John Gorman threw five innings in relief of starting pitcher Mike King, and the duo led a Boston College shut down of the visiting Hartford Hawks with a 4-1 victory on Saturday at Shea Field in Chestnut Hill. Meanwhile, ACC scoreboard watching drew positives for the Eagles as Wake Forest dropped the first two games to NC State and Georgia Tech split its opening contests with Pittsburgh.
King threw four shutout innings to start things off for BC, striking out five and allowing just three hits. He made quick work of the Hawks, facing 15 batters in his work and needing just 56 pitches in his outing. He gave the ball to Gorman, who completed the rest of the game for his fifth win of the season (5-4). Gorman struck out nine and allowed just one run on one hit - thought not via a homer.
BC scored in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Jake Palomaki singled to left and advanced into scoring position when Blake Butera grounded the first pitch he saw to second. Michael Strem singled to put runners at the corners with one out, and Chris Shaw, back in the regular lineup, grounded to short to retire Strem. Palomaki scored on the play, giving the Birds the single tally. Donovan Casey flew out to end the threat.
Hartford tied the game in the top of the fifth. TJ Ward hit one to third base, but Jake Palomaki's throw sailed on the first baseman Strem. Hartford sacrificed Ward into scoring position, and he moved to third on a wild pitch. With one out, Aaron Wilson executed a perfect bunt, reaching for a single and scoring the runner to tie the game at 1-1.
The tie didn't last long; BC crushed relief pitcher Aaron Barnes to take the lead for good. Logan Hoggarth singled to lead lead off the inning, and BC got a second runner when Barnes walked Nick Sciortino. They double stole to put runners on second and third, and, quick as lightning, scored when Butera plated Hoggarth and Strem doubled home Sciortino.
They added another run in the sixth when Logan Hoggarth brought Johnny Adams home from third.
BC (26-24) will finish the weekend over .500 and likely head into its final weekend with a chance to finish over .500 for the first time in the Mike Gambino era. But, more importantly, they haven't lost any ground in the ACC playoff race. Starting this weekend a game and a half back of idle Virginia, they have only lost a game to Georgia Tech. Since BC owns the head-to-head over the Yellow Jackets, they remain in the hunt to finish as high as eighth in the league.
More importantly, Wake Forest, who sits tied with the Yellow Jackets for ninth and tenth, is now a game back after being swept in their first two games with NC State. That gains a half game for the Eagles, who are now just two games back. If Wake Forest loses on Sunday, BC will enter the final weekend of ACC play with a legitimate shot at the postseason, provided they sweep Notre Dame. The Eagles' chances still remain slim, but they remain in the discussion, which seemed implausible to start the weekend.
A Wake Forest win on Sunday will end the threat, so all Eagles fans should be rooting hard for NC State.
As for BC, they'll finish off their finals weekend series with Hartford on Sunday when they play the Hawks in their penultimate non-conference game of the season. They have one game remaining this week against Maine before wrapping up the season with the Fighting Irish. All remaining games are scheduled for Chestnut Hill.
Sunday's game will kick off at 12 PM.