After sweeping NC State a week ago, the Boston College baseball team had a golden opportunity this weekend to gain some serious ground in the race for the ACC tournament by taking a weekend series from Miami. After falling to the Hurricane’s 3-0 on Friday in a game in which starter Jacob Stevens was again solid (6.1 innings pitched, 2 runs, and six strikeouts), it looked as though the Eagles would even the series on Saturday as they took a 5-3 lead into the top of the eighth inning. However, Miami would go on to score 11 unanswered runs in their final two at bats to take game two, and the series, 14-5. Better fortune found BC on Sunday, though, as Brian Rapp continued his recent hot streaking, pitching seven strong innings while scattering four hits and surrendering only a pair of runs, as BC rebounded for a 9-2 win. In lieu of writing game-by-game recaps I want to focus on this weekend’s series as a whole and discuss where it leaves the Eagles moving forward into their final two ACC series:
First and foremost, if you’re a fan of BC, or just someone who wants to see the program succeed, you have to be asking yourself, “what could have been?” If BC could’ve held onto their lead on Saturday, and closed out that game, they’d have won this series two games to one and put themselves in really good position to make the ACC tournament. Instead, they allowed that game to slip away and now sit at 7-17 in conference, as opposed to 8-16, and trail Virginia Tech (currently in the 12th spot) by one game. That may not sound like a huge mountain to climb, but remember, VT swept BC a few weeks back and in so doing took the tie breaker over the Eagles should they end the season with identical records. Other teams BC is in contention with are Duke, Pitt, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame, though the Irish are currently 10-14 in conference and a full three games ahead of BC (they do, however, close out the season against each other in the Chestnut Hill). Duke sits two games ahead of BC with nine conference wins, Pitt is technically a game ahead at this moment, though they did not plat an ACC series this weekend because of exams, as did Georgia Tech which sits technically in last place with only six ACC wins. So, what does this all mean? It means that, with six games left on the conference slate, the Eagles are still in it, but only taking one game this weekend when they could’ve had two is going to make things much more difficult. In my opinion (which should be taken with a grain of salt), BC needs to salvage a game at Wake forest the coming weekend to keep pace and get to that eight-win plateau, then take the series from Notre Dame to close out the season. I haven’t looked at who Duke, VT, Pitt, and GT play down the stretch but my guess is the 10-win scenario (one win at Wake, and two over ND) may be enough to sneak the Eagles into Louisville as the 12th seed. An 11-win scenario, I think, definitely gets them in, and 12 may get them out of the play-in round of the tournament and directly into pool play, though, 12 wins would mean a winning five of their last six ACC games which is definitely possible, but with the way Wake Forest has been playing this season, especially at home, it would be difficult to do.
In closing, BC isn’t dead yet, but Saturday’s eighth and ninth innings definitely made the team’s life a little tougher. We’ll be coming out this week with a more in-depth update of the ACC standings to try and figure out exactly what the Eagles will need to do to get into the postseason, but before they can think of that, BC will need to take care of UMass Lowell on the road on Tuesday.