Though the temperature hovered in the low-40’s for all three games this weekend, the Boston College baseball team didn’t seem to mind, as they took their first home ACC series at the new Brighton Stadium over the Virginia Tech Hokies, in dramatic fashion, two games to one.
On Friday, starter Jacob Stevens again pitched well, striking out seven Virginia Tech batters in 6.1 innings, while allowing only four Hokie runs. A combination of Sean Hughes, Will Hesslink, and Thomas Lane shut the visitors out in the final 2.2 innings of the game and the offense, though only recording four hits on the day, made the most of its opportunities, scoring three runs in the third and four in the seventh, to beat Virginia Tech 7-4. Sophomore Jack Cunningham had a career day at the plate, as the Eagles’ right fielder recorded two of his team’s four hits and drove in a career high four runs on the day.
Due to inclement weather predicted for Sunday morning, the two teams played a double header on Saturday. In game one, starting pitcher Dan Metzdorf was lights out, controlling the Hokies’ lineup for eight innings, allowing only two hits, one run, and striking out a career high 13 batters. Though BC carried a 2-1 lead into the top of the ninth, the bullpen allowed Virginia Tech to tie the game at two, before closing the door on their half of the inning. Boston College’s offense, however, was up to the challenge and they they loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame. With two outs, sophomore Dante Baldelli launched a grand slam over the left-centerfield wall for the walk off 6-2 win, giving the Eagles the series over the Hokies.
The Eagles went for the sweep in game two of the double header but came up short, falling to Virginia Tech 5-2 in the series finale. Starter Brian Rapp pitched admirably, lasting six innings and striking out four, however, he shouldered the loss, as he surrendered four runs on the afternoon. Cunningham and Baldelli each stayed hot in the second game of the double header, recording a pair of hits apiece, with Cunningham scoring one of BC’s two runs in the game. Junior Jake Alu and sophomore Brian Dempsey had nice games as well, as both went 2 for 4 in the finale.
It’s always great to win an ACC series no matter what, but to do it in such dramatic fashion was really cool to see, especially as the series-victory over the Hokies was the first at the new Brighton Stadium. Obviously, it would have been nice to secure the sweep and head into next weekend’s match-up with Clemson at 5-4 in the conference as opposed to 4-5, but in a conference as deep and talented as the ACC, sweeps are not easy to obtain and do not happen often. Regardless, the Eagles did what they needed to do this weekend and are in a good spot moving forward. It was awesome to see Dan Metzdorf continue the upward trend he displayed at UVA a week ago and be dominant in game one on Saturday, as his season got off to a rocky start. If he can continue to pitch at, or near, that level (I don’t think anyone expects eight innings and 13 strikeouts every outing) the Eagle’s will have a chance to win every series left on the schedule. And, speaking of the remaining ACC games on the docket, BC has a favorable home slate coming up in the next month. After travelling to #14 Clemson this weekend, the Eagles get Pitt at home followed by Wake Forest at home. What that means is, if they can take a game, or perhaps the series, from the Tigers on the road, they’ll return home to play six very winnable home conference games in a row to close out the first half of the ACC schedule. If they can come out of that stretch over .500, I think they have a great shot not only to get into the ACC tournament, but to secure at top-8 seed, and thereby be in the hunt for an at large bid to the NCAA postseason. While talking about the BC’s postseason prospects is very intriguing, before they can worry about seeding or their at-large resume, the Eagles face a tough match-up on Tuesday at home against a very good UConn team.