Though they entered the bottom of the eighth inning down by five runs and without a hit, the Boston College baseball team never quit on Tuesday afternoon and stormed back to score six runs in the frame to steal a one-run victory away from the visiting Maine Black Bears.
Maine jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, scoring a run off BC starter Jack Nelson on an RBI groundout to shortstop. Nelson lasted only two and a third innings on the afternoon, though, that may be partially due to the fact that Head Coach Mike Gambino wanted to limit his innings so that the sophomore is available this weekend against Notre Dame. Boston College answered in the bottom of the second, scoring three runs on two bases loaded walks by Johnny Adams and Brian Dempsey and a fielder’s choice by Donovan Casey to make the score 3-1 in favor of the home team. However, the three runs would be all the Eagles could muster until late in the game, as the Maine pitching staff carried a no hitter into the eighth. During that time, the Black Bears scored a run in the third, three in sixth, and three more in the top of the eighth to make the score 8-3 heading into the home half of the frame. Though their bats were silent until that point in the game, the Eagles lineup exploded, scoring six runs on five hits, including RBI singles from Michael Strem, Jake Alu, Jack Cunningham, and Mitch Bigras, and a bases loaded walk to Brian Dempsey, giving the Eagles a 9-8 advantage. Donovan Casey, who had come in to pitch in the eighth, gave up a leadoff double in the ninth, but retired the next three Maine batters he faced to end the game, capping a five-run comeback and closing BC’s 2017 non-conference schedule with a win, pushing their overall record to 22-26.
Bigras led the Eagles at the plate on the afternoon, as the junior was 1 for 2 with an RBI and two walks. Jake Alu also had a nice game, going 1 for 3 with a pair of RBI. Freshman Brian Dempsey drove in a pair as well on two bases loaded walks.
While it wasn’t pretty, it was a win, and a character win at that. Being down by five runs at any point during a game is tough, but being down by that much that late will, more often than not, lead to a loss. While I believe the Eagles were caught looking ahead to the coming weekend and were surprised by how hard Maine attacked them on the mound (aside from the 10 walks the Black Bears issued), it shows great perseverance and determination to not throw in the towel and chalk the game up to a bad day at the park. After all, this game had no bearing on BC’s postseason chances, so, if they lost, no big deal, right? Thankfully, that’s not how this team operates and, if anything, this come-from-behind win, albeit in fairly sloppy fashion, should give Boston College plenty of momentum heading into Thursday’s series opener against Notre Dame. By now you know what is on the line this weekend when the Irish come to town. Add onto those stakes the fact that this weekend’s series will be the last ever at historic Shea Field, and you have a recipe for some very meaningful and emotional baseball between the two long-time rivals, and I cannot wait. Let’s get it going.