With the deluge of rain and downpours coming down across Massachusetts in the morning hours on Tuesday, the question wasn't whether or not the Dartmouth Big Green would defeat Boston College in non-conference baseball, it was if the game would ever actually get on. After all, the rains were so bad in the morning, I didn't even do a game preview because I figured it wouldn't be played.
But venerable Shea Field held up under the circumstances, and Dartmouth indeed made the bus trek down from the great white north for a midweek matinee. In retrospect, maybe the game should've been canceled.
The hot-and-cold Eagles became Gorton's fish sticks, allowing two runs in the first inning and failing to close the gap with a bottom-tier Ivy League program, and Dartmouth defeated BC, 2-1. The Eagles dropped to 10-21 heading into their Beanpot first round matchup on Wednesday at Harvard.
Dartmouth's two runs came on three hits off of starter Mike King. After singles by Thomas Roulis and Jeff Keller, Joe Purritano delivered a 2-RBI double down the left field line with two outs. That was literally all the Big Green would need.
BC mustered just six hits off of Big Green pitching; Chris England went six innings to pick up his first victory and decision of the year for Dartmouth, holding BC to just one run on four hits. Adam Frank allowed one hit in two innings of work, and Chris Burkholder allowed a hit in the ninth but locked down his first save of the year.
Both Joe Cronin and Nick Colucci had two hits for the Eagles, while John Hennessy went 1-for-1 with two walks and Tom Bourdon went 1-for-3 with the only BC RBI, a fourth inning double to score Cronin.
In all frankness, as the losses continue to pile up on BC, one has to question now whether or not the recruiting job that Mike Gambino did in the offseason will be enough to save him through another year of misses in the lineup. Even if the Eagles make the ACC Tournament, which was a stated goal at the beginning of the year, their Jekyll-and-Hyde nature this year has made them increasingly frustrating to watch. Their overall level of play is improved, but it's simply not good enough, and one can't look at BC and call them the best New England program, something that should be a given for a team competing in the ACC.
One thing is for certain - Gambino's seat is getting increasingly hotter with each step of the season. BC absolutely needs to have a good showing in the Beanpot, now, taking on a very beatable Harvard team on Wednesday in Cambridge. The Crimson are 5-18, 1-5 in Ivy League play. They've struggled for most of the season, but then again, so did Dartmouth. It seems that every step forward, while encouraging, is followed by two or three massive steps back.
At 10-21, BC is winning more games than they did last year at this point. They're on pace, though, for just a slight improvement over last season unless their play on the field improves drastically against ACC opponents. I stated at the beginning of the year that the goal this year shouldn't be about wins or losses; instead, BC needed to show marked improvement over the course of t he year. I think they've done that at times, but it hasn't been consistent enough to warrant a seal of approval.
Instead, this season is becoming a case of never knowing what BC team will actually show up. BC is clearly good enough to go out and be at least compete with the big boys of the ACC (I won't say win). There were encouraging signs when they played Virginia and Miami, and even though they imploded against Florida State, the talent level was there for most of at least one game. They walked off against North Carolina in a game where they trailed twice. But that it never shows up for more than one or two games in a row is a cause for major concern.
It's not about the facilities or about crossing the program. At this point, the inconsistencies within the team are asking if there needs to be a change within the team itself. We need to ask how to get the team to perform consistently decent. A good BC baseball team would force the school to look at it and give it the world, what it needs and wants. Right now, the team doesn't deserve that, and we need to be asking how to fix the program from the on-field aspect before we worry about looking at it off the field.
All I know is this - the Boston College baseball team is wildly inconsistent right now. Heading into the Beanpot against a bad Harvard team, I can't rightly say, "This is a guaranteed victory." Heading into the weekend against a last place Notre Dame team, I can't rightly say, "Well, BC's on-field performance against good teams says they'll win these games." All I can say is, "Well if BC shows up for nine innings, they'll probably be in a position to win the game, but we don't know if they'll do that." And that is an indictment of the team's performance, regardless of record, over the course of the whole year.
Boston College plays at Harvard today in the first round of the Beanpot. First pitch is at 3 PM.