Each spring, during the tail end of hockey and football seasons, football programs across the nation take part in practice sessions under the direction of their coaching staff. The highlight is normally the annual intrasquad spring game, a first look and chance for people to watch their players and prognosticate on the upcoming season.
As the major spring sport, baseball operates on the opposite schedule. The team practices each fall before participating in a capstone "world series" pitting teammate against teammate for bragging rights. At Boston College, the annual fall ball series is a three-game affair named for two-time captain Peter "Sonny" Nictakis, who tragically passed away in the summer of 2000 after a fight with Hodgkin's disease.
This year's Nictakis World Series provided a down-to-the-wire affair highlighted by the Maroon team coming back from down one game to upend the Gold team two games to one at the tail end of October.
The Gold team pummeled Maroon, 11-3, in the first game as senior Travis Ferrick drove in three runs. Johnny Adams went 4-for-4 with three doubles, two of which cleared bases loaded scenarios. The game provided a good look at the future of BC baseball as well, as freshmen Donovan Casey and Carmen Giampetruzzi showcased their stuff at the dish and on the bump, respectively. Casey powered one out of the yard, while Giampetruzzi pitched four scoreless innings.
Maroon tied the series at a game apiece with a 7-3 victory in the second game. Leading the way was Gabriel Hernandez, who went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Geoffrey Murphy went 2-for-3 with a two-RBI triple, while converted pitcher-to-outfielder Michael Strem went 3-for-4 with two runs driven in. Bobby Skogsbergh pitched four innings of one-hit baseball, and Eric Stone perserved the win by striking out three over three innings.
Maroon then won the series by taking the third game, 7-1, rallying from a 1-0 first inning deficit.
Johnny Adams went 6-for-12 over the course of the series for the Gold team, notching three doubles, four runs scored and seven RBIs. Geoffrey Murphy went 4-for-9 with four RBIs for Maroon, while Chris Shaw went 5-for-11 with a triple, double, and three runs driven in. Jesse Adams won the series with three innings in relief, sprinkling two hits and six strikeouts.
Boston College will have plenty to prove this spring after going 22-33 last season, 10-20 in the ACC. The Eagles managed to make a run at the ACC Tournament late in 2014 after nearly sweeping NC State and completing a sweep against Maryland. Losing two out of three to Pittsburgh and two out of three to Clemson dashed their hopes and left the Eagles out of the postseason for a fourth straight season. Although they increased their win totals, they lost 15 of 16 games in the month of March and lost both six of seven games midseason and six of eight to end the season.
While they return the majority of their pieces at the plate, they'll have to replace a large part of their weekend rotation due to the departed Andrew Chin. Drafted by the New York Yankees, Chin played most of the summer on Cape Cod before signing a contract to go professional. Jeff Burke and John Gorman are back for the Eagle weekend rotation, although the latter spent most of his summer as a reliever on the Cape.
Despite the frustrating season, BC will have an uphill battle in 2015. Maryland is gone, replaced by Louisville in the Atlantic Division. The Cardinals started last season as the preseason #8 team in the nation, finishing 12th in the nation with 48 wins. The regular season American Athletic Conference champion, they qualified as a #1 seed in the national tournament, hosting a regional. Undefeated through their regional, they hosted and swept Kenesaw State in the Super Regionals before losing two straight to Vanderbilt and Texas in the College World Series.
The Cardinals finished with 50 wins, their second straight 50-win season and CWS appearance. They've been to Omaha three times under head coach Dan McDonnell, qualifying for the national tournament in all but one season. Before coming to the ACC, they finished first in the Big East/AAC five times.
They'll join a division already loaded with talent. Boston College will have to play divisional series against Florida State, Clemson, and NC State. The two divisions are used purely for scheduling with respect to the regular season, determining which teams play each other as part of a crossover. Ten teams qualify for the ACC Tournament, with the lower four teams playing one-game play-ins. The remaining eight teams are then segmented into two pools for round robin play.
Last year's ninth-seeded team, Georgia Tech, defeated Wake Forest in a play-in game, then won Pool A by going 2-1 and winning a head-to-head tiebreaker over Clemson. Georgia Tech defeated Maryland in the ACC Championship to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, scoring six runs in the last three innings to come back from a one-run deficit.
Boston College has yet to announce their 2015 baseball schedule.