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Birdball Weekend Preview - NC State

The Eagles will play a three game set against the Wolfpack this weekend, including the 6th Annual ALS Awareness Game at Fenway Park on Saturday

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After a crazy week that saw them fall to Dartmouth on Tuesday and halt the Beanpot Championship game against Harvard in the middle of fifth on Wednesday, the Boston College Eagles will host the NC State Wolfpack in a pivotal ACC series that will include the 6th Annual ALS Awareness Game on Saturday at Fenway Park. After taking two from Duke a weekend ago, BC will look for more wins against the Wolfpack this weekend to help bolster their chances of making the ACC Tournament. Let’s take a closer look at this weekend’s matchup:

Game Locations:

Friday and Sunday: Shea Field, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Saturday: Fenway Park, Boston, MA

Game Times:

Friday, April 21st @ 2:30pm ET vs. NC State

Saturday, April 22nd @ 4pm ET vs. NC State at Fenway Park (ALS Awareness Game)

Sunday, April 23rd @ 1pm ET vs. NC State

Projected Starters:

Friday: BC: So. RHP Jacob Stevens (3-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. NCSU: Sr. LHP Sean Adler (3-5, 4.05 ERA)

Saturday: BC: So. LHP Dan Metzdorf (1-5, 5.20 ERA) vs. NCSU: Jr. LHP Brian Brown (1-1, 3.54 ERA)

Sunday: BC: Jr. RHP Brian Rapp (0-2, 4.97 ERA) vs. NCSU: Fr. RHP Michael Bienlien (2-1, 4.23 ERA)

How to Watch/Listen:

Friday and Sunday’s games will be covered on Gametracker, as well as the TUNEIN Radio App via WZBC. The two will also be broadcast on WZBC AM for those in the Chestnut Hill area. Saturday’s contest, the 6th Annual ALS Awareness Game at Fenway Park, will be televised nationally on ESPNU as well as covered on Gametracker, the TUNEIN Radio APP, and 102.9 FM and 1120 AM. Tickets for the game at Fenway ($10) can be purchased here, or at the gate prior to the start of the game with proceeds going to the Pete Frates #3 Fund. Links to all the coverage options can be found on the baseball schedule page of

What you should know about the NC State Wolfpack:

After a rocky start to their season that included a series loss to Notre Dame, veteran Head Coach Elliott Avent has his Wolfpack team back in contention for the NCAA postseason, entering this weekend’s action with a 20-17 overall record, including an 8-10 record in the ACC. Last season, the Eagles got the better of NC State in Raleigh to open the conference schedule, taking two of three game at Doak Field.

Offensively, NC State is ninth in the conference in batting with a .268 team average, though they do have a slugging percentage over .400. Leading the way for the ‘Pack is catcher Brad Debo who is hitting at a .364 clip to go along with three homeruns and 27 RBI. The freshman is also second on the team with a .408 on-base percentage. Behind Debo are outfielder Josh McLain and infielder Will Wilson, who are hitting .324 and .298, respectively, on the season. McLain, a junior, leads the team in doubles, with 17, and has added two homeruns and 19 RBI. Wilson, in his first season with NC State, has also launched two long-balls and driven in a team-high 29 RBI, while being only one of two Wolfpack players to start every game this season. Also, keep an eye on junior infielder Joe Dunand who is only hitting .250, but has launched a team-leading 12 homeruns this season, good for fourth in the ACC.

On the mound, the Wolfpack pitchers have compiled a team-ERA of 4.27, good for ninth in the ACC, while allowing batters to hit only .253 off of them. BC will go up against a trio of talented arms this weekend when they face Sean Adler, Brian Brown, and Michael Bienlien. Adler, a left hander, has been NC State’s Friday starter for the entire season, starting nine games, winning three of them, and accumulating a 4.05 ERA along the way. Brown, who is also left handed, has the best earned run average of the trio, at 3.54, but has also issued the most walks (19) in the fewest innings pitched (28). Bienlien is the youngster of the group, as the right-hander is only a freshman, but has put up decent numbers in his first season in Raleigh, earning a 4.23 ERA and 2-1 record in only four starts. While NC State’s starters are talented, they are not unhittable, as evidenced by their earned run averages, so, the Eagles will need to exploit every one of their mistakes to pick up some much needed wins this weekend in the ACC.

