Last weekend, the Boston College baseball team engineered their most dominant series of the season to-date when it swept NC State by taking the 6th Annual ALS Awareness Game on Saturday at Fenway Park and then a doubleheader from the Wolfpack on Sunday. The Eagles will look to ride their season-long four-game win streak into this weekend’s series against the Miami Hurricanes. The last time these two teams met was in the 2016 Super Regionals, with Miami taking the decisive game three to punch their ticket to Omaha. Let’s take a closer look at this weekend’s conference matchup:
Shea Field, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Friday, April 28th @ 2:30pm ET vs. Miami (First Responders Day)
Saturday, April 29th @ 1:30pm ET vs. Miami (Annual Wounded Warrior Project Day)
Sunday, April 30th @ 1pm ET vs. Miami (Youth Baseball Day)
Friday: BC: So. RHP Jacob Stevens (4-4, 4.70 ERA) vs. MIA: Jr. LHP Jeb Bargfeldt (4-3, 2.32 ERA)
Saturday: BC: So. LHP Dan Metzdorf (2-5, 4.58 ERA) vs. MIA: Jr. LHP Michael Mediavilla (4-4, 4.21 ERA)
Sunday: BC: Jr. RHP Brian Rapp (1-2, 4.02 ERA) vs. MIA: Fr. RHP Gregory Veliz (3-2, 2.41 ERA)
How to Watch/Listen:
All three of this weekend’s contests against Miami will be covered on Gametracker, as well as on WZBC via the TUNEIN Radio App. Friday and Sunday’s games will also be broadcast on WZBC AM, with Saturday’s contest broadcast on 102.9 FM and 1120 AM, for those in the Chestnut Hill area. Links to all coverage options can be found on the baseball schedule page of BCEagles.com.
What you should know about the Miami Hurricanes:
Head Coach Jim Morris and his Miami team find themselves in uncharted waters. Currently sitting at 20-21 overall, the Hurricanes are facing the very real possibility of missing out on the NCAA Tournament. No big deal, right? Happens to a lot of teams each year. Wrong. If Miami misses the big dance, it will be the first time since the 1972 season (yes, 44 years in a row) that they will have failed to qualify for the tournament. With their record as it stands now, it seems their only hope of getting in is to win the ACC Tournament, which they will most likely qualify for, as their conference record is an even 10-10.
The biggest reason the Hurricanes find themselves in the predicament they’re currently in is their offence, which sports an ACC-worst .214 team batting average. The ‘Canes, who are usually one of the better hitting teams in the conference, do not have a single everyday player hitting above .270 and have five players hitting below .220 that have started at least 29 games. Leading the Miami offense is third baseman Romy Gonzalez. While the sophomore is hitting only .263 on the season, he has put up strong power numbers, as he leads the team with 7 homeruns and 26 RBI. Behind Gonzalez is outfielder Carl Chester, who is hitting .252. The junior is also tied for second on the team with three homeruns and 23 RBI. Another of Miami’s top hitters is outfielder James Davison. The junior from Illinois is only hitting .248 for the ‘Canes, but has stolen nine bases in 12 attempts this season. Although their numbers are low, BC cannot afford to overlook the Miami offense, as they need to continue to take games down the stretch of their ACC schedule to keep pace for the postseason.
While the Hurricane’s offensive production has been lacking, their pitching has been solid. As a team, they hold a 3.84 ERA, good for fourth in the conference, and allow opposing hitters to bat a mere .238 off them. During the weekend, the Eagles will face a pair of talented left-handers in the form of Jeb Bargfeldt and Michael Mediavilla and a young righty in Gregory Veliz. Bargfeldt is the clear ace of the staff as he’s accrued a sub-three ERA in 10 starts on the season. Mediavilla leads the team in wins, with four, though, he also leads the team in walks, with 28 in 51.1 inning pitched. Veliz, only a freshman, will be making his eighth start of the season when he faces the Eagles on Sunday and, to-date, he has thrown well, earning a 2.41 ERA in 37 innings pitched. The Miami bullpen is also very experienced and talented, as they sport one of the conference’s best closers in Frankie Bartow, who has registered 9 saves on the season.
