Boston College baseball (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) and No. 25 Duke (2-3, 0-1) opened up ACC play with the first of a three-game set on a rainy Friday afternoon in Durham, N.C. According to NCAA rules, an official game must last at least five innings, which set the stage for a dramatic fifth inning as the rain got heavier and the radar showed no signs of stopping.
The Eagles’ offense exploded for three runs in the fifth to take their first lead of the game, but Duke responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning to tie the game right before the tarps came out. Had the Eagles maintained their one-run lead following the completion of the fifth inning, they would have tallied their first ACC win and remained unbeaten even without playing all nine innings, but since it was tied, the show had to go on. When play resumed almost 24 hours later, the Eagles outscored the Blue Devils 5-1 and recorded their first ACC win by a final score of 10-6.
With rain in the forecast, BC head coach Mike Gambino opted to hold out on throwing ace Mason Pelio in anticipation of a postponement. Redshirt senior Joey Walsh took the hill for the Eagles instead of Pelio—the ACC Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Walsh struck out two in his 3.2 innings of work giving up four runs—two of which were earned—on five hits and two walks. For the Blue Devils, Cooper Stinson got the start and pitched four innings, surrendering four runs on five hits and five walks while striking out just one.
The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a two-RBI single from junior left fielder RJ Schreck in the bottom of the first. The runs were deemed unearned following a passed ball from catcher Peter Burns. The Eagles wasted no time and knotted the game at two in the top of the second following an RBI double from DH Ramon Jimenez and a 107-mile-per-hour line-drive RBI into left from Dante Baldelli.
A two-run blast over the left field wall from Duke first baseman Chad Knight was the lone homerun of the game, and it gave the Blue Devils the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Yale graduate transfer Alex Stiegler came in to relieve Walsh and struck out three batters in his 1.1 innings of work, though he gave up one run on two hits.
As Sal Frelick dug in for the Eagles in the top half of the fifth, the Eagles trailed 4-2. Timely hits from Burns and Luke Gold helped the Eagles’ offense explode to a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
Schreck delivered his second RBI single and third RBI to tie the game at five apiece. The tarps went out following the conclusion of the fifth inning and only came off the next afternoon.
BC lefty Joe Vetrano, who was originally scheduled to get the ball in game three, was tasked with “starting” in the sixth inning. After a scoreless sixth, Schreck added to his collection of RBI singles to give Duke the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Knight doubled off Vetrano, which ended his afternoon with a stat line of 1.2 innings pitched, six hits, one earned run, and no strikeouts. Freshman Joey Ryan, in his collegiate debut, relieved Vetrano. Ryan hit his first batter and walked the next, which loaded the bases for Duke, but he got out of the jam as second baseman Wil Hoyle lined out to Frelick.
The Eagles didn’t take long to respond with an RBI double from Jack Cunningham that brought Frelick home, which knotted the game at 6. Gold picked up his fourth RBI of the game with a one-out, two RBI double to propel the Eagles to an 8-6 lead in the eighth. Duke head coach Chris Pollard took the ball from Marcus Johnson in favor of freshman left-handed pitcher Luke Fox, who got out of the eighth inning jam. The Eagles added some insurance runs going into the final frame thanks to a costly two-out, two-run error from Hoyle on a sharp groundball from Cunningham to pick up two more RBIs.
Sophomore Max Gieg came on to close for the Eagles and retired the Blue Devils with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis/ heights senior staff