Baseball Wins Series With 9-7 Win

BCEagles.com

Two-run 11th inning paces Eagles past NC State. It's the first ACC series victory for Boston College in 2014 and first road ACC series win since 2011.

Joe Cronin and Chris Shaw drove in runs in the top of the 11th inning, and Steve Green pitched Boston College out of a jam in the bottom half of the frame as the Eagles won their first ACC series of 2014 with an 9-7 victory over NC State.  BC improved to 14-25, 5-16 in the ACC while NC State dropped to 21-17, 7-14 in the ACC.

The loss dropped the Wolfpack 2.5 games back of the last playoff spot in the 10-team ACC Tournament, while BC remained a half game up on Notre Dame out of last place.  The Irish and Miami Hurricanes play on Monday.

Tied at 7-7 in the 11th, BC got an early base runner when Steven Sauter led off with a walk.  Gabriel Hernandez attempted to sacrifice him over, but Andrew Knizner fielded the ball cleanly at third and gunned Sauter out at second.  Blake Butera singled to move Hernandez into scoring position, where Joe Cronin doubled him home.  With Butera on third, and Cronin on second, Chris Shaw pulled a single to plate Butera and give BC the two-run lead.

BC had jumped all over NC State starter Logan Jernigan, chasing him in the second inning as they opened up a huge, early lead.  Chris Shaw led off with a single to center, followed by a double to left center off the bat of Michael Strem.  With runners on second and third with one out, Nick Colucci loaded the bases with a walk for John Hennessy.  With the count full, Hennessy, hitting under .200 and fighting it at the plate this year, crushed the payoff pitch to center.  It cleared the bases with a three-RBI triple, putting BC up, 3-0.  He scored two batters later when Gabriel Hernandez singled him in.  While BC didn't score a run the rest of the way, their 4-0 lead was enough to send Jernigan to the showers one batter later.

Undaunted, the Pack Nine stood strong and scored two in the bottom of the second en route to tying the game by the fifth.  Logan Ratledge singled to lead off the inning against BC starter Jeff Burke, and he scored easily when Chance Shepard doubled to right center.  Preston Palmeiro grounded him to third, and he finished off his last 90 feet when Carlos Rodon grounded out to second, making it a 4-2 BC game.

It became a 4-3 game in the bottom of the third when NC State manufactured a run off of a couple of Burke mistakes. Andrew Knizner reached base via by getting beaned, then advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Brett Austin doubled down the right field line, and Knizner scored easily.  The Wolfpack were able to reload the bases, but Shepard whiffed as Burke pitched out of trouble.  They finished the rally in the fourth Garrett Suggs won a foot race to first that allowed Preston Palmeiro to score.

BC took a 7-4 lead heading into the ninth with runs in the fifth and eighth.  Strem drilled a 2-RBI double with one out in the fifth to put the Eagles up 6-4, and Sauter singled in Nick Colucci off relievers Cody Beckman and Jon Olczak in the eighth to give the Eagles a second three-run lead.

Luke Fernandes was brought in to close out the game in the eighth, trusted with a six out save.  He shut down NC State in the eighth, but the redshirt freshman ran into trouble in the ninth.  Pitching for the third time in five days, the overwork possibly caught up with him as he struggled to close things out.  After retiring the first out, Trea Turner doubled down the right field line and stole third.  He scored when Knizner grounded into a fielding error by Joe Cronin at short.  That made the game 7-5.

Austin, Ratledge, and Shepard all singled to cut the lead to 7-6, sending Fernandes to the dugout to watch the rest of the game from the bench.  In his place came Tyler Hinchcliffe; Cheese got the second out via pop-out, but with the inherited bases loaded, he walked pinch hitter Jake Armstrong, bringing the tying run home.  He induced a groundball to first, but the damage was done with a blown save credited to Hinchcliffe's predecessor.

Hinchcliffe pitched through the 10th before giving way to Bobby Skogsbergh in the 11th.  Skogsbergh got the first out, but after giving up a single, Steve Green entered the game.  The lefty induced a game-ending double play as BC departed Raleigh with their first road series victory since defeating Duke in 2011.  It also improved BC to 4-2 on the season in extra inning baseball games.

For BC, Jeff Burke lasted 3.2 innings and received a no decision for his efforts.  Also on a short turnaround after pitching on Wednesday against Lowell, Burke allowed four hits on five hits with three strikeouts, two walks, and three wild pitches. Jesse Adams pitched a further 3.1 innings, allowing just one hit.

Fernandes, Hinchcliffe, Skogsbergh, and Green finished the end of the game.  Hinchcliffe picked up the win for his first of the season, improving to 1-1.  Green recorded his first save.

At the dish, Chris Shaw went 3-for-6 to finish the weekend with a .571 average, driving in one and scoring one on Sunday.  Seven BC starters recorded runs scored, including two each by Blake Butera and Nick Colucci.  Hennessy finished with the one hit, but it was good enough for three RBIs.  Both he and Tom Bourdon left three apiece on the basepaths as BC stranded nine with 15 hits.

NC State was forced to use eight pitchers to finish out the game.

BC has a quick turnaround after playing on the road this weekend.  They came home late last night and play an 11:30 AM first pitch at Northeastern in the consolation game in the Beanpot.  The game will be played at Friedmann Diamond on Parsons Field.

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