Before Tuesday, Boston College baseball had not fallen to UMass in consecutive games since 2013, and the Minutemen hadn’t defeated the Eagles in Amherst since that season. So, when the Eagles traveled to Earl Lorden Field in Amherst for what BC’s team Twitter account dubbed the “Unofficial Commonwealth Classic,” it represented a tradition: in all hopes, the annual celebration of BC coming out on top over UMass.
Both of those streaks came to an end Tuesday, as UMass defeated BC 3-2 in Amherst for the Minutemen’s second consecutive win over BC—the most recent which was on April 2, 2019. The UMass pitching staff silenced BC’s potent offense all game, and a wild pitch in the eighth put the Minutemen up for good.
The Minutemen struck first in the second inning. After UMass cleanup hitter Dylan Judd reached on a throwing error from Luke Gold––who made a spectacular play to knock Judd’s hard grounder down––BC starter Joey Ryan got two outs, inducing a ground ball from Mike Gervasi for a smooth 6-4-3 double play.
UMass first baseman Steve Luttazi fought off an inside pitch into shallow left with two outs and hustled for a double. With the lefty Michael Rounds coming to the plate, the Eagles put on a pull-side defensive shift.
Rounds smoked a single through the left side against the shift. His RBI single put UMass up by one after two frames.
BC answered in the fourth. Cody Morissette turned on an inside pitch, driving it into right and taking two bases as right fielder Rounds dove and missed the line drive. Gold advanced Morissette to third with a grounder to the shortstop, and then Jack Cunningham laced another grounder up the middle, scoring Morissette on an error by second baseman Aidan Wilde. Wilde mishandled the transition and double-clutched the throw as Morissette sprinted down the line home to score. With the run, BC tied the game at 1-1.
The Minutemen and Eagles traded blows in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth. After Wilde homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth, dropping the barrel on a low and away offering from Ryan, BC made two consecutive outs to begin its potential response.
With two outs and no men on, Gold singled into center, smoking an 0-2 pitch. Cunningham followed him with a walk. With a runner in scoring position, the Eagles’ second baseman Vince Cimini worked the count to 3-2, and on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, he chopped a grounder to UMass third baseman Josh Petrucci.
Petrucci misjudged the hop, as Cimini’s hit sailed over his head. Gold rounded third and scored, tying the game once more at two apiece.
Ryan finished six clean innings, giving up two runs, one of which was unearned, and with an efficient pitch count of 71. He handed it off to fellow freshman Joe Vetrano in the seventh.
Vetrano worked a perfect seventh, retiring the Minutemen in order. In the eighth, Vetrano got leadoff man Collin Shapiro to fly out to left for one out. Then, Kevin Skagerlind and Eddy Hart cracked consecutive opposite-field hits, putting two in scoring position. Cleanup man Judd was intentionally walked, and BC head coach Mike Gambino called on his graduate left-handed reliever Joey Walsh to navigate out of the jam.
Walsh got the first batter he faced to ground out to Gold at third, getting the second out at home. He fired two strikes to Luttazi to begin the count, but on the third pitch, Walsh pulled a slider, and BC catcher Parker Landwehr wasn’t able to block it in the dirt. Hart scored on the wild pitch, and into the ninth, the Minutemen held a 3-2 lead.
The lead would hold. UMass’s Tucker Wittman turned in a second scoreless inning in relief, as BC’s Dante Baldelli, Daniel Baruch and Landwehr went down in order.
Featured Image Courtesy of BC Athletics