Four different Boston College batters blasted homers, and the Eagles used a seven-run sixth inning to score a big time 11-1 victory of the UMass Minutemen on Wednesday in Northborough, MA.
Jake Palomaki, Blake Butera, Chris Shaw, and Scott Braren all went yard, and Brian Rapp (1-1) pitched two innings of shutout relief as the Eagles picked up their seventh win in their last nine games, including their sixth in their last seven. The win brought BC within two games of .500 baseball at 12-14 on the season.
UMass only managed four hits over the course of the game, but their run came in the first inning without getting into the column. Starting pitcher Eric Stone beaned lead off hitter Bryce Maher to start off the game. Maher was sacrificed over to second on a bunt by Kyle Adie, then moved up to third on a wild pitch. He scored when Rob McLam grounded out to third for the second out, giving the Minutemen a 1-0 lead.
The game actually stayed that way as BC's bats largely flamed out through the first five innings as UMass used five different pitchers for an inning apiece. Tim Cassidy, Ryan Venditti, Kevin Lacy, Scott Hovey, and Kevin Hassett all pitched a single frame, combining for five innings of three-hit shutout ball, striking out two and walking one.
UMass brought in Bailey Train to start the sixth inning, and he put down two of the first three batters he faced while surrendering only a walk to Blake Butera. With Butera on second thanks to a wild pitch, Train walked Donovan Casey on four pitches, and Joe Cronin promptly followed it up with a 0-1 single to left, scoring the lead runner and tying the game at 1-1.
That opened the flood gates. With runners on first and second, Train threw two wild pitches; the first moved Casey to third and Cronin to second, while the second scored the lead runner to give BC a 2-1 lead. Nick Sciortino then doubled on a full count to score Cronin from second, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead with one on and two out.
With a full count and still two outs, Scott Braren crushed a pitch to right field, connecting for his first career homer and increasing the lead to 5-1. Completely derailed, Train walked Johnny Adams (again on a full count) before being sent to the dugout in favor of Ben Panunzio. With Jake Palomaki at the dish, Panunzio's fourth pitch of the game went a long way in a short amount of time over the wall in left center, blowing the game wide open in favor of a 7-1 lead. Butera would single and be gunned down to end the inning at second, leaving the Eagles with seven runs on five hits in the bottom of the sixth. Most importantly, they left nobody on base.
The score remained that way until the eighth when BC added four more with two more homers, both coming with two-outs. Blake Butera hit his first of the year with a man on, and after Michael Strem singled to left, Chris Shaw blasted his eighth of the season, a pull shot to right, to give the Eagles the 10-run lead.
Trevor Massey pitched the ninth and surrendered a couple of base runners but escaped the jam without incident.
A full one-third of BC's 12 hits went over the fence in a monster day for the Eagles. Butera finished 2-for-4 with a couple of runs scored and two RBI, while Shaw's only hit of the day came in a big spot in the eighth. Michael Strem went 4-for-5 with a run scored, and only three position players didn't crack the hit column for the Eagles.
Train (0-1) picked up the loss by giving up six runs on three hits, walking three and throwing three wild pitches. Panunzio went 1.1 innings, charged with only one run on three hits, striking out two and walking one. Evan Mackintosh pitched the eighth for the Minutemen, giving up the four runs on three hits. The loss dropped UMass to 4-8 on the season.
The Eagles get back at it on Friday, when they resume ACC play against Wake Forest.