Maybe it was the weather. In Coral Gables, Fla., it was mid-80s and sunny all week, but at game time in Boston on Friday, it was mid-50s with wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour. Maybe it was the new, sweeping maroon-and-gold “Boston College Eagles” on the left and right outfield walls. Or maybe Friday marked the fullest display of BC baseball’s potential so far this season.
The Eagles (18-21, 7-18 Atlantic Coast) stared down a Miami squad that was ranked as high as fifth in the nation a month ago and didn’t blink as they dealt the Hurricanes (23-14, 14-13) a 13-0 shutout defeat under the lights on Friday night.
The first inning set the tone for the rest of the night. Emmet Sheehan, BC’s righty starter, struck out two and stranded two, which turned out to be Miami’s best chance to score all night. BC, on the other hand, answered in the bottom of the first with a two-out, five-run rally.
Sal Frelick led off BC’s first turn at the plate with a single. After Brian Dempsey grounded out and Cody Morissette grounded into a fielder’s choice to put Frelick out at third, Miami starter Alejandro Rosario appeared to have the inning turned around.
Luke Gold shot a single up the middle, and Jack Cunningham then laced another single up the middle, scoring Morissette from second. Vince Cimini fought off a flyball into shallow right, good for a single and another Eagle RBI. Suddenly, the game was spinning out of Rosario’s control.
With two men on and two outs, BC right fielder Dante Baldelli stepped to the plate with a .311 average and 21 RBIs on the season. He promptly added three more, barreling an outside pitch that landed 400-plus feet later, hitting the batter’s eye beyond center field. As Baldelli crossed home plate and greeted his teammates at the dugout with an emphatic elbow high-five, the Eagles were up 5-0.
Sheehan breezed through the top of the second, striking out three Miami batters. His sole blunder was a pitch that hit designated hitter Raymond Gil.
BC picked up where it left off in the bottom of the second. Frelick singled again, this time to shortstop Dominic Pitelli, whose throw short-hopped first baseman Alex Toral, allowing Frelick to advance to second.
With two outs, Morissette crushed a liner into right field, giving right fielder Gabe Rivera almost no time to react. It bounced off Rivera’s outstretched mitt behind him, allowing Morissette to head to second and Frelick to score. Gold followed Morissette with another drive, hit right on the screws and up the middle for another RBI. After two, BC led 7-0.
Sheehan turned in four more easy innings, dominating a talented Miami lineup, limiting the ’Canes to a single hit in six innings. Striking out nine, five of them looking, Sheehan was in control for all of his 117 pitches. Adrian Del Castillo and Toral, both projected first-round picks in this year’s MLB Draft, went 0-4 off Sheehan with two strikeouts. The Eagles added one run both in the fourth and fifth innings thanks to leadoff doubles by Morissette and Daniel Baruch as well as RBIs from Cunningham and Frelick.
In the bottom of the seventh, BC added four more, on an RBI single by Frelick and a Morissette three-run homer to right-center, cementing a 13-run Eagle lead.
Freshman Joe Vetrano relieved Sheehan in the seventh and tossed three innings of scoreless ball, allowing only a single hit to shut out the Hurricanes. The 13-run margin was the largest defeat Miami has suffered all season.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor