Sports, Spring, Baseball

Walsh Clutch In Relief To Snap Losing Skid

Going into Sunday’s series finale against No. 18 Florida State, Boston College baseball had been waiting quite a while to get a win. The Eagles came into the weekend on a three-game losing streak, and, after dropping the first two games of the series in convincing fashion, their winless streak was inching to almost two weeks long.

Two lengthy weather delays stretched out BC’s dry spell just a little bit longer, but over five and a half hours after the game had originally been scheduled to start, the Eagles (15-18, 5-16 Atlantic Coast) finally put the finishing touches on a 5-3 victory over Florida State (18-13, 12-9) and got back in the win column. For the first time in what felt like ages, the storm clouds—both literal and metaphorical—finally lifted.

The game was slated to begin at 1 p.m., but the first pitch didn’t come until 3:32 p.m., as rainy conditions in Tallahassee forced the grounds crew to get the tarp out.

After the first two innings passed quietly thanks to strong pitching from BC starter Alex Stiegler and Seminoles’ hurler Conor Grady, the Eagles struck first with a pair of runs in the third. 

Dante Baldelli led off the inning with a stand-up triple and the Eagles were the beneficiaries of some good luck, as an error by Nander De Sedas on a ground ball from Peter Burns allowed Baldelli to score. 

Cameron Leary’s groundout advanced Burns to third, and Sal Frelick put the second run on the board off a fielder’s choice. 

The Seminoles came roaring right back in the next frame, however, as Matheu Nelson stroked a double to lead off the inning. Robby Martin followed it up with a two-run shot over the left-field wall and off the scoreboard. 

Stiegler’s struggles continued in the fifth inning. He walked the first two batters of the inning, and he advanced the runners on a wild pitch. Despite Stiegler sending the next two batters back to the dugout, BC head coach Mike Gambino had seen enough and turned the ball over to Joey Walsh, who got BC out of the jam. 

Stiegler ended his day with a final statline of 4.2 innings thrown, six baserunners allowed, and four strikeouts. It was the third outing in a row in which he allowed three runs or fewer, showing a promising return to his early strong form after a couple of rough outings in March.

BC took the lead again in the fifth off a pair of hits from its usual suspects. Frelick hit a two-out double into the right-field corner, and Brian Dempsey scored him on a single to right field.

The rain returned after the conclusion of the fifth inning, and the two teams returned to their dugouts once more. While college rules dictate that games can be called for weather-related reasons as long as five innings have been completed, the rain subsided after about an hour and the game continued. 

The Eagles’ bats stayed warm despite the delay, and BC doubled its lead in the sixth off of a pair of hits from Ramon Jimenez and Jack Cunningham, and a sacrifice fly from Baldelli.

Florida State cut the deficit to one once again in the seventh after Walsh walked a pair of batters and allowed an RBI single to Nelson, but BC pushed the lead back to two in the eighth off a homer from Lucas Stalman—the first of his career.

The one-run shot was Stalman’s first RBI of the season and came on just his eighth at-bat of the year. Stalman featured in all three games against the Seminoles due to Luke Gold’s absence from the lineup. 

Walsh kept things interesting in the ninth by allowing a pair of walks but got back-to-back flyouts to end the frame. Walks were a problem all day for Walsh, as six Seminoles saw ball four during his 4.1 innings of work. He was nearly perfect apart from that and allowed just one hit while striking out four. He received credit for the win, while Florida State starter Grady took the loss.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Senior Staff

April 18, 2021