season.

On Tuesday, the Eagles delivered. BC accumulated its most runs of the year, and though it could not stop Maine, the Eagles still emerged victorious by a 19-16 margin, the highest combined score in the two-year history of the Harrington Athletics Village.

The first inning was relatively non-discrete in comparison to the action that ensued in the following frames. Joey Walsh drew the start for the Eagles (27-25, 10-17 Atlantic Coast) and allowed no runs in the top of the first. Meanwhile, BC got on the board early, as Jack Cunningham drove in Jake Alu with a single.

Walsh was flagged for a run in the next inning when Maine’s (14-30, 10-10 America East) Mike Sabatine notched an RBI single. The Eagles quickly broke the tie thanks to a four-run second inning. After Lucas Stalman advanced to second on an error and a balk, Joe Suozzi and Chris Galland smashed back-to-back triples, driving in two runs. An Alu single drove in Galland, and after Maine starting pitcher Jacob Small put runners on the corners, he was subbed in for Matt Geoffrion. Geoffrion could not stop the bleeding. In fact, he walked Cunningham and threw a wild pitch, allowing Alu to cross home plate.  

But Maine blew the lid off in the third inning, building what appeared to be an insurmountable lead. Joe Mancini relieved Walsh, but the freshman struggled immensely in his appearance. His first pitch ended in a homer to right field off the bat of Hernen Sardinas. Mancini only logged one out during his stead on the mound as he gave up four more runs. Head coach Mike Gambino tabbed John Witkowski to replace Mancini, but the senior failed to quiet the Maine bats. Like Mancini, Witkowski only picked up one out while allowing five runs. After a Colin Ridley single, the Black Bears had tallied a total of 10 runs, prompting Gambino to make another pitching switch, this time to Travis Lane. The freshman delivered the final out, wrapping up the disastrous half-inning.

During the bottom of the third, Dante Baldelli helped the Eagles chip away at the deficit, as he blasted a two-run triple and then scored himself on a wild pitch. The Black Bears immediately responded, however, as Lane gave up four runs in the top of the fourth, courtesy of hits from Ryan Turenne, Sardinas, and Danny Casals. BC’s Gian Martellini kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot down the right field line, and Baldelli and Alu followed up with RBI singles to cut Maine’s lead to four. Alu finished the evening with three hits and two RBIs.

Thereafter, Maine would only score one run during the next five innings. Lane was replaced by Emmet Sheehan, who loaded the bases but struck out Jeffrey Omohundro to get out the inning. Lane came into the pitch the next two innings, only giving up one run in the process. The combination of Zach Stromberg, Sean Hughes, and Matt Gill kept the Black Bears in check and allowed the Eagles to hold on for the victory.

While the pitching tightened up, BC’s offense simultaneously began to churn out runs at a steady rate. In the fifth, Suozzi hit a two-run double to drive in Martellini and Brian Dempsey while Galland contributed a sac fly to cut Maine’s edge to one. Suozzi and Galland were phenomenal for the Eagles on the night, each recording three hits in five plate appearances while combining for six RBIs.

In the sixth, the Eagles tied the contest at 16 runs apiece, as they bullied Black Bear pitcher Dillon Stimpson. After Cunningham and Dempsey reached second and third, Stallman drilled a double to help BC knot the contest. And then in the following inning, the Eagles took a two-run lead, with Galland reaching home on a balk by Stimpson. Cody Morissette came to the plate next and hit a sac fly, which drove Baldelli in. BC tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth before Gill finished the game with a save, his sixth of the season.

BC’s offense was at its best, which is an encouraging sign, especially with the absence of star freshman Frelick. Six different batters had multi-hit games, and the team combined for 17 hits overall. Seeing life from the bats bodes well in the Eagles’ upcoming series against Notre Dame, one that will have major postseason implications.

The 12 best teams in terms of conference winning percentage make the ACC Tournament, and BC currently holds a two-game lead over Virginia Tech. Should the Eagles notch at least one victory against the Fighting Irish, they will clinch a berth in the ACC Tournament. And with strong hitting and two fearsome pitchers in Mason Pelio and Dan Metzdorf, it’s quite likely that BC could string together a run in the postseason.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

May 15, 2019