Dame, the Eagles needed two wins and some help, or a clean sweep of the Irish, to get themselves into the postseason for the second time in as many years. They chose the latter. After taking game one by a score of 6-2 behind an outstanding pitching performance from Jacob Stevens, BC battled back from four-run deficits three separate times on Friday and Saturday to down Notre Dame 10-9 and 8-7 in the two games, to punch their ticket to Louisville.
Usually in our weekend or midweek recaps, I like to give an abbreviated play-by-play of each game, highlighting individual performances, but I won’t be doing that for this series. That’s not to say there were no impressive performances this weekend, as there most certainly were: Jacob Steven’s aforementioned outing in game one, Jake Palomaki’s pair of home runs in a power barrage on Friday, Captain Johnny Adam’s huge triple and bases loaded walk on Saturday to give BC the lead in the bottom of the eighth, Donovan Casey shutting the door on the Irish not once, but twice, etc. etc. Instead, what I want to focus on is the resiliency and the heart of this team. Coming back from four runs down in any game is tough. Coming back from being down four runs on three separate occasions in a “backs against the wall” scenario against your arch-rival is almost impossible, but the Eagles did it, and in so doing got themselves into back-to-back postseasons for the first time since 2009/2010.
It sounds crazy, but this is what Boston College baseball is all about. As the northernmost school in the ACC, BC is a constant underdog, always having to prove it belongs in the best conference in the nation. From the weather, to the facilities (upgrading in 2018), to the general lack of support from the administration, the Boston College baseball team faces some pretty long odds entering every season. As a player, you have to find a way to cut through all of that and find a way to persevere. And that’s exactly what this year’s team did. After the UNC series in early April, Boston College sat 9-20 overall, including a 1-14 mark in the ACC. It would have been very easy for the players and coaching staff to give up on the season and throw in the towel. They didn’t. Instead, they went 16-6 in their final 22 games, with a 10-5 record in the ACC, and have earned their way to Louisville. Now, bear in mind, 25-26 (11-19) is not a great season statistically, Head Coach Mike Gambino I’m sure would agree, but seeing what this team has done since that UNC series, gives me serious excitement for the future, not only because of the players coming back, but also because I can trust that they will never quit on a game or a season. As for their overall record, however, don’t forget, the Eagles had a few games cancelled due to rain down the stretch that were never made up. You can never assume wins, but had those games against Holy Cross, Bryant, UMass Lowell, and Quinnipiac been played, who’s to say BC isn’t 29-26 right now?
The ACC Tournament field is now set with BC earning the 11th seed, one ahead of Notre Dame who dropped thanks to the sweep they suffered this weekend. According to the ACC Tournament website, the 11-seed is slated to be in Pool B with the #2 and #7 seeds in the tournament. Taking a quick look at today’s scores, it looks as though those two seeds will go to UNC and NC State, respectively. As mentioned above, earlier this season, the Tar Heels took it to the Eagles in Chestnut Hill. BC had a little more luck against NC State in 2017, as they earned a series sweep over the Wolfpack in late April, which included the 6th Annual ALS Awareness Game at Fenway Park. The winner of each pool will advance to the tournament semi-finals next Saturday, and the winners of those two contests will play in the Championship Game on Sunday with the ACC’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on the line. What a day to be an Eagle.