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Birdball Midweek Preview - Harvard

The Eagles will look to exorcise some demons on Tuesday versus the Harvard Crimson

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After being swept by North Carolina over the weekend, the Eagles will look to rebound with a midweek win over a familiar foe on Tuesday afternoon in Chestnut Hill. This week’s matchup between the long-time rivals, Harvard and BC, will also be a preview of the 2017 Beanpot Championship Game, taking place next Wednesday, April 19th, at Fenway Park, as the Eagles defeated Northeastern and the Crimson bested UMass a week ago to reach the finals. Let’s take a closer look at Tuesday’s contest:

Game Location:

Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Game Time:

Tuesday, April 11th @ 3pm ET vs. Harvard

Projected Starters:

Tuesday: BC: So. RHP Jack Nelson (3-0, 1.64 ERA) vs. HARV: TBA

How to Watch/Listen:

Tuesday’s contest will be covered on Gametracker and streamed via WZBC Radio via the TUNEIN Radio App. Links for both can be found on the baseball schedule page of

What you should know about the Harvard Crimson:

In his fifth year at the helm of the Harvard baseball program, Bill Decker brings his team to Chestnut Hill with an overall record of 12-15, including a 1-7 mark in the Ivy League. In their most recent outing, the Crimson were swept by Princeton at home this past Saturday and Sunday. In 2016, Boston College won the only meeting between the two schools 11-9, in Cambridge.

Offensively, Harvard is hitting .262 as a team with 75 extra base hits, including 12 homeruns. Leading the Crimson lineup is outfielder Patrick Robinson. The sophomore leads the team with a .385 average, and has also added two homeruns and 18 RBI in 24 starts this season. Behind Robinson is sophomore first baseman Patrick McColl, who is batting a robust .324 with two homeruns and a team-leading 20 RBI. Junior Matt Rothenberg rounds out the trio of everyday players hitting over .300, as the infielder is batting .310 with seven doubles and six RBI on the season. Also, Harvard is 34 of 46 on stolen base attempts this season, so when they do have a runner on base, the BC pitching staff needs to do a good job of holding them on, and keeping them close at first base.

On the mound, the Harvard pitching staff has combined for a 5.13 ERA with opponents hitting .285 off the Crimson in 27 games this season. Though they have not announced a starter for Tuesday’s contest, it’s a good bet that either Ian Miller or Noah Zavolas will get the ball for Harvard. Both are junior right-handers, with Miller having a better season to date than Zavolas. Miller is 2-3 on the year with a 3.56 ERA in 43 innings pitched, whereas Zavolas is 2-4 with a 5.68 ERA in 38 innings pitched. No matter who gets the call on Tuesday for Harvard, BC’s hitters will need to have a good approach at the plate to keep their midweek success going.

What you should know about the Boston College Eagles:

After a tough weekend at the hands of the North Carolina Tar Heels, Boston College and Head Coach Mike Gambino will look to get back on track with a win at home against their Ivy League opponent. Coming into Tuesday, the Eagles sit at 9-20 overall, with a 1-14 mark in the ACC, having faced four top-ten teams in the their first five conference weekends, each sporting a probable first-rounder in their rotation. In short, BC has been through a murder’s row of elite arms to begin the season. That experience against “front-line” pitching, however, has contributed to the Eagles sustained success against midweek arms, something BC hopes to continue this week against Harvard.

Offensively, Boston College is hitting .233 as a team with 47 extra base hits. Leading the way for the Eagles is utility-man Jake Alu. He is an unlikely choice to be at the top of the Eagles’ offense, as the sophomore was forced into extended action earlier this season because of injuries, and has thrived in his everyday role. Alu is hitting an even .300 with three doubles and 11 RBI on the season. He is also a threat on the base paths, as he has swiped six bags in seven tries. Behind Alu, is two-way player Donovan Casey who is batting .297 and is tied for the team lead in homeruns with two. Casey has also added 14 RBI and has accrued an ERA of 3.00 in nine appearances on the mound. Rounding out the top three hitters in the BC order is catcher Gian Martellini. The sophomore is hitting .289 with eight doubles, two homeruns and 16 RBI. The Eagles are hoping that recent history holds true, as they have pounded the pitching staffs of their midweek opponents all season, and a huge offensive day would be great to see out of BC on Tuesday.

On the mound, the Eagles’ statistics took a hit this weekend against North Carolina, and their team-ERA now sits at 5.80 with opponents hitting at a .271 clip. BC’s Tuesday starter is, as usual, right-hander Jack Nelson, who threw on both Saturday and Sunday for the Eagles. It’s possible that he may be on a short leash given the work he has put in the last three days, but so far this season, Nelson has been electric for the Eagles during the midweek, having yet to give up a run in 13 innings pitched.


I’ll come right out and say it: BC will win this game. This past weekend against UNC had to have been hard on the players. I know, I’ve been there. And when that happens, the next game cannot come fast enough. It doesn’t matter who it’s against, you just want to go back out, play baseball, and win a game to get the taste of losing out of your mouth. And that’s what the Eagles will do on Tuesday. On paper, they are the better team, and even with the injuries and young guys in the lineup, to a man, BC has more talent. Another thing that bodes well for Boston College this week is the fact that this group of guys does not turn on one another when things get hard. They support each other, dig in their heels, and go to work come hell or high-water, as my grandmother would say. That attitude will propel them past the Crimson on Tuesday, in dominating fashion. I won’t call this a revenge game, because Harvard and BC have yet to meet this season, though, they’ll clash again next week in the Beanpot Championship, but I will say that the Eagles will be looking to unleash some anger and exorcise some demons at Shea Field on Tuesday, and earn their first home victory of the season.