After having their first round game of the 2018 Baseball Beanpot Tournament against Harvard moved to Wednesday evening and subsequently falling to the Crimson in extra innings by the score of 7-4, the Boston College baseball team returns to action at home this weekend in a pivotal ACC series against the University of Pittsburgh.
Brighton Stadium, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Friday, April 6th @ 4 pm ET vs. Pitt
Saturday, April 7th @ 2 pm ET vs. Pitt
Sunday, April 8th @ 1 pm ET vs. Pitt
Fri: BC: Jr. RHP Jacob Stevens (3-3, 3.96 ERA) vs. PITT: So. RHP RJ Freure (2-1, 4.03 ERA)
Sat: BC: Jr. LHP Dan Metzdorf (0-4, 6.10 ERA) vs. PITT: So. RHP Dan Hammer (2-2, 10.61 ERA)
Sun: BC: Sr. RHP Brian Rapp (2-3, 4.50 ERA) vs. PITT: R-Jr. RHP Blair Calvo (1-1, 4.07 ERA)
How to Watch/Listen:
All three games of this weekend’s series against Pittsburgh will be covered on Gametracker, as well as broadcast online via WZBC Radio. Links to both options can be found on the schedule page of Boston College baseball at BCEagles.com.
What you should know about the University of Pittsburgh Panthers:
Entering his 21st season at the helm of the University of Pittsburgh baseball program, head coach Joe Jordano has accumulated over 500 wins and is the winningest coach in Pitt history. However, the Panthers have yet to qualify for the ACC Tournament since joining the conference in 2014 and, as they currently sit tied with Boston College with a 4-8 record in league-play, and a 15-10 record overall, a series win this weekend would go a long way in helping them end their postseason drought.
Pittsburgh’s weekend rotation has been fluid so far this season, making their starters liable to change, but going off of who they threw a week ago in a series win over Virginia, the Eagles should stand to see three righties on the weekend in RJ Freure, Dan Hammer, and Blair Calvo. Freure, a sophomore, has the lowest ERA in the projected rotation at 4.03, but has started the fewest games. Even though he has been primarily featured out of the bullpen, he has still compiled a 2-1 record on the year in 29 innings pitched and is holding opposing batters to a .206 batting average. Joining Freure in the rotation is his classmate Dan Hammer. Hammer, through 18.2 innings this season, has compiled a 2-2 record and 10.61 ERA. He has close to a one-to-one strikeout to walk ratio and is allowing batters to hit at a .308 clip off him this season. Redshirt junior Blair Calvo rounds out the trio, having earned a 1-1 record and 4.07 ERA in 24.1 innings this season. Though he has issued 14 walks on the year, he is averaging more than a strikeout per inning, as he’s fanned 27 batters this season.
Offensively, the Panthers are hitting .257 as a team, good for 11th in the ACC, and feature three everyday players at, or above, the .300 mark. Leading the way is infielder Liam Sabino. The redshirt junior is batting a team-leading .341 on the season and has added nine doubles, seven home runs, and 21 RBI to the Panther offense. He’s also 13 for 14 on stolen base attempts this year. Behind Sabino is outfielder Frank Maldonado who is batting .330, with five doubles, a homer, and a team-leading 23 RBI. Rounding out the group is sophomore Alex Amos who is hitting at an even .300 clip, with a double and four runs batted in.
What you should know about the Boston College Eagles:
After a disappointing series sweep at the hands of the Clemson Tigers dropped their conference record to 4-8 last week, Boston College and head coach Mike Gambino host Pittsburgh this weekend with the hope of taking the series from the Panthers and regaining some traction in the ACC standings at the midway point of the season. The Eagles will also look to reverse their recent fortune against Pitt, as they’re 2-4 against the Panthers in their last six meetings.
Looking to bounce back from uncharacteristic starts a week ago will be the weekend rotation of Jacob Stevens, Dan Metzdorf, and Brian Rapp. Up until last weekend, Stevens, Metzdorf, and Rapp had put together three solid weekends of outings in a row, and were looking like they were hitting their stride. Unfortunately the Clemson offense which, to that point, had been dormant, came alive to score 27 combined runs in the three games and handed BC three consecutive losses. While Pitt has some talent at the plate, this should be a lineup that the Boston College pitching staff can match-up well against, considering some of their numbers so far this season.
Offensively, the Eagles have cooled off from the hot start to the conference season, but still possess a dangerous lineup led by senior infielder Jake Palomaki. The Eagles’ shortstop leads the team with a .372 batting average and has added 10 doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 19 RBI on the season. Behind the co-captain is sophomore Brian Dempsey who is batting .337 on the season, with three doubles, and 12 runs batted in. Along with being a perfect 16 for 16 in stolen base attempts this season, freshman Chris Galland is batting .325 on the season, with six doubles, two triples, and 11 RBI.
While I will not go as far as to say this is a “must-win” series for the Eagles, given some of their late season runs in the past, I will say that if they want to make a third straight appearance in the postseason, these are the types of series, especially at home, that they should win. On paper these two teams are very similar, they sit 10th and 11th in batting in the ACC and, while Pitt has the numerical edge in team-ERA, BC has a better starting rotation, so, in my mind, those numbers even out, especially since the Eagles have a couple statistical anomalies in their bullpen that have dropped their overall standing in the league. So, where does that leave this weekend? Both teams are in the hunt for the ACC Tournament and both would benefit greatly from two or more wins this weekend in that endeavor. The one thing the Eagles simply cannot do in this series is overlook the Panthers. I’m sure that coach Gambino will have his team focused, especially after Wednesday’s loss to Harvard, but having already played top-10 teams in NC State and Clemson, and a traditional power in Virginia, the temptation may be there for the players to exhale, so to speak, thinking this weekend may not be a tough as weekends past. However, Pittsburgh is coming off a series win over Virginia — the same Cavaliers team that beat BC three weeks ago — so pushovers they are not. The good news is I believe the Eagles will take this series, and possibly have a chance to sweep, because the rotation and bullpen will pitch with a chip on their collective shoulder that was placed there by a Clemson Tiger offense that dominated them last week. I also believe BC’s offense will improve this weekend against a middle of the road Pittsburgh staff and begin to regain the form we saw two weeks ago against Virginia Tech. The early forecast for this weekend looks chilly and perhaps a little wet, at least on Friday, which should play in Boston College’s favor, though, as Pitt is a cold weather team as well (I can attest to this, as the winter here in the ‘Burgh has been brutal), it won’t be as big a factor as it would with other teams. This is an important weekend for the Eagles and one I think they’ll take full advantage of and walk away with, at least, a couple a wins and an elevated standing the ACC.