For Joe Cronin, there couldn't be a better storyline.
A native of Scarborough, Maine, he shares a name with a true icon of the game. After all, Joe Cronin played 20 years from 1926 through 1945, hit .301 over his career and is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. A former player, player-manager, general manager, and American League President, Joe Cronin had his familiar #4 retired at Fenway Park in 1984.
So it's fitting that the Joe Cronin who plays for Boston College, who wears #4 for Boston College, would have the kind of moment that comes along once in a lifetime in the house where the Boston Red Sox' Joe Cronin plied his trade.
In the top of the first inning of the Beanpot Championship at Fenway Park, BC's Joe Cronin lifted a 1-1 pitch over the 37-foot high wall in left field. As it cleared the Green Monster, it gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead over the UMass Minutemen. It would be all they needed.
The Eagles recorded their third shutout in four games and their second in a row as they defeated the Minutemen, 2-0, on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. With the win, BC won its first Beanpot since 2011, ending a three-season drought and returning the trophy to its rightful landing spot in Chestnut Hill.
Along with Cronin's homer, BC picked up an insurance run in the top of the fifth when Jake Palomaki scored Logan Hoggarth with a single to centerfield. After that, the pitching staff did all it needed to in denying UMass more than four hits. For the fourth straight game, after not allowing a walk this past weekend against Georgia Tech, five Eagle pitchers combined to once again not walk a single batter. Of the four hits allowed, two were for extra bases.
Nick Poore (2-3) picked up the win for BC after throwing four innings in the start. He allowed just two hits while striking out four, facing two over the minimum while tossing 58 pitches, of which 40 were strikes. Eric Stone pitched the fifth and sixth while allowing a single hit and striking out two, facing one more than his minimum.
Stone handed the ball to Geoffrey Murphy, who struck out the side in the eighth after allowing a one-out single. John Nicklas threw the eighth, and Justin Dunn slammed the door in the ninth with two strikeouts and a hit batsman to his credit.
BC's pitching held the Minutemen without a base runner until the third, and UMass never advanced more than one man on base throughout the course of the game. It was an exhibition of pitching that's starting to become the norm for the Eagles, who won for the sixth straight game and seventh time in their last eight.
For the Eagles' offense, eight hits came from five different hitters, including three with multi-hit games. Palomaki and Cronin both had two-hit games, along with Logan Hoggarth. Hoggarth and Cronin finished with the runs scored. Michael Strem and Nick Sciortino pitched in with single hits for BC, who drew four walks from UMass pitching.
The Eagles (22-18) are now 17-6 in their last 23 games since losing to Louisville back in March. It was their first Beanpot championship since 2011, when they defeated Harvard, 8-0, at Fenway. This was the first Beanpot for the players on the current roster, and it represented the 11th title since the tournament's inception in 1990. For BC, it improved them to 33-16-1 all-time in the Beanpot, and it pulled them one game in front of UMass in tournament play at 6-5.
BC has now matched their win total from a year ago and has equaled the most wins of any season during the Mike Gambino era at The Heights.
UMass fell to 11-16 overall with the loss.
The Eagles have a quick turnaround to drop off their trophy before departing for conference play. Riding high, they'll head to Chapel Hill for a huge series against the North Carolina Tar Heels this weekend. All three games are to be televised on ESPN3, with Friday's game starting at 6:30 PM from Boshamer Stadium.
Here's video of the final out from friend of the blog Arthur Bailin:
3. Put it in the books. BC wins the Beanpot. pic.twitter.com/k0hK0fTDUA— Arthur Bailin (@arthurbailin) April 23, 2015