Sports, Spring, Baseball

Frelick goes 3–3 in MLB Debut, Records First Home Run in Third Game with Brewers

It didn’t take long for Sal Frelick to lift his first major league home run. 

The former Boston College baseball outfielder, who played for the Eagles from 2019 to 2021, has been turning heads ever since he stepped onto the field for the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, July 22. Frelick went 3–3 at the plate in his MLB debut, posting two RBIs in the Brewers’ narrow 4–3 win over the Atlanta Braves, the National League leaders who boast the best record in MLB. 

And on Monday, in a 3–2 victory against the Cincinnati Reds, Frelick put Milwaukee and the Reds into a 2–2 stalemate with his first-ever MLB solo shot. 

After going 0–2 to start the day, Frelick stepped up to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning. Cincinnati starter Graham Ashcraft generated a 1–2 count on Frelick and wound up for his delivery. Ashcraft lifted and fired, plunging a 97 mph cutter into the lower half of the zone. 

Frelick lifted his leadoff foot and planted firmly into the dirt. Almost in a crouching pose, the lefty batter deposited a deep high fly ball into right field, which sailed over Cincinnati’s Jake Fraley and into the second level of the grandstand at American Family Field. The lights flickered on and off to the tune of Frelick trotting around the bases with a fist pointed toward the sky. 

At a 27 degree launch angle, with a total distance of 384 feet, his game-tying solo home run accounted for his third RBI of the season in just three games played. His MLB debut, on the other hand, was even more noteworthy.

Positioned in the six-hole for his first MLB game, Frelick got off to a hot start in the bottom of the second inning when he reached on an infield single. Waggling his black-coated barrel, Frelick flicked an incoming changeup to the opposite side, where the Braves’ third baseman, Austin Riley, backhanded the grounder. Riley underhand threw to first base, but Frelick was way ahead of the ball and reached the bag with ease. 

The camera immediately panned to Frelick’s family, who were all standing up, clapping, and cheering from the stands. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning with no outs and no runners on base, Frelick looped a grounder which hugged the first-base foul line and crept into foul territory near right field. The ball was played safely as it ricocheted off the wall in right field and into the glove of Ronald Acuña Jr. Frelick then scored from third base to cut Milwaukee’s deficit to two runs off of a Brice Turang sacrifice fly. 

Still down 3–2 in the top of the sixth frame, Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna laced an opposite-field hit to right field, where Frelick was stationed. Backpedaling to the wall, Frelick leapt, casting his orange-brown leather over his head, and made the catch. Frelick fell to the ground as the Brewers’ crowd went berserk.

In the same inning, Frelick robbed what would have turned into an extra-base hit for a second time. With two outs this time, Frelick wandered all the way to deep right-center where he dove into the air and grabbed Orlando Arcia’s deep ball. “Frelick does it again!” could be heard on the play-by-play.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Frelick slapped another opposite-field single through the left side of the infield to score Jesse Winker for the Brewers’ third run of the night. His go-ahead sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth was lined to right field and into the glove of Acuña, but to no avail for the Braves. Willy Adames scored from third base to make it 4–3 Milwaukee. 

“Didn’t really have that much time to think about it,” Frelick said after the game. “It was surreal. Going out and hearing the fans say my name or get excited about a catch or a play at the plate—that’s what you dream about.” 

Milwaukee drafted Frelick, a Lexington, Mass. native, with the No. 15 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft. He became the second-highest draft pick in BC history and the sixth first-round selection from the program all-time. 

In the 2021 collegiate season, Frelick finished with a fielding percentage of 1.000 as BC’s primary center fielder, all while batting .359 in 195 at-bats. Frelick struck out just 28 times in the 2021 season alone and recorded an on-base percentage of .443. 

Before getting called up as the Brewers’ No. 2 prospect, Frelick slashed .247/.333/.342 with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. 

With his major league debut, Frelick joined Emmett Shehan as one of two former BC baseball players to make first-time MLB starts in 2023.

July 29, 2023