What you should know about the Boston College Eagles:

It was one wild week for the Boston College baseball team. Returning to Chestnut Hill after taking their first conference series of the season at Duke, the Eagles were riding high. But, a loss on the road to a talented Dartmouth team on Tuesday, coupled with the halting of the Beanpot Championship game in the fifth inning on Wednesday, has brought them back down to earth in time for this weekend’s series against NC State, which could be a good thing for Mike Gambino’s squad, who enter Friday with an overall record of 12-22, including a 3-15 mark in the ACC, as they need to refocus to take the series from the Wolfpack.

The Boston College offense has picked up in the last few weeks, upping its overall batting average to .243 from .224 before the Virginia Tech series two weeks ago. Leading all everyday players in batting is sophomore Jake Alu who is hitting at a .311 clip with four doubles and 11 RBI. Alu has also stolen seven bases in nine attempts on the season, tied for the most on the team. Behind Alu is junior Donovan Casey who has started every game for the Eagles the season. The two-way player is hitting .305 with two homeruns and 16 RBI in 131 at bats this year. He has also thrown 16 innings on the mound and leads the team with a 2.25 ERA. Sophomore Gian Martellini provides much of the pop in the BC lineup, as the catcher leads the team in homeruns (3) doubles (9) and RBI (24). Also, freshman Jacob Yish has recently earned his way into the lineup, starting the last six games, by hitting a solid .333 in 27 at bats.

While the BC pitching staff lands in the bottom of the conference in ERA with a 5.62 team-mark, the Eagles are hoping the weekend rotation will repeat their performances from Friday and Saturday of last week, and put together a strong outing this Sunday. Leading the way will once again be sophomore right-hander Jacob Stevens who threw seven strong innings a week ago and combined with Donovan Casey to one-hit the Duke Blue Devils on Friday night. Behind Bear will again be sophomore lefty Dan Metzdorf and junior righty Brian Rapp. While Metzdorf threw decently well in a de facto bullpen session on Wednesday versus Harvard, he’ll need to bring his A-game on Saturday to tame the Wolfpack offense. For weeks, Brian Rapp was the most dominant pitcher on the BC staff, but two tough outings against UNC and Duke have raised his ERA considerably. Look for him to bounce back this weekend in his matchup against the freshman Bienlien in the ultra-important Sunday game.


It wouldn’t be a BC home series without the threat of rain, and, such is the case for this weekend. Luckily, it looks like the rain will be limited to Friday, and not interfere with Saturday’s Annual ALS Awareness Game at Fenway Park. If Friday’s game is unable to be played at Shea, more than likely a double-header will be scheduled for Sunday, with Saturday remaining just a single contest. I want to take a moment and get away from baseball for second and talk about Pete Frates. I have the honor and privilege of knowing Pete and his family, and can tell you that everything you see on the news, everything you read online and in the paper about how courageous, sincere, and extremely loyal Pete and his family are, is one hundred percent true. They are amazing people and have taken on this fight against ALS better than anyone else on the planet. You hear players and coaches talk a lot about brotherhood and family, and most of the time it’s hyperbole or coach-speak. That’s not the case with Pete, the Frates’, and Birdball. I know a lot of people don’t like that name, or find it annoying, but it is who we are and it symbolizes the loyalty we have for each other and our school. When Pete was diagnosed, even though he was almost five years removed from his final game at BC and no one on our team had played with him, it felt like it was happening to our brother and we rallied around him as such. Now, five years since that day, the bond between Birdball, Pete, the Frates’, and Boston College in general has never been stronger. Pete’s mission to Strike Out ALS is the mission of BC Baseball and one that we hope everyone who can will support this Saturday at Fenway Park, so, please come out to the game. Proceeds from Saturday will benefit the Pete Frates #3 Fund and will hopefully contribute the eradication of this terrible disease. Now, as to the baseball being played this weekend, this is an intriguing matchup. NC State is good, but very beatable. They’ve gotten better as the season has worn on, but they’re young and don’t have the pitching to which they’ve become accustomed. The makings are there for an “upset.” Let’s face it, BC is fighting for its ACC postseason life. They have to take some ACC games down the stretch and absolutely cannot be swept if they hope to make it to Louisville. The good news is the mojo is in their favor this weekend. The bats are remaining hot, Stevens regained his old form last weekend, and they’ll be playing on Saturday in front of thousands at Fenway Park on ESPNU for one of their own. If ever there was a time to rise up and snatch a series they weren’t supposed to, it’s now. BC takes the series from NC State 2-1 on an amazing weekend.