Sports, Spring, Baseball

After Mercy-Rule Loss, No. 17 BC Earns Walk-Off Win to Split Sunday Doubleheader Against No. 24 Wolfpack

After inclement weather on Saturday pushed the second game of No. 17 Boston College baseball’s three-game series with No. 24 NC State to a Sunday doubleheader, the two games quite literally could not have gone differently for the Eagles. The first game turned into a blowout loss, but the second featured an extra-inning walk-off with the bases loaded courtesy of outfielder Travis Honeyman. 

“Honestly, I’m not surprised with this group,” BC head coach Mike Gambino said. “They’ve shown all year that they respond no matter what gets thrown at them. They respond, so I’m not surprised. It says a lot about the toughness and grit and how much they care about each other.” 

After defeating NC State on Friday, BC (17–5, 6–3 Atlantic Coast) split Sunday’s doubleheader against the Wolfpack (17–7, 3–6), with the first game ending 12–2 in eight innings, and the second ending 8–7 in 10 innings. With their victory in the second matchup of the day, the Eagles clinched their seventh ranked win of the season. 

While the Eagles pitched their right-hander ace Chris Flynn in the first game, NC State put out its best starter in terms of ERA in Dominic Fritton for the second game, who let up one run in 4.1 innings of work. 

NC State broke the scoring stalemate in the third inning, driving in Parker Nolan on a sacrifice fly that almost cleared the center-field wall at Harrington Athletics Village. Chase Nixon drove in two more runs with a double, ending John West’s start after three innings. 

BC responded with a run in the fourth inning to make it 3–1 on a two-out rally and recorded another run in the fifth when Patrick Roche singled and flung around to third on a base hit from Honeyman. Joe Vetrano hit into a fielder’s choice that sent Roche home to make it 3–2. 

Nevertheless, NC State increased its lead in the top of the sixth inning, scoring four runs. Payton Green started the action with a home run off reliever Matthew Nunan. 

After Nunan gave up a double and hit a batter, BC brought in Joey Ryan, who let one of Nunan’s runners score and gave up two more runs of his own, continuing his recent relieving struggles. 

Behind an amped dugout, the Eagles responded ferociously in the bottom of the inning. Peter Burns posted a two-run single, and a two-run homer from Nick Wang snuck just over the left field wall to cut the Eagles’ deficit to one run.

Wang then hit his second home run to the hill in left field—which has become a popular seat for fans in recent games—tying the game 7–7 in the bottom of the eighth. 

Despite getting runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth inning, BC could not break the tie, and the doubleheader went to its 18th inning.  

Julian Tonghini’s 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10h sent the Eagles back up to bat yet again.

“You cannot overlook what Julian did,” Gambino said. “He was electric today. … We kept getting back to the dugout. It feels like a constant rally and he allowed us to do that.” 

Burns walked to first to leadoff in the bottom of the 10th inning, sending Wang up to the plate. While some might have expected the big right-hander to swing for the fences, Wang also walked, sending Burns to second.  

“[Wang had a] lead off walk in the 10th, I mean, that’s a bunt situation,” Gambino said. “And I looked at it and they walked him, but I just felt like we had the hardest hitter in the state of the plate. I just didn’t want to take the bat out of his hands.”

Barry Walsh beat an infield single to load the bases for Honeyman. NC State shifted its infield to try to get an out at home, but it couldn’t do anything about the fly ball that Honeyman belted to right field, which sent the final runner home for the 8–7 victory. 

The front end of the doubleheader started off well for BC, with a two-run home run from Vetrano putting the Eagles up 2–0 in the third inning. But nothing went right for the Eagles after that.

Green foreshadowed what was to come when he ripped an RBI single in the fourth inning to cut BC’s lead to 2–1. Flynn strung together two straight outs to conclude the inning mostly unscathed.

But the damage truly started when Cannon Peebles took Flynn deep in the sixth inning. Jacob Cozart then singled to right-center for two more runs to make it 6–2, and the Wolfpack never looked back. 

“I do think Chris Flynn will bounce back and here’s my message postgame: Flynn has been awesome, Schroeder’s been awesome all year, and they both scuffled a bit today,” Gambino said. “To me, you get blown on that first one, that’s an easy one to turn the page because that’s not gonna happen very often.”

NC State poured in six more runs in the eighth inning for a run-ahead rule 12–2 win—its only win of the series. 

March 26, 2023