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Birdball Midweek Recap - Northeastern

The Eagles punched their ticket to The Beanpot Title Game with the 5-1 win over Northeastern on Wednesday

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After heavy rains forced the postponement of Tuesday’s game at Holy Cross, the Boston College baseball team moved Wednesday’s contest to Northeastern’s Friedman Diamond where the Eagles squared off against the Huskies in the first-round Beanpot matchup. Runs were at a premium for most of the game, as both pitching staffs threw the ball well. But, it was the Eagles who would walk away victorious by a score of 5-1. Let’s take a closer look at today’s action:

Wednesday: Boston College 5 Northeastern 1:

Boston College got another stellar outing out of sophomore Jack Nelson, and a Zach Stromberg added three innings of shutout relief, as the Eagles punched their ticket to Fenway Park and the Beanpot Championship Game on April 19th.

The Eagles, who had originally been the home team until the game was moved, struck in their first at-bat of the game. In the top of the first, leadoff batter Donovan Casey belted a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall to give BC an early 1-0 lead. The blast was Casey’s second of the season, tying him for the team lead. The score would remain 1-0 until the top of the seventh inning as both Northeastern’s starter and the duo of Nelson and Stromberg combined to keep any runs from scoring. In BC’s half of the seventh, however, Jake Alu singled with one out then stole second base. After a walk and hit by pitch, Chris Balogh pinch-hit for freshman Dante Baldelli. The senior came through for the Eagles by doubling to right field, driving in two runs to push the BC lead to three. After Stromberg held the Huskies scoreless in the seventh and eighth, Boston College added some insurance in the top of the ninth as Dominic Hardaway, with one out, singled and proceeded to steal second and third. After a foul-out, senior Johnny Adams doubled down the left field line, scoring Hardaway from third. The next batter, Michael Stem, singled to right field, scoring Adams from second and making the score 5-0 in favor of the Eagles. Northeastern added a run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was too little, too late, as BC advanced to the Beanpot Championship Game by the score of 5-1.

On the afternoon, the Eagles put together 11 hits, four of them going for extra bases. Donovan Casey again led BC at the plate, going 2 for 4 with a homerun and a double. Jake Alu continued to stay hot, as he was also 2 for 4 on the day, with a run scored. Johnny Adams, Michael Strem, and Chris Balogh all drove in runs for BC, with Balogh knocking in a pair with his double in the seventh. On the mound, the BC pitching staff was outstanding with Nelson going a career high five innings while not allowing a run, and only one hit. Zach Stromberg was also impressive, throwing three scoreless with five strikeouts.

Some thoughts on Wednesday:

Just call Jack Nelson the NU killer. In two starts against the Huskies this season, Nelson has thrown nine complete innings, and has yet to give up a run. While throughout the course of a season, the weekend rotation is of paramount importance to a team, having a midweek starter be this dominant is not something that should be overlooked. In the ultra-competitive ACC, it is important for a team like Boston College to win a majority, if not all, of their midweek contests, and Nelson gives them a chance to do just that. Beyond the pitching, it was great to see the bats come alive somewhat in this game. It’s nice to see some pop in the lineup as well, as we’ve seen an increase in doubles and homeruns in the last couple of weeks. The question has been, and will continue to be, can the success at the plate during the midweek carry over to the weekend against better pitching? So far that has been an issue for the Eagles, but as the season has worn on, the bats have steadily come more alive, so perhaps this weekend against UNC will be where it all comes together. In the big picture, this win is an important one for BC as it gets them back into the Beanpot Championship Game, where they can compete for the title of “Best-in-Boston.” And, though outsiders may scoff at that statement as they look at the programs competing (Harvard, Northeastern, UMass, and BC) and say to themselves, “Of course! BC should win this every year,” and downplay the significance of the tournament, I can attest to the fact that it does mean a lot to the players on the field. With that being the case, today’s win was big for the 2017 Boston College Eagles. Looking toward the weekend, let’s hope the rain forecast for Thursday either holds off, or is lighter than predicted, so that the Eagles can finally play on Shea Field. We’ll have a full preview of the UNC series on Friday morning, so don’t miss out.