After they swept two games during the midweek over UMass and Quinnipiac, by the scores of 9-2 and 9-5 respectively, the Boston College baseball team returns to action this weekend, as they host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in an Atlantic Division clash. Saturday’s game will also feature a dedication ceremony for the new Brighton Stadium prior to first pitch.
Brighton Stadium, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Friday, April 13th @ 6pm ETvs. Wake Forest
Saturday, April 14th @ 3pm ET vs. Wake Forest
Sunday, April 15th @ 1pm ET vs. Wake Forest
Fri: BC: Jr. RHP Jacob Stevens (3-4, 4.57 ERA) vs. Wake: Jr. RHP Griffin Roberts (3-3, 3.05 ERA)
Sat: BC: Jr. LHP Dan Metzdorf (0-4, 5.08 ERA) vs. Wake: So. RHP Morgan McSweeney (1-4, 4.25 ERA)
Sun: BC: Sr. Brian Rapp (3-3, 3.83 ERA) vs. Wake: So. RHP Colin Peluse (5-0, 3.04 ERA)
How to Watch/Listen:
As usual, all three games of the series will be covered on Gametracker and broadcast online via WZBC Radio. However, this weekend’s series is also scheduled to be the first covered on ACCN Extra, streamed online via the WatchESPN app, at the new Brighton complex. Links to all audio and video options can be found on the schedule page of Boston College baseball at BCEagles.com.
What you should know about the Wake Forest Demon Deacons:
Entering his ninth season in Winston-Salem, head coach Tom Walter has possibly his most hard-to-define Wake Forest team in his tenure. For, although the Demon Deacons are well below .500 overall, with a season record of 14-20, they are a respectable 7-8 in the ACC and have earned series wins over top-25 opponents Florida State, Louisville, and Duke. The Deacs’ should be a pretty even match-up for Boston College this weekend.
On the mound this weekend, Wake Forest will feature three right-handers in Griffin Roberts, Morgan McSweeney, and Colin Peluse. Roberts, a junior from Midlothian, VA, carries a 3-3 record and 3.05 ERA into the weekend, while also leading the ACC in strikeouts, with 79 in 56 innings pitched. A 29th-round draft pick by the Twins a season ago, the 2018 Golden Spikes candidate will be a tough match-up for the Eagles. McSweeney, a sophomore, has encountered a few bad-luck losses while throwing the ball decently well this spring, compiling a 4.25 ERA to go along with his 1-4 record. Earning the start in the series finale will be Colin Peluse who, in 53.1 innings pitched, has earned a perfect 5-0 record to go along with a 3.04 ERA. Though his numbers are comparable to Roberts’, Peluse doesn’t get as many strikeouts as his counterpart and instead pitches to contact, relying on his defense to make plays behind him.
Offensively, Wake Forest has not put up the gaudy numbers this season that carried them to a Super Regional last year. Instead, they sit tenth in the conference with a .257 team batting average and feature only two everyday players above the .300 mark. Leading the way for Wake this season is freshman infielder Bobby Seymour. Seymour, who usually plays first base, is batting a team-high .325 on the year, with six doubles, four home runs, and 17 RBI. Behind him is fellow infielder Jake Mueller who, in his junior season, is batting .319, with three doubles, a triple, and 12 runs batted in. Rounding out the top three is junior third baseman Johnny Aiello. Aiello, a 2017 Second Team All-ACC selection, is widely thought to be one of the best third base prospects in this June’s draft, however, after hitting .328 a season ago, with 20 home runs, his numbers have dipped slightly this spring and he’s currently batting .291, with five doubles and a triple, though, he has launched a team-high seven home runs, and driven in 32 already this season.
What you should know about the Boston College Eagles:
After snapping an eight game losing streak with an 8-0 win over Pitt last Sunday, head coach Mike Gambino and his Boston College team enter this weekend’s action on a three game winning streak, after handling UMass and Quinnipiac during the midweek. The Eagles are now 12-19 overall on the season, including a 5-10 mark in the ACC. A series win over Wake Forest would go a long way in helping BC’s chances of making the postseason for a third straight year.
Boston College will feature its standard weekend rotation once again this week, as Jacob Stevens will get the call on Friday, Dan Metzdorf on Saturday, and Brian Rapp on Sunday. The trio has turned in some stellar performances this season, with Metzdorf especially coming alive in his last three starts. Rapp also has been strong as of late and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning a weekend ago against the Panthers. BC will need all three to exert their dominance over a dangerous, though somewhat declined, Wake Forest lineup.
Offensively, the Eagles have rebounded in the last three games after going through a prolonged, team-wide slump and are now hitting a tick below .260 on the season. Leading the way is senior Jake Palomaki. The Eagles’ co-captain is batting .344 on the season, with ten doubles, a triple, three home runs, and 22 RBI. Behind him is freshman outfielder Chris Galland who is batting .343, with seven doubles, two triples, 12 RBI, and a conference leading 22 steals in 22 attempts. Rounding out the top three is sophomore second basemen Brian Dempsey who is batting .330 on the year with 12 runs batted in, while starting every game this season.
The Wake Forest team that is coming to Chestnut Hill this weekend is not the same one that outscored the Eagles 28-7 a year ago in Winston Salem. Instead of out-slugging its opponents by “launching” home run after home run out of the cavernous David F. Couch Ballpark, this year’s Demon Deacons team relies heavily on its starting pitching to win games. And, as noted above, they have been pretty good on the weekends in doing so. There is no doubt Griffin Roberts will be tough to beat on Friday night, but I think Wake’s lineup will have an equally difficult time figuring out Jacob Stevens, making the first game in this series a very interesting one to watch. Saturday, I think, favors the Eagles for, although his stat line may not reflect it, Dan Metzdorf is throwing the ball as well as anyone in the conference right now, having punched out 30 opposing batters in his last three outings and, most recently, he went eight strong innings against Pitt in a no-decision. The wild card in this series will be the match-up of Rapp versus Peluse. As we’ve seen this season, Brian Rapp can be dominant at times (he took a no hitter into the seventh last weekend), but on the flip side, Peluse hasn’t lost this year in eight starts. So something has to give. Honestly, aside from perhaps the match-up with Griffin, I think BC’s offense will handle the Wake staff fairly well. McSweeney has a WHIP of 1.47, so it’s likely Boston College will get men on base on Saturday and, as mentioned above, Peluse pitches to contact, meaning the Eagles, who have the fifth fewest strikeouts in the conference, will see a lot pitches to hit and should put a lot of balls in play. Call me crazy, but with the field dedication happening Saturday and a large number of former players and alumni coming back to Boston for the series, I think Boston College pulls out a pair of wins at home.