Chicks Dig The Long Ball. I don't care if it was a single game and it doesn't mean anything to the long run. I don't care if it did nothing to help Boston College actually make the ACC Tournament. Scoring 22 runs against Northeastern was a thing of beauty. It felt good. It made me feel good to be rooting for BC, and it made me feel a pride I haven't felt in the last couple of seasons.
There was so much more to it, though. When the offense scores 22 runs, the defense has a propensity to ease up, and the pitching staff has a tendency to serve up some meatballs. On Tuesday, that didn't happen. Slamming the door on the Huskies while huffing and puffing and blowing their house down was great, but shutting down an in-state (nay, an in-city rival) the way they did reaffirmed, for one day, BC's status as the resident big dog.
That win put us in a position to believe Boston College could do something it hasn't done in a few years: win the Beanpot. And it has us all playing with a glimmer of hope about this program moving forward.
The NC State Split. Splitting with NC State is huge because of the cancelled game on Sunday. You have to think that, owing to averages, BC would have its work cut out for it in winning the third game. Since the game was never played, it won't be made up and won't be impacted in the standings. If the Eagles can get into the race, they have what amounts to a half of a win in their back pocket. 1-7 is a helluva lot better than 1-8, and yes, I'm flat out assuming the Eagles would've lost on Sunday, especially since they all but ran out of players in the bullpen on Saturday.
Beating Holy Cross. Could that game have been more nondescript? Good teams need to have those games; they need to be able to go out and win and have nobody notice that it actually happened. If BC loses that game, it's the same old Eagles. Instead, the win over the Crusaders was one where nobody was overtaxed. The pitching staff was split up in such a way that everyone is available. It was a well-managed game, well-executed given that there was a natural let down after scoring 22 on Northeastern.
The Managing. Nobody has been a bigger critic of Mike Gambino than me. In fact, I've been called a basher, and I've written columns detailing who would be good fits without him even being removed. For what it's worth, he did a stellar job managing this weekend. He managed the pitching staff well, and the hitting was up to par. BC did run into an out against NC State, but I'm not sure if it was a runner's decision or a coaches' decision. The only loss over the weekend came in a 15-inning affair, which is essentially to say the Pack Nine outlasted the Eagles.
In Gambino's press conference, he talked about the need to have players healthy. BC went 3-1 without a healthy Gabriel Hernandez and with limited output from John Gorman. Gorman pitched on a hard count (and was dominant) to set himself up for this weekend. Mike King, who is proving his versatility as a short reliever, a long reliever, and a potential starter, pitched five innings of strong relief against the Wolfpack. John Nicklas is developing into the Eagles' closer. Detractors can point to 1-7 in league play, but bear in mind that six of those games were against top notch talent, teams BC cannot compete with for the time being. Maybe they'll be there in a few years, but right now, they're building. Mike Gambino managed a good job this week.
Canceling Sunday's game. The third game between NC State and Boston College was outright canceled because of a cold forecast. There's a part of me that totally gets it; baseball players risk injury if they play in cold weather. Especially considering the long term nature of Saturday's game, Sunday's game was asking for a problem.
But it's still a bad look, and it could come back to impact the standings. If BC finishes a half-game up in the ACC Tournament race, they'll be in the bracket while someone else is out. If they finish a half-game back, then they're out. I know I mentioned this as a positive, but there's still something that feels like you're backing in that way.
Giving up that many runs in the 15th inning. NC State scored six runs in the top of the 15th inning. Regardless if you ran out of pitchers and were using guys at the utter end of the bullpen, that shouldn't happen. Then again, it was the 15th inning.