Boston College baseball came into its weekend series against Clemson with one of the most prolific offenses in the country, and the pattern continued with double-digit scoring on Friday night. But the tide changed on Saturday, as both teams needed length out of their starting pitchers, and they got it. Both starters went for 6.2 innings, and the bullpen was solid for both teams as well, making for a defensive battle.
The Eagles (12-10, 3-9 Atlantic Coast) fought hard with the Tigers (11-9, 6-6) all game, clawing back from a 3-1 deficit in the top of the seventh inning to send the contest to extra innings. It was then that BC fell apart, and Clemson exploded in the 10th inning for six hits and six runs, downing the Eagles 9-3.
Most of the game was a thriller between the fastball-throwing lefty Keyshawn Askew and right-handed off-speed specialist Emmet Sheehan. Askew came into Saturday’s game rolling for Clemson with only a 1.35 ERA on the season. Although Sheehan has had some ups and downs with a 5.08 ERA this season, his last outing against UNC was promising, and he kept up the progress on Saturday.
Although he hit the first batter of the game, Sheehan settled down and only gave up one hit through the first three innings. He worked his way around the strike zone by using the changeup to keep Clemson batters on their heels.
During the fourth inning, Clemson’s James Parker finally ended the scoreless start to the game with a solo shot that stayed just inside the left-field pole. His run seemed to shake Sheehan, who ended up hitting his next batter and giving up an infield single. With runners on first and second and only one out, it looked like the Tigers were going to pull away.
But Sheehan got the next batter to fly out and worked back from a 2-0 count to strike out the final batter and end the inning.
Although the two hottest hitters for the Eagles right now, sophomores Vince Cimini and Luke Gold, challenged Askew with two singles in the fourth, he got out of the inning clean once again.
At the beginning of the fifth inning, the Tigers continued to put pressure on BC’s defense. Elijah Henderson hit a rocket down the left-field line for his second double of the game. Clemson advanced him to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Parker stepped up to the plate in a big spot. Sheehan let a few pitches get away from him, walking Parker and allowing Henderson to score on a passed ball to make the score 2-0.
But Sheehan showed his toughness again, working out of the jam by using some high heat to strike out the next Clemson batter.
During the bottom of the fifth, the Eagles finally cracked Askew. Peter Burns started with a rocket up the middle, and Chris Galland and Sal Frelick followed Burns to load the bases up. With the table set, Cody Morissette earned the Eagles their first run on a fielder’s choice to bring the score to 2-1.
After a pitching battle in the sixth, Sheehan gave up his third and final run of the game when Parker hit a single up the middle. BC head coach Mike Gambino made his first call to the bullpen, ending the day for Sheehan, who finished with seven strikeouts and only three earned runs.
Sophomore right-hander Max Gieg came in for the Eagles, helping them come back from a 3-1 deficit. Although he looked shaky at first, Gieg settled in to get out of the two-out jam.
Askew’s day came to an end in the seventh after Galland once again got into scoring position and was sent home by Frelick to make the game 3-2. Askew posted a good outing with eight strikeouts and only two earned runs. He was replaced by lefty Geoffrey Gilbert, who gave up a hit initially, but also ended up finishing the inning without giving up a run.
After a walk by Gieg to start the eighth, Gambino made a surprising move, turning to his freshman in the bullpen. He started with lefty sensation Charlie Coon, who dominated the eighth and ninth innings, making the Clemson batters look uncomfortable at the plate. He ended up tallying six strikeouts and zero runs on only seven batters.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, the same could not be said for what is typically a very good bullpen. In the bottom of the eighth, Cimini hit another single in a 3-for-5 day at the plate. From there, freshman pinch hitter Travis Honeyman delivered in a crucial situation to get Cimini home on a sac fly, tying the game at three apiece.
Clemson coach Monte Lee went to his top reliever Nick Clayton, who turned things around.
After both teams were shut out in the ninth, Clemson finally cracked Coon, getting runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the 10th. Gambino turned to another freshman, right-hander Joey Ryan, to get the Eagles out of another jam. Unfortunately for Ryan, the Clemson bats finally capitalized with two doubles and two singles to bring home six runs.
Featured Image by Kristian Lamarre / Heights Staff