After both of its midweek contests were cancelled due to scheduling conflicts, the Boston College baseball team returns to action this weekend in its final home ACC series of the season against the Louisville Cardinals. The weekend will feature three special days for BC baseball, as Friday will serve as First Responders Day, Saturday as Military Appreciation Day, and Sunday as Senior Day.
Brighton Stadium at Harrington Athletics Village, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Friday, May 4th @ 6pm ET vs. Louisville
Saturday, May 5th @ 4pm ET vs. Louisville
Sunday, May 6th @ 12pm ET vs. Louisville
Fri: BC: Jr. RHP Jacob Stevens (3-5, 5.01 ERA) vs. UL: Adam Wolf (4-2, 2.39 ERA)
Sat: BC: Jr. LHP Dan Metzdorf (1-6, 4.81 ERA) vs. UL: Nick Bennett (5-1, 2.32 ERA)
Sun: BC: Sr. RHP Brian Rapp (3-5, 3.82 ERA) vs. UL: Bobby Miller (4-1, 0.92 ERA)
How to Watch/Listen:
All three games this weekend will be covered on GameTracker, broadcast online via WZBC Radio, and streamed on ACC Network Extra via the WatchESPN App. Links to all three viewing options can be found on the schedule page of Boston College baseball at BCEagles.com.
What you should know about the University of Louisville Cardinals:
Head coach Dan McDonnell has done an impressive job of turning Louisville into a perennial contender in his 12 seasons at the helm of the Cardinals program. This season is no different, as Louisville enters the weekend with an overall record of 30-14 and a conference record of 10-11. While their mark in the ACC is not as dominant as in years past, most outlets have Louisville as a lock for the NCAA tournament.
On the mound, Louisville is statistically the best team in the ACC, as the Cardinals sport a 3.29 team-ERA and feature no weekend starter with an earned run average above 2.40. In the series, Boston College will face two lefties and a righty in junior Adam Wolf, sophomore Nick Bennett, and freshman Bobby Miller. Wolf, a lefty who will get the call on Friday, is 4-2 on the season with an ERA of 2.39. He’s also struck out 76 batters in 67.2 innings pitched and is holding opposing lineups to a .218 batting average. Bennett, another lefty who will get the nod on Saturday, touts a 2.32 ERA while boasting an impressive 5-1 mark in 42.2 innings pitched. He also maintains a strikeout to walk ratio above 2-to-1, as he’s fanned 43 hitters while walking only 15. Miller, the lone righty in the rotation, will start the series finale and has the most impressive stat line of the trio. Coming into the weekend, Miller is 4-1 on the season, with an 0.92 ERA in 39.1 innings on the mound. Opposing lineups are only batting .132 off the youngster and he’s struck out 33 while only walking 12. The combination of these three Louisville pitchers will be a tough challenge for a BC lineup that has been stymied at times this season.
Offensively, Louisville is fourth in the conference with a .272 team batting average and features two everyday players above the .300 mark. Leading the team in batting average is outfielder Danny Oriente. The sophomore is hitting .373 on the year with seven doubles and 29 RBI. Behind Oriente is Louisville’s biggest power threat, first baseman Logan Wyatt. Wyatt, only a sophomore, is batting .335 on the year and has added an ACC-leading 19 doubles, a triple, three home runs, and 43 RBI. Rounding out the top three is sophomore infielder Tyler Fitzgerald who is batting .288 with 13 doubles, three homers, and 20 runs batted in.
What you should know about the Boston College Eagles:
Though the season to date has been disappointing, head coach Mike Gambino and the Boston College Eagles will have an opportunity to get back on the winning side of things this weekend and improve on their 15-28 overall record that includes a 6-18 mark in the ACC. The Eagles are 2-7 against the Cardinals since 2015, with their only wins coming in a series victory over Louisville at home in 2016.
BC will feature its regular rotation of Jacob Stevens, Dan Metzdorf, and Brian Rapp again this weekend. While Stevens and Rapp have been solid for much of the year, Metzdorf, the lone left-hander in the rotation, has been outstanding since the season’s midway point, lasting seven or more innings in four of his last six starts and striking out 46 batters in that time. However, the lineup will need to give all three plenty of run support if the Eagles want to take a game or two this weekend.
Offensively, BC is batting .247 as a team with three players hitting over .300. Freshman outfielder Chris Galland leads the team with a .329 average and has also set a new Boston College record for steals in a season with 28, which is good for tops in the conference, as well. Behind Galland is senior shortstop Jake Palomaki who is batting .322 with 13 doubles, two triples, three home runs, and 30 RBI. Holding steady all season has been sophomore Brian Dempsey who is batting .309 on the year with 16 runs batted in and a team-high 12 sacrifice bunts.
I won’t sugarcoat it. This weekend is going to be tough. Louisville is a very good team and one, given their conference record, that is fighting to gain a top-six seed in the ACC Tournament and solidify their standing in the NCAA tournament down the season’s stretch. Not to mention they feature the best pitching staff in the conference and a bevy of dangerous hitters at the plate. I mentioned in my recap of this past weekend’s series against Notre Dame that BC was virtually out of the running to gain a spot in the ACC Tournament. While that is still true, technically they can still squeak into the field with a series win (more likely a sweep) this weekend and then a replicate performance in two weeks at Miami, with some help from others around the ACC. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but against thee pitchers who don’t allow many hits, runs, or base-runners for that matter, it will be tough. I will say this: I won’t be totally surprised if the Eagles take one game this weekend, as Stevens, Metzdorf, and Rapp do have the capability to go pitch-for-pitch with Louisville. It will just come down to whether or not the offense can score, which, as we’ve seen this season, has been a problem at times when the Eagles have faced highly-talented staffs. Look for the Cardinals to take the series, with BC taking one game on the weekend.