Sports, Baseball

Sheehan Shines, Eagles Blank Irish In Series Opener

After No. 6 Notre Dame’s first three batters reached base in the first inning, prospects looked bleak for Boston College baseball, particularly for BC’s starter on the mound Emmet Sheehan. Sheehan didn’t seem to notice the bind he was in—or maybe he did and it made something click—but either way, he punched out the next three batters to leave them loaded.

Chalk it up to settling his nerves, or perhaps Sheehan just needed an extra warm-up, but after the first three at-bats, Notre Dame never saw that same level of success. BC (16-19, 6-16 Atlantic Coast) hosted Notre Dame (18-8, 16-8) in the first of a three-game series, and the Fighting Irish barely put up a fight, as the Eagles blanked them 10-0. 

“That [first inning] was huge,” Sheehan said after the game. “We went in there with a game plan, but it was tough with a couple of kids putting good swings on the ball and then walking the next guy, but after that I just tried to lock it in and make better pitches, and it worked out.”

The Eagles matched Notre Dame’s offensive firepower with center fielder Sal Frelick, shortstop Brian Dempsey, and second baseman Cody Morissette all reaching base to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Unlike the Irish, BC capitalized with runners on, with third baseman Vince Cimini flying out to right field to score Frelick, giving the Eagles an early 1-0 lead. 

In just his second start of the season, left fielder Daniel Baruch stroked an opposite-field solo shot down the right-field line that cleared the wall, marking the first home run of his college career and giving BC a 2-0 lead after two innings. 

In the bottom of the third inning, with runners on first and second, designated hitter Ramon Jimenez launched a home run similar to that of Baruch, clearing the bases and bringing the Eagles’ run total up to five. 

BC once again found itself with the bases loaded and no one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jimenez singled to drive in Morissette, and right fielder Dante Baldelli followed Jimenez with a single of his own up the middle to bring Cimini and first baseman Jack Cunningham home. Catcher Peter Burns then laced a double down the left-field line to score Jimenez and give the Eagles a commanding 9-0 lead.

Morissette sent one into orbit in the bottom of the sixth inning, launching a solo shot well over the right-field fence to put the Eagles’ run total into double digits. As soon as the ball left the bat, Morissette stopped and stared, capping it off with a bat flip. 

In the first series-opening start of his career, Sheehan was masterful. He fanned 10 Irish hitters, walking five, and allowing just three hits through 6.1 shutout innings. His one jam proved to be his shining moment, stranding runners on every base by striking out three consecutively in the first inning. 

Sheehan doesn’t typically pitch on Friday nights, but he said his mindset wasn’t any different coming into this game. 

“[It] really wasn’t,” Sheehan said. “It was the exact same it has been the entire season, the only change was that I had one less day [of rest] in between, but really other than that it was all the same of going out there to attack.”

Freshman Joe Vetrano relieved Sheehan, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings to secure the shutout. 

Friday night wins have been hard to come by lately for the Eagles, with their last being an 8-2 victory over Auburn all the way back on March 5. 

“There was a really good feel in the dugout,” BC head coach Mike Gambino said. “I’m really proud of this group and how it seems at times we’ve had a little bit of tough luck, and their attitude is awesome. They’re playing hard and they’re staying together. I was proud of how they reacted to everything, and they got paid off tonight.”

Featured Image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff

April 24, 2021