Sports, Spring, Baseball

Clemson Bats Overpower BC in Offensive Outpour, Take 1-0 Series Lead

Boston College baseball started its series opener against visiting Clemson on the right foot, posting eight runs within the first two innings. BC hitters significantly quieted down for the remainder of the game, however, allowing the Tigers (10-9, 4-6 Atlantic Coast) to show off their offense as they played catchup. Eventually, Clemson broke out for seven runs in the seventh inning to take the lead, and BC (12-8, 3-7) fell 16-12.

Brian Dempsey jump-started the game for the Eagles with a leadoff home run. Jack Cunningham ripped a single a couple of at-bats later to score Sal Frelick from second, and Luke Gold then found home on a Vince Cimini single. Righty Jackson Lindley got Cameron Leary to foul out and Peter Burns to strike out looking to end the inning, but plenty of damage had already been done.

In the top of the second, the Tigers rattled right-hander Mason Pelio. Pelio struggled to find the first out, giving up two singles, hitting a batter, and walking another before striking out Dylan Brewer. In the next at-bat, Clemson cut its deficit down to one when James Parker ripped a single to drive in Max Wagner. Caden Grice then crushed a bases-clearing double to put the Tigers up 5-3, and a sacrifice fly drove him home to expand Clemson’s lead to 6-3.

The Eagles promptly responded with their own chunk of runs to regain the advantage. Dante Baldelli led off the inning with a double, and a double from Frelick drove him in. Cody Morissette, whose bat has been cold lately, brought Frelick home with a single as well. Frelick went 4-for-6 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base in the game. 

Down 6-5, Leary ripped a single to right field to score Gold and Cunningham and put BC in the lead again. Burns singled to bring in Cimini, extending BC’s lead to 8-6, so Clemson head coach Monte Lee pulled Lindley in favor of righty Rob Hughes, who escaped the jam. Lindley struggled mightily against BC, giving up a staggering 10 hits and eight runs in just 1.2 innings.

In wild contrast to the first two innings, the third and fourth passed without a change on the scoreboard. Pelio struck out all three batters he faced in the fourth.

Morissette showed more signs of escaping his funk in the fifth with a single up the middle for two RBIs to extend BC’s lead to 10-6. BC head coach Mike Gambino pulled Pelio to open the sixth despite the fact that the pitcher had found a rhythm. The six-run second inning was a blemish on his resume, but Pelio finished with seven hits, six runs, five strikeouts, and three walks over five innings on the mound.

Lefty Joey Walsh entered for relief and hit the second batter he faced. He then gave up two singles to allow Clemson to cut its deficit to two. Clemson’s Hughes put up fantastic numbers in relief, only allowing two runs, two hits, and two walks while punching out six batters in 3.2 innings. He was taken out in the sixth for Evan Estridge, who would secure the win for the Tigers.

The game flipped back in the top of the seventh, as Clemson exploded for seven runs. Walsh obtained the first two outs of the inning without giving up a run, but he also walked two batters and hit another one, allowing the tying run to reach second with the bases loaded. 

Parker sparked the rally by tying the game at 10 with a two-RBI single. In the next at-bat, Grice cleared the bases again with a triple to put the Tigers up 12-10. Walsh gave up another single and then a double, and Gambino, at last, pulled him for freshman John West. 

After walking two batters, Gambino replaced Walsh with Brian McMonagle, who secured the third out, but only after the damage was already done. BC pitchers gave up a combined four hits, five walks, and seven runs within the inning to allow Clemson to run away with the lead at 15-10.

In the next inning, Grice picked up another RBI with a single to extend the Tigers’ lead to 16-10. Grice had a stellar performance, going 4-for-6 with seven RBIs and two runs, and he was just one home run shy of hitting for the cycle. The Eagles chipped away at Clemson’s lead in their half of the eighth thanks to a series of walks and a pinch-hit RBI single by Ramon Jimenez, but it simply was not enough.

Featured Image by Kristian Lamarre / Heights Editor

March 28, 2021