Blake Butera hit a booted groundball to shortstop, and freshman Michael Strem scored the game-winning run in his first career start in the field as Boston College baseball defeated Connecticut, 2-1, at Shea Field yesterday. The win snapped a six-game losing streak as BC prepares to host UMass today.
Luke Fernandes picked up his first career win as BC improved to 8-18. For the Huskies, David Mahoney was charged with the loss as they fell under .500 to 12-13. UConn heads back to Storrs for a midweek game with Yale today.
The game was a scoreless pitcher's duel into the sixth when UConn broke the tie with a run in the top half of the frame. After Mike King threw five innings in the start, Mike Gambino went to his bullpen for Jesse Adams. Adams walked Bobby Melley to lead off the inning, and Connor David drove him to third with a one-out double. Melley scored when Adams delivered a wild pitch. With David on third, Adams walked Hill, then exited the game as Fernandes came into pitch. Fernandes got out of the inning by stranding the two runners.
BC responded to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Joe Cronin led off the inning with a single that ended Andrew Zapata's day on the mound. He would advance to second when Chris Shaw singled him up a base against reliever Patrick Ruotolo. Tom Bourdon attempted to sacrifice bunt the runners over, but Ruotolo threw a seed into right field, scoring Cronin to even the score.
That set up the ninth inning fireworks. Mahoney relieved Ruotolo to start the bottom of the inning, and Strem singled an 0-1 pitch up the middle. Scortino moved him up to second, but with one out, John Hennessy went down swinging. With two down, Butera hit a 1-2 pitch at Hill; Hill forgot his fundamentals and couldn't pick it up, allowing Strem to cross the plate and win the game in thrilling fashion.
Luke Fernandes, less than a week after he controversially was lifted in the 11-7 loss to Florida STate, pitched over three innings of relief to pick up the win. He and King combined for 8.1 innings of shutout baseball, allowing six hits combined.
UConn picked up an ill-deserved loss for the pitchers, who combined for nine strikeouts while allowing just four hits. Andrew Zapata struggled with his command in issuing six walks, but it was by and large a good day on the hill for the Huskies throwers.
BC returns to Shea Field on Wednesday for a 3 PM first pitch with Massachusetts. The Minutemen enter the game struggling with a 3-16 record. They've lost their last four and are coming off a three-game sweep by the hands of Richmond.
BC's postgame interviews are posted below: