Spring, Baseball

BC Holds Off Late Pitt Rally To Escape With 9–8 Win

As Boston College baseball’s Travis Honeyman left the dugout after the Eagles’ Saturday matchup against Pittsburgh, he walked away gingerly with a boot on his foot. You wouldn’t have thought that an hour earlier, the sophomore hit an RBI single with one out to tie the game at four apiece and keep BC’s four-run, sixth-inning scoring streak alive. 

But in a season in which injuries have plagued BC’s roster, Honeyman persevered and stepped up for the Eagles (14–17, 3–11 Atlantic Coast) in his first appearance in two weeks, helping BC to a 9–8 win over the Panthers. 

“I don’t want it to get lost what Travis Honeyman did today,” BC head coach Mike Gambino said after the game. “He’s been hurt. For him to limp up to the plate and get a big hit and limp back to the dugout, that’s pretty special stuff.” 

BC got out to an early 3–0 lead in Saturday’s contest, but Pitt (17–12, 6–7) recorded a four-run fourth inning to take a 4–3 lead. Tatem Levins and CJ Funk both homered in the Panthers’ fourth-inning effort. 

But the Eagles rallied in the sixth, starting with a single by Joe Vetrano. In the next at-bat, Parker Landwehr hit a rocket that rolled all the way to the left-field corner but stayed fair, good for a double that advanced Vetrano to third. 

Then it was Honeyman’s turn. He hit the ball to the opposite field to score Vetrano and tie the game at 4–4. Pitt’s Logan Evans walked Patrick Roche in the next at-bat to load the bases. 

After Sam McNulty flied out, Barry Walsh then doubled down the left-field line, clearing the bases and putting BC back up 7–4. 

The seventh and eighth innings were quieter for both squads, but BC remained tight on defense to prevent Pitt from closing the gap. 

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Vetrano tripled to right center but was left stranded on third, and the inning came to a close. The three-base hit was Vetrano’s second triple of the game, as he hit a shot to right field in the third inning for an RBI. Vetrano’s performance marked the first time a BC player hit two triples in the same game in nine years. 

“He’s been swinging it great—two really great swings in big spots,” Gambino said. “He can really, really hit, and he’s getting to the spot where you’ve got to game plan against him. … He’s still kind of getting the job done which is awesome to watch.”

BC scored two more runs in the eighth to go up 9–4 and was just three outs away from securing the win heading into the ninth. But BC’s comfortable lead quickly slipped away in the top of the ninth, as Pitt began to chip away at its deficit.  

With one out, BC pitcher Brendan Coffey hit a batter, and then BC recorded back-to-back errors to load the bases. Pitt’s Jeffrey Wehler stepped up, hitting a double that scored three runs and cut the lead to two. Then, Levins singled to score Wehler, and the Panthers were suddenly within one run. 

But the Eagles pulled through and turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, squeezing out their third ACC victory of the year. 

“A lot of stuff’s gotten thrown at them,” Gambino said. “I’m really proud of how the boys reacted today. … It got a little bit hairy at the end, but they kept going, so I was proud of them for that.”

Despite a messy finish, BC’s dugout remained loud throughout the game, and cheers from BC’s bench echoed throughout the stadium all nine innings long—even in times when the Eagles struggled. 

“I think there’s a very, very tangible closeness and bond in this group,” Gambino said. “The idea of a brotherhood is something that’s really important in the Jesuit tradition, and I think you can see in the dugout, you can see when you’re around these guys they take that seriously. This is a group that loves and cares about each other.”

Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff

April 10, 2022