Last season, Boston College baseball struggled mightily, winning just 17 games and missing the ACC Tournament for the second year in a row. In 2019, though, the Eagles have more than righted the ship, securing the 12th overall seed in the postseason bracket with room to spare, and that impressive turnaround was rewarded on Monday afternoon by a program record five players being named to All-ACC teams.
After landing just one player on last year’s All-ACC Third Team (Chris Galland, OF), BC saw career years from two seniors and an influx of three freshman in a stellar recruiting class earn nods this year. Starting pitcher Dan Metzdorf led the way with a First Team nod, outfielder Sal Frelick and second baseman Cody Morissette earned Second Team placements, and third baseman Jake Alu nabbed a Third Team placement. Then, Frelick and Morissette joined fellow first-year in starting pitcher Mason Pelio on the All-Freshman Team.
The Eagles tied with Miami and North Carolina State for the fifth-most selections of any conference team, but if you factor in the fact that BC had two freshman make an All-League team as well, the total of seven is tied for the most in the conference. The three players named to the All-Freshman team were the most of any team, an impressive trio that bodes well for years to come.
Metzdorf more than halved his ERA from last year, posting a 7-2 record and a 2.58 ERA in 11 starts. The senior southpaw from Burlington, Mass., was practically unhittable down the stretch, largely dominating the bulk of his conference opposition. En route to becoming the Eagles’ first First Team selection since Chris Shaw in 2014, Metzdorf led all pitchers in ACC play in ERA (2.70), was third in wins (6), and ninth in strikeouts (56).
He wasn’t the only senior to take a leap forward, though, as Alu rebounded from a shaky junior season—he hit just .216 and had an on-base percentage below .300. He was able to return to his sophomore year levels, hitting .351 for the second time in three years while playing all 55 games. Alu started the year at the back of the Eagles lineup but rapidly rose to the leadoff spot, setting a career-high .417 on base percentage while slugging 17 doubles and four home runs.
Frelick and Morissette mirrored Galland’s breakout freshman year from a season ago, putting the ACC on notice for the next few years with excellent seasons. While Frelick’s was cut short due to a knee injury, he still managed to hit .367 in 150 at bats with more walks than strikeouts and a team-high 22 stolen bases. Morissette, meanwhile, grew into his own as the season progressed and ended the year hitting an incredible .441 in his last 15 ACC games, raising his average to a final of .321 on the year. He led the Eagles with 20 doubles—the seventh-most in a single season in program history—and 38 RBIs as well.
Pelio, meanwhile, started conference play on a tear on the mound. BC won five of his first seven starts on the year, and he boasted a 1.64 ERA and a 4-1 record entering the second week of April. While he slowed down in his final five starts of the year, failing to make it past the fifth inning in all but one of them, Pelio still finished the year with a 3.82 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 66 innings of work. His .197 batting average against trailed only Louisville’s Reid Detmers, a First Team selection, and he limited a lot of hitters to weak contact, allowing just 12 extra base hits throughout the year.
All in all, it was a remarkable group of selections for the Eagles, who had a total of 12 selections in the previous 12 years combined. Breaking the 2009 record of four—a team that made the NCAA Tournament and was honored on Friday against Notre Dame in a 10-year reunion—is a notable feat for head coach Mike Gambino. His ability to get the most out of lesser-regarded prospects is worthy of applause, and with Galland returning next year, BC will boast four All-ACC selections and plenty of momentum to make some noise.
Featured Image by Delaney Vorwick / For The Heights