On Tuesday afternoon, the Boston College baseball team played their first, true midweek game of the season, as they took on the Northeastern Huskies in Brookline. The Eagles never trailed in the game, but gave up a combined seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings and hung on for a 10-7 win. Let’s take a closer look at Tuesday’s action:
Tuesday: Boston College 10 Northeastern 7:
After being silent for large portions of their first 17 games, the Boston College bats finally made some noise on Tuesday afternoon at Friedman Diamond to the tune of 10 runs on nine hits, in a 10-7 victory for the Eagles. BC starter Jack Nelson was sharp on the mound, throwing four complete innings, surrendering no runs and only one hit and facing only one batter of the minimum.
The Eagles started the scoring in the top of the first inning, plating four runs off NU starter Sean Mellen. With one out in the top of the frame, senior Johnny Adams singled and advanced to third on back-to-back walks issued to Donovan Casey and Gian Martellini. The next batter, junior Mitch Bigras, also drew a walk, scoring Adams from third. The scoring continued as Casey scored on a wild pitch, and after freshman Jake Goodreau was hit by a Mellen fastball, Anthony Maselli hit a deep fly ball that was dropped by the Huskies’ right fielder, allowing two runs to cross the plate, and giving BC a 4-0 lead. After a quiet second inning, the scoring resumed in the top of the third when Martellini led off with a double off the left field wall. After a walk was issued to Chris Balogh, freshman Brian Dempsey singled to left field, scoring Martellini and moving Balogh to third. Later in the inning Dante Baldelli hit a sacrifice fly that plated Balogh, and Jake Alu followed with a single to right field to score Dempsey, giving the Eagles a 7-0 through three complete. BC added another run in the sixth when Baldelli led off the inning with a walk and was moved to third on an Alu groundout and Adams single. He was then brought home on a sacrifice fly from Donovan Casey, pushing the BC lead to eight. The Eagles capped their scoring in the top of the eighth inning when, with one out, Maselli singled up the middle and was pinch run for by sophomore Dominic Hardaway. In the next at bat, Baldelli blasted a double to right center field, scoring Hardaway from first base. Baldelli moved up to third on an errant relay throw and was scored when Jake Alu grounded out, giving BC a 10-0 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. NU would not go quietly in their last two at bats as the Huskies scored six runs in the eighth and another in the ninth off three different BC pitchers, before Donovan Casey retired the final two batters of the game, with the tying run at the plate, giving the Eagles a 10-7 win, and halting their five-game losing streak.
Offensively, Johnny Adams paced the BC lineup, going 2 for 5 on the afternoon while scoring a run. Freshman Dante Baldelli had the best day at the plate of his young career, going 1 for 2 with a double, driving in two runs. Gian Martellini crushed a double of his own in a 1 for 4 performance while also driving in a pair. On the mound, the Eagles got great performances from Nelson, Zach Stromberg, and John Witkowski, who made his first appearance of 2017 as the sophomore missed the first 17 games of the season due to injury.
Some thoughts on the game against Northeastern:
Much like the Eagles’ season to date, this game had its ups and downs. For starters, it’s great to win again. It doesn’t matter if it’s against Northeastern or against the New York Yankees, a win is a win. It was nice to see the offense put up double-digit runs and really assert themselves over an inferior pitching staff. They were patient at the plate with Mellen, letting the freshman get himself into trouble, and when he made a mistake, they hammered it. That is the approach that needs to remain with this team for the rest of the season if they want to be successful at the plate. Also, it was great to see some of the guys who had been injured earlier in the season finally see some action. Witkowski looked sharp in his first outing of the year, and he will be a welcome addition to the BC pitching staff moving forward. Dominic Hardaway also made his season debut after recovering from a broken hand. He will be a great option to use in the outfield and off the bench as the season progresses. Now, the eighth and ninth innings need to be addressed. As I noted in the preview for this game, these matchups are always close for some reason and strange things happen, however, the bullpen cannot let up runs like that in the final innings of a game and expect to be successful. I’ll give the bullpen the benefit of the doubt today, in that two of the pitchers who surrendered a majority of the seven runs had not been on the mound in a little while and they may have been a little rusty. Add on to that the fact that one of BC’s usual “back-end” guys, captain Bobby Skogsbergh, was unavailable today due to illness, and it becomes a little easier to accept the final score of the game. While I’m not thrilled about it, I don’t foresee letting teams down by double-digits back into games becoming a habit. My guess is the bullpen will get an earful tomorrow at practice about attacking hitters and forcing contact when pitching with a lead, and will come out much sharper this weekend against #6 Clemson. In summary, it’s great to get a win and I look for this game to be an offensive springboard into this weekend’s matchup and beyond.