If you’re like many BC fans this morning, you’re waking up, checking the headlines, and reading that BC baseball made an improbable comeback, topping Auburn 11-9.
But it doesn’t sink in just how improbable until you really take a look at the sequence of events that led to the victory.
BC’s win probability entering the 9th inning trailing 9-1, according to Major League Baseball history (an inaccurate comparison to college baseball, but the best data we have) was 1-in-2813 - 0.035%.
In the top of the 9th, Sal Frelick led the inning off for BC with a single - just the kind of start you need to ignite a crazy rally. According to GregStoll.com’s baseball calculators, in the entire history of MLB from 1957-2020, a visiting team was down by 8 with one runner on and nobody out in the 9th 510 times, and came back to win exactly one time - a win probability of about 0.19%. Big improvement over 0.035%!
But Cody Morissette flied out in the next at bat. At that point, BC’s win probability by MLB standards was literally zero - no team since 1954 has ever come back from an 8 run gap, down to their last 2 outs. Do you know how impossible something has to be for it to have never happened in Major League Baseball’s recorded history?
Brian Dempsey singled, and then Jack Cunningham flied out to left, bringing BC down to its last out.
At this point, in addition to having a win probability of 0.00%, BC’s odds of even scoring 4 or more runs in an inning were just 1.98%.
Luke Gold’s two-out single to right center started the rally in earnest, bringing home Frelick to make it 9-2. (BC win probability: still Zero.)
Cameron Leary hit a single to score Dempsey and make it 9-3. With runners on first and second and two outs and the Eagles down by 6, BC’s win probability was still “zero,” though their chance of scoring 4+ runs in the inning was up to a big old 11.6%.
Next up: Travis Honeyman. He was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Still at win probability zero.
Dante Baldelli was then walked on four pitches to score the next run, making it 9-4 Auburn. Now it gets interesting? Sort of. BC’s odds improved to 0.56% now that they were within 5.
It wasn’t until the next batter, Chris Galland, doubled to left to bring home two runs that things moved even into the realm of the possible. That made it 9-6 Auburn, with Sal Frelick at the plate representing the tying run. This improved BC’s win probability to a robust 2.5%, with a 6.89% chance of scoring the three runs they needed to extend the game.
Then Frelick did this:
celebrating with the intensity of a man thinking “the win-probability-added (WPA) of that particular hit was 60.16%.”
BC’s chances of winning went from 0.035% to 62.66%, and some Eagle history was made.