After dropping a close series on the road at the University of Virginia over the weekend, the Boston College baseball team returns home this week to take on two regional opponents in what should be, weather permitting, the first two games played at the new Brighton Stadium. The Northeastern University Huskies make the short trek from Brookline to Brighton on Tuesday afternoon and the Siena College Saints visit from Loudonville, New York on Wednesday in what will be the first home games of the season for the Eagles.
Brighton Stadium, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Tuesday, March 20th @ 3pm ET vs. Northeastern
Wednesday, March 21st @ 3pm ET vs. Siena
Tues: BC: TBA vs. NU: TBA
Wed: BC: TBA vs. SC: TBA
How to Watch/Listen:
Both midweek contests will be covered on Gametracker, as well as broadcast online via WZBC Radio. Links to both options can be found on the Boston College baseball schedule page of BCEagles.com.
What you should know about the Northeastern University Huskies:
Head coach Mike Glavine, brother of Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine, is in his fourth season at the helm of the Northeastern baseball program and has his Huskies off to a 9-5 start in 2018, against some pretty good competition. Glavine has done a nice job in Brookline, turning the NU program is a solid competitor within the CAA. An annual rivalry, the Huskies will give Boston College all they can handle in what figures to be the home opener for the Eagles.
Given the nature of midweek contests, Northeastern has yet to announce a starter for Tuesday’s match-up and it’s likely the Eagles will see a number of different arms throughout the game. As a staff, the Huskies have accumulated a 6.64 ERA in 122 innnings pitched and give up an average of 6.4 earned runs per game (90 earned runs in 14 games), while allowing opposing lineups to bat .289 off of them so far this season. While their opponents have enjoyed some offensive success against them, Northeastern’s pitchers have had their fair share of swings and misses, as the unit has fanned 127 batters already this season.
Offensively, the Huskies are very similar to Boston College, hitting .284 as a team with four players over the .300 mark. Leading the way is junior outfielder Charlie McConnell who is batting .393 through fourteen games, while adding five doubles and seven RBI. Behind him is senior infielder Max Burt. Burt, one of NU’s standouts, is hitting .386 on the year and has added four doubles, while driving in twelve runs. No to be outdone, infielder Jake Farrell is the team leader in most offensive categories, as the junior is batting .382 on the season with six doubles, a triple, two home runs, and fourteen RBI.
What you should know about the Siena College Saints:
Entering is 49th - yes, 49th - season atop of the Siena College program, Tony Rossi is the longest tenured head coach in college baseball. While he’s most certainly fielded some competitive teams during that time, the 2018 Siena College Saints enter Wednesday’s contest at 0-17 on the season. To be fair, the Saints opened the season at #1 Florida and have played a road series against #23 UCF and have yet to play a game at home.
As is the case with Northeastern, Siena has yet to announce a starter for Wednesday and could feature a bevy of different pitchers throughout the game. As a team, the Saints have amassed a 9.29 ERA in 132.2 innings this season and give up an average of 8.1 runs per game (139 earned runs in 17 games). To date, their pitchers haven’t missed many barrels, as Siena has recorded only 77 strikeouts on the season and have allowed opponents to bat .358 this year.
Despite the gaudy nature of some of their negative statistics, Siena does feature three talented and dangerous hitters in its lineup. On top is infielder Brian Kelly who is batting a team-leading .328 on the year and has added three doubles, a home run, and seven RBI. Senior infielder Joe Drpich is also having a good season, as he’s batting .319 with four doubles, three homers, and eleven RBI, the latter two of which are team-highs. Senior catcher Phil Madonna is also off to a good start, batting .313 with three doubles and three runs batted in.
What you should know about the Boston College Eagles:
After dropping a heart-breaker in extra innings to Virginia on Sunday, giving the Cavaliers a 2-1 series win, head coach Mike Gambino and the Boston College Eagles return home to - finally - open up their new stadium on Brighton Campus with a pair of midweek contests. Though the weather will be cold both days, with snow likely on Wednesday, it sure looks as though the Eagles will get in at least one of their games this week, in what has been an event over a decade in the making.
BC used a number of pitchers this weekend in Charlottesville, including a few who could potentially start during the midweek, so it remains to be seen who will get the call against Northeastern and Siena. On the season, the Eagles’ pitching staff has combined for a 6.49 ERA and are giving up an average of 6.2 earned runs per game (106 in 17 games). Though opponents are batting .289 off of them, BC pitchers have fanned their share of batters this season, as they’ve recorded 136 strikeouts in 147 innings pitched.
Offensively, the Eagles have excelled the season, as they are batting .284 as a team and feature four everyday players batting over .300. Shortstop Jake Palomaki is swinging the bat very well in his senior campaign, as he is batting a team-leading (tie) .438 on the season, with nine doubles, a triple, a home run, and 16 RBI. Behind the co-captain is freshman Chris Galland who is also batting .438, while adding four doubles, two triples, ten RBI, and eleven stolen bases in eleven attempts through seventeen games. Sophomore infielder Brian Dempsey is also seeing the ball well to start the year, as the Eagles’ second baseman is batting .379, with a pair of doubles and ten runs batted in. Dempsey’s classmate, Dante Baldelli, seemingly found his groove at Virginia, and upped his average to .323 to go along with four doubles and ten RBI.
As I mentioned a few times above, the weather for this week is decent, save for the chance of a few inches of snow on Wednesday, so it looks like, at the very least, BC will get their game against Northeastern in on Tuesday. Which is awesome news, as it will be the first game ever played in the new stadium on Brighton Campus. I will, however, be interested to see how the grounds crew handles the situation on Wednesday if the snow totals drop and the area only sees around an inch, or less. Will they be able to clear the new AstroTurf surface in time for the game? Will the teams play in the snow with the baselines/mound being cleared between innings, like a football game? It’s all very interesting and a great step forward for the program which, if they were still playing on the natural grass of Shea Field, would have likely already postponed Wednesday’s contest, given the forecast. Anyway, back to the games themselves. This is an important week for BC. I’ll come out an say it: the Eagles need to beat Siena on Wednesday, if they play. Losing to an 0-17 team - at home - is not a good look for any team, let alone an ACC ball club with a chance to make the postseason again. As for Northeastern, it is kind of scary how similar these two teams are: both are batting exactly .284 as a team, both have ERA’s in the mid six’s, and both staffs are allowing opponents to bat exactly .289 off them. But, beyond the similarities, this is a big game for BC in that Northeastern has a very good team this year, one that many think can win the CAA and get to the NCAA tournament. A win against them would be a great resume boost for the Eagles come May, not to mention the fact that from here out, if Boston College wants to be an NCAA team, they need to run their midweek contests. I don’t mean they necessarily have to go undefeated during the midweek, and a loss to a good Northeastern team is certainly not a death-blow, but they can’t drop numerous games to teams from the northeast and expect an at-large bid to the big-dance. So, with that said, I think the BC sweeps this week, taking a close contest over the Huskies on Tuesday to christen the new stadium and then roll over Siena on Wednesday in an offensive explosion against a struggling pitching staff. Two wins this week would be a huge boost for this team before an ultra-important ACC series at home versus Virginia Tech this weekend. Let’s home the snow holds off.