What you should know about the Boston College Eagles:
While Head Coach Mike Gambino’s squad enjoyed a banner weekend against NC State a week ago, they still have work to do to get themselves into one of the final spots in Louisville for ACC Tournament. At 16-22 overall, and 6-15 in the ACC, the Eagles are two games back of the 12th and final seed the in tournament. Taking a game or two from Miami, with whom they went toe-to-toe last June in the NCAA Super Regionals, would go a long way in helping their chances.
Offensively, the Eagles continue to steadily improve as the season wears on. Their team batting average, which once hovered around .220, is now .249 and their on-base percentage has also increased, to the tune of .332. Leading the way for the BC offense is utility-player Jake Alu who is hitting .333 for the year with 12 RBI. The sophomore has also scored 17 runs in 30 starts on the season. Behind Alu is two-way star Donovan Casey who is batting .292 on the year with a pair of homeruns and 16 RBI to go with a team-leading 1.93 ERA on the mound in 14 appearances, including five saves. Gian Martellini, the Eagles’ everyday catcher and cleanup hitter, is hitting .278 in 37 starts this season. The sophomore also leads the team in homeruns, with three, and RBI, with 26. Outfielder and designated hitter Jacob Yish has been a nice boost to the BC lineup, as the freshman is hitting .316 is ten starts on the year, all coming in the last three and a half weeks.
On the mound, the Eagles rank in the bottom half of the conference with a 5.23 team-ERA thanks to a three week period of rough outings, but have recently regained the form they showed early in the season. Again this week, BC will throw Jacob Stevens, Dan Metzdorf, and Brian Rapp against Miami, with the hope that the trio can replicate each of their outings from a week ago. While all three threw great games against NC State, it was Rapp, the junior, who stood out the most, throwing his first career complete game shutout over the Wolfpack. As mentioned previously, even though the Miami lineup is having a down-year, BC’s pitchers will still need to work down in the zone and hit their spots to be successful this weekend.
Alright, so let’s just clear this up right now. Yes, there is bad blood between these two teams. If you watched game three of last year’s Super Regional, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, here is the jist of it: Miami was beating BC late in game when the Eagles began to make a comeback. Then, Edgar Michelangeli, Miami’s left fielder who had already homered earlier in the game (and showboated on that shot, as well), hit a grand slam that put the game out of the BC’s reach. As deflating as that moment was, Michelangeli decided to rub salt in the Eagles’ wound by not only walking most of the way down the first base line, but also thumping his chest as he rounded third, saying something to catcher Nick Sciortino as he crossed the plate, and then delaying the game as he went around the net behind home plate high-fiving Hurricane fans. Mitch Bigras, and the rest of the BC team, took exception to this display of classlessness and “approached” Michelangeli, clearing the benches. Now, as a former player, my first instinct this weekend would be for Jacob Stevens to put a 92 mph fastball in Edgar’s ribs his first plate appearance on Friday. However, with every ACC game down the stretch being ultra-important and the fact that you don’t want to give a poor hitter like Michelangeli (currently hitting .179…couldn’t happen to a nicer guy) a free base, the more intelligent approach would be to let the past remain in the past, and play your game. Mike Gambino said as much in his weekly press conference and we have no reason to believe the Eagles will behave otherwise. It’s no secret that Jim Morris-coached teams lack integrity and class (see Frankie Ratcliff and Miami’s Sunday game against FSU this past weekend) and will do anything to get under opposing players’ skin, but BC needs to be above that this weekend. Miami will almost assuredly make the ACC Tournament; BC needs to keep winning. They can’t afford to distract themselves with retribution, and in the process lose a game, and, I don’t think they will. I think they maintain the level of play they’ve shown the last two weeks and get revenge on the Hurricanes through their play on the field. While Miami does pitch it well, their offense is not very good this season and because of that, I think the Eagles’ rotation holds them in check all weekend and BC plays small ball, like last weekend, to scratch across enough runs to take the series, two games to one.