Sports, Spring, Baseball

Eagles Downed by UT Arlington 11–6 in Series Opener

In Boston College baseball’s first official road game of the 2024 season, BC’s ace, John West, and Texas Arlington’s Zach Norris took the mound under the Friday night lights in Arlington, Texas. Norris ended up winning the showdown, though, and kept the Eagles’ offense at bay for the majority of the affair.

Norris pitched seven innings for UT Arlington (3–3) and struck out 13 batters, guiding the Mavericks to an 11–6 victory over BC (2–2) to take the first game of a three-game series at Clay Gould Ballpark.

“We knew their starter was really good, and we knew he was going to do a good job holding us down [on offense], so we felt like we had to do the same on our side, and we were unable to do that,” BC head coach Todd Interdonato said.

After the first inning went by scoreless, UT Arlington struck first in the bottom of the second. The Mavericks’ Tyce Armstrong led off with a single, but infielders Sam McNulty and Vince Cimini made two putouts at second, giving the Eagles two outs with a man on first.

JD Moreno kept the inning alive for the Mavericks when he lined a single into right field on a 1–2 count, turning over the order to the leadoff man and WAC preseason all-conference outfielder, Garrison Berkley.

Berkley, who posted a line of .365/.457/.976 for the Mavericks last season after transferring from TCU, worked the count to 3–1 against West. On the 3–1 fastball, Berkley belted a fly ball for a three-run home run over the left field wall, giving UT Arlington a 3–0 lead.

But West appeared to remain poised and pitched two more scoreless innings before he handed the ball to Matthew Nunan to take over in the fifth inning.

The Mavericks scored two runs in the fifth inning, and added six more in the sixth, sending 11 batters to the plate in a half-inning which lasted a half hour. The Mavericks extended their lead to 11–0 after four walks issued between Nunan and Brian McMonagle, and RBIs from Tyson Pointer, Armstrong, Tate Bethel, and Cade Sumbler.

The Eagles’ offense showed flashes of energy late in the game, though. Cameron Leary homered in the top of the seventh, his first of the season. The home run gave the Eagles their first run of the day, after UT Arlington starter Norris threw six scoreless frames up until that point. Norris bounced back, though, striking out Cimini, Parker Landwehr, and Cam Caraher in order.

“[Norris is] very complete,” Interdonato said. “He throws a lot of strikes, he commands his off-speed pitch, he elevates his fastball, he controls the running game, he fields his position. He’s a very, very complete, competitive pitcher.”

BC showed other promising signs for the rest of the weekend in the last three innings, as freshman Kyle Kipp and graduate transfer Stephen McLendon each threw an inning without allowing a baserunner, and after Leary’s second home run of the game in a five-run eighth inning for the Eagles, the score was 11–6.

While the Eagles’ rally did not continue in the final inning, Interdonato saw positives in BC’s performance in the last third of the game.

“The two guys who threw for us, Kipp and McLendon, put a good blueprint on the field, in terms of getting ahead with fastballs and off-speed,” Interdonato said.”

The 1–6 loss means the Eagles will have to win both remaining games on Saturday and Sunday to win the series, but for BC, this is nothing new––last year’s team won five series after losing the first game. Interdonato said he knew about the trend and hoped it could be replicated for the remainder of this weekend.

“I was obviously aware of that trend last year, certainly hoping we can come out tomorrow and respond with a good performance,” Interdonato said.

February 24, 2024