In Boston College baseball’s contest against UMass in the Beanpot championship, Billy Beane’s Moneyball theory—that players with a higher on-base percentage are more valuable than those with lower on-base percentage, even when those with the latter hit more home runs and were stronger or faster—played out.
In its 14–10 victory over the Minutemen (14–10–1, 5–1 Atlantic 10), BC (15–18, 3–12 Atlantic Coast) posted runs in six consecutive innings, though the Eagles reached base mostly in unconventional ways. While BC’s lineup registered 12 total hits, its players reached first on eight walks and were hit by a pitch six times. And after defeating Northeastern in the Beanpot semifinal 4–2 a week prior, the Eagles eked out the championship win and hoisted the Beanpot trophy.
“It’s great any time you get a chance to win a trophy,” BC head coach Mike Gambino said after the game. “I mean, [BC men’s hockey coach Jerry] York talks about trophy season, right? Anytime you get to win a championship it’s fun, and you see the guys are excited too.”
After Travis Honeyman doubled to right center in the leadoff position in the first inning, Cameron Leary and Luke Gold both struck out. With two outs, Joe Vetrano stepped up to the plate and delivered a single to right field, sending Honeyman home to open the scoring.
From there, BC’s lineup recorded at least one run in six of the next eight innings, and it all started with getting a man on base—not only because of hits, but through hits, walks, and being hit.
The Eagles’ nine runs in the span from the top of the third inning to the bottom of the seventh included the game’s only home run, a solo shot from Gold that he sent into the evergreen trees beyond left field.
But UMass posted a six-run third inning to take a 6–2 lead and tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the eighth inning, Rafe Chaumette ripped a single off UMass reliever Blake Bennett for his second hit of the day. Daniel Baruch came in to pinch run for Chaumette and stole second. Next to bat was Patrick Roche, who was hit by a pitch and reached first. Then, Sam McNulty hit a sacrifice bunt to advance the baserunners but was thrown out at first.
Baruch scored on a sacrifice fly from Barry Walsh, evading the tag at the plate.
And then, something out of the ordinary happened.
Lucas Stalman came in to pinch hit for Honeyman and walked on an errant pitch. But landing first base wasn’t enough for him. Stalman, almost mockingly, baited the Minutemen’s catcher, Dylan Judd, and headed for second base.
It took a moment for the crowd at Harrington Athletics Village to fully take in what was happening, but just as Judd threw to second base in a panic, and Stalman got caught between first and second in a rundown, Roche started sprinting home. Roche slid safely into home, and the Eagles led 12–8.
BC’s seven relievers combined to give up five hits, three earned runs, and 10 strikeouts in six innings. Starter Luke Delongchamp allowed eight hits, six earned runs, and three strikeouts in the first three innings pitched.
“Once you get that lead, it’s just attack, attack, attack,” Gambino said. “Just like this offense, [the pitching’s] gonna go right, this thing’s gonna bang. These guys are gonna bang, so we just need the bullpen to just keep getting us back in.”
Inning after inning, the bullpen made quick work of UMass, but on offense, it was a slugfest. BC’s pitching uplifted its lineup on the defensive side of the ball.
“I mean, if you look at the number of injuries and crazy things that have happened to this club this year, they have every reason to hang their heads,” Gambino said. “You get two captains out half the year, but it’s just really tightly knit and you can see it. They love it. They love being out there, and you know they’re playing in harmony.”
Featured Image by Vikrum Singh / Heights Senior Staff