Sports, Spring, Baseball

BC Dominates in Interdonato Debut, Defeat Ohio State 9–2

Tyler Mudd took the mound in the bottom of the fifth inning with a 3–2 lead over Ohio State Friday afternoon. When he walked up to the rubber, the Buckeyes’ box score read two runs on three hits. When Mudd walked off the mound with a win in the bottom of the ninth, those numbers remained unchanged. 

With a 9–2 opening-day win over OSU (0–1), Boston College baseball (1–0) is undefeated in the head coach Todd Interdonato era. The Eagles kicked off their season on Friday afternoon in Scottsdale, Arizona at the MLB Desert Invitational. New faces paved the way to victory for the Eagles, with five hitless innings of relief from Mudd and two RBIs on two hits from transfer John Collins standing out under the leadership of first-year head coach Interdonato. 

“This job means a lot to me,” Interdonato said after the game. “But at the same time, like I told the guys, I’m just ready to get through this. I like to compete. Getting the first one out of the way, you feel like you just kind of get that hoopla and all the buzz around it.”

For a team that suffered offseason losses of some of its most talented players and a large portion of its coaching staff, BC played nine innings of remarkably clean baseball. The Eagles committed just one error on the afternoon and walked only three batters with one hit-by-pitch. 

The only moment of uncertainty for the Eagles defensively came in the first inning. John West got the start for BC but struggled early on. The first OSU batter tripled on a hard-hit ball that deflected off the glove of centerfielder Barry Walsh running backwards near the warning track. He then promptly scored on a wild pitch as West walked two-straight Buckeye batters. With no outs, a run scored in the inning, and two runners on base, Interdonato brought the infield in and walked out to the mound. 

“Everything started so shaky,” Interdonato said. “Their guy goes 1,2,3 in the first, punches out two of your guys. [West] goes out, triple, wild pitch. All of a sudden we’re just in a bunch of crap.”

The mound visit put an end to any precariousness on West’s part. A 1–1 count saw a low slider from West slapped hard on the ground down the first base line. Kyle Wolff was ready and speared it on a hop before taking it to the bag for the first out. West did the rest himself. Two strikeouts to end the inning answered any questions raised by the lead-off triple and back-to-back walks as the Eagles came up the second still only one run down. 

“I just love the way he was able to compete out of that,” Interdonato said. “When we limited them to one run in the first I looked at one of our assistants and I said, ‘that’s going to win us this game.’” 

The break between the bottom of the first and top of the second inning was the only period of time the Eagles trailed the Buckeyes on Friday. When Cameron Leary stepped up to the plate in the top of the second, he walked to set the stage for a rally that would give the Eagles the lead. Vince Cimini followed the walk with a single to put runners on first and second, then Collins took his turn. The Middlebury transfer drove his first division-one pitch into left field for a two-RBI double. 

“He just let it rip” Interdonato said. “That was what we talked about all week—just let it go … allow yourself to be aggressive. He exemplified that. First pitch of his d-one career, he smoked it for two RBIs, so really proud of him.”

Mudd’s entrance into the game in the fifth inning sealed the game for the Eagles. Except for a walk in his first matchup of the afternoon, Mudd was perfect. He retired the last fifteen OSU batters in order, striking out five in the process. West struck out six and walked three in his four innings on the mound.

“Tyler [Mudd] had done that a bunch throughout the pre-spring” Interdonato said. “He was really good today. Especially when he fell behind in counts … We’re not surprised at all because we’ve seen that all pre spring out of him.”

With no OSU offense to worry about, the Eagles tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning and four in the eighth to finish the day with a 9–2 win. Nick Wang, Cimini, and Landwher each left the yard, but BC kept its offensive momentum alive between big hits with an aggressive, small-ball style of play. Three eagles recorded stolen bases, two bunted, and a successfully executed hit-and-run in the sixth inning turned a possible double play into runners on the corners. 

“Being able to bunt and being able to three-less-than-two—that’s sustainable” Interdonato said. “We’ve got some danger in our offense and ended up hitting three balls out of the yard today, which we have the talent to do. But hitting three home runs a game is not really sustainable. So we want to be able to have something to fall back on.”

February 17, 2024