Chris Shaw hit a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth, and the Boston College baseball team picked up its sixth straight victory and all-important 20th W of the season in thrilling, 3-2 fashion over Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon.
BC improved to 20-27 on the season, 9-16 in ACC play. Pitt fell to 19-24, 9-13 in ACC play with the loss.
John Gorman went an impressive 7.2 innings for BC as the Eagles got yet another quality start out of their rotation. He allowed two runs on just two hits while striking out eight and walking three. He outdueled the combination of both Rhys Aldenhoven and John Danielczyk, who combined for seven innings of quality ball on the hill for the Panthers. They allowed just one run on seven scattered hits by the Eagles and were outperformed by Gorman, who ran into trouble in the eighth.
BC originally led 1-0 on a fourth inning RBI by Tom Bourdon as the Eagles manufactured a quality run. Shaw led off with a single up the middle on a 2-0 pitch, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Michael Strem singled him over to third, setting up a runners-at-the-corners situation with nobody out. Bourdon swung at the first pitch he saw and connected to send it into center. It was caught, but the sac fly allowed Shaw to score easily.
The game remained 1-0 until the eighth. That's when the Panthers took a one-run lead against Gorman and chased him from the game. Boo Vasquez hit an RBI triple to score Stephen Vranka, then crossed the plate himself for the go-ahead run one batter later after Mike King relieved his starter. King would get out of the inning, but the Panthers were in position for the win.
In the ninth, Tyler Hinchcliffe led off with a yeoman's effort, working a pinch hit walk against a full count to put the lead off batter on base. That brought in Nick Colucci off the bench as a pinch runner, and he advanced to second when Gabriel Hernandez singled on a payoff pitch of his own. Blake Butera hit one back to the box during the next at-bat, but the pitcher, Hobie Harris, retired Colucci at third. That set up runners at first and second with one out for Joe Cronin.
Cronin came through with a big single to the left side to tie the game as Hernandez scored from second. With the winning run on second and Cronin at first, Shaw destroyed the first pitch he saw the opposite way to left center. Butera, himself a multiple time hero of walkoff hits, scored easily and Shaw rounded first to see the dugout emptying his teammates in celebration.
King picked up the victory to improve to 2-1 on the season, while Harris shouldered the loss to fall to 3-6.
The win is the sixth straight for the pistol hot Birdballers, who remain 1.5 games back of Maryland after the Terps shut out Notre Dame, 2-0. But BC pulled into a tie with NC State, who is idle in conference play this week hosting East Carolina in a three-game series. BC is also on the heels of the Panthers, who they'll play two more times this weekend.
Boston College hosts the Panthers on Saturday at 1:30 PM in the ALS Awareness Game at Shea Field. The game is the annual attendance record breaking contest in support Pete Frates.
Here are the postgame shenanigans and interviews from the BC Bird Ball Youtube:
Prior to the game, Johnny Gaudreau "threw out" the first pitch in the most unique fashion. Catch the video below: