Let's take a look back at the weekend that was down in South Carolina. BC opened up the season with a couple of losses to Wofford and Xavier, bookending a doubleheader Saturday win over the Musketeers and USC Upstate. Below are some of the observations. Provide your thoughts in the comments section!
The Top Half of the Lineup: BC got tremendous production out of the top four to five hitters in their lineup. Gabriel Hernandez, Blake Butera, Chris Shaw, and Michael Strem went a combined 31-for-86, good enough for a .360 batting average. They scored 16 runs scored and 16 runs driven in (Hernandez leading them with six scored and six RBI). Four of Strem's seven hits were doubles, giving him a .611 slugging percentage. Both Hernandez and Shaw went yard. You can afford to have struggles in the bottom of the lineup if you're that good at the top.
Joe Cronin hit third for the weekend but hit only .235. That said, he still had three RBI and three runs scored.
Starting Pitching: The casual observer automatically wrote off the team's pitching before the season because of the loss of Andrew Chin. But returning two-thirds of the weekend rotation is clearly a positive, and John Gorman put together a fine performance on Friday against Wofford, holding the Terriers to a .211 batting average by surrendering only four hits in 5.1 innings. In addition, Jesse Adams was dominant in striking out eight over 4.2 innings.
The Bullpen: Justin Dunn earned himself a solid second look in relief of Adams against USC Upstate. Throwing 4.2 innings, he struck out five and retired eight of the first nine batters he faced. He let up only two hits, one run, and walked two, picking up the win over the host Spartans. Mike King, meanwhile, threw 2.1 innings to record his first save of the year against Xavier in Saturday's early game.
Luke Fernandes got the win against Xavier on Saturday by throwing two innings out of the bullpen, and Tyler Hinchcliffe pitched out of the big Musketeer sixth inning on Sunday before stranding two in the seventh.
Going 2-2 on the Weekend: I don't necessarily see this as 100% bad, but I also said that anything less than 3-1 on the weekend would be considered a little bit of a disappointment. Up 4-0 on Xavier on Sunday, the Eagles had a golden opportunity to waltz through the rest of the game and really put the Musketeers away. Instead, the big lead early turned into a negative, and the Musketeers came back to score nine unanswered runs. In the eighth inning, they dropped a four spot. It was a golden opportunity, but to be honest, it's early enough in the season that you kind of can overlook that if you're a coach or fan. It just would've been nice if BC had found a way to pull out the third win somehow.
Nothing?!?!: Honestly, the bullpen woes aren't really there. The team struggled but it was the first series of the season. A couple of guys threw innings that maybe won't be throwing later in the season. If we're talking about things that were really bad—the bullpen coughed up leads and that's not something that anyone wants to see be a trend, but at the same time, roles aren't clearly defined. BC can't have their closer throwing over two innings every time they need him, but at the same time, it'll be great if they can settle on some type of rotation of first out of the pen. The struggles were there, but those are growing pains. It'll be very interesting to see what happens going into the LSU series next week.