Heading into this weekend, the question for the Boston College Eagles would be how they could win at least one game against the fabled power lineup of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The thought was that it would take a slugfest game, one where BC outhit the host team, in order to pick up victory.
Or it would just take Chris Shaw.
After watching Will Craig and Nate Mondou pick up big hit after big hit, the junior outfielder from Lexington, Mass. took center stage on Sunday, launching three homers, including a grand slam, en route to seven RBI in a 10-7 Eagles victory in Winston-Salem.
Sunday marked the third time this year Shaw went yard more than once in a game, knocking two homers against both Northeastern and Connecticut earlier in the season. He became one of just six players in the NCAA to hit three homers in a single game, and he is the only ACC player to do so in 2015. His seven RBI was the first time a Boston College hitter recorded six or more since John Spatola scored seven RBI against Missouri at the beginning of the 2010 season.
Facing a 6-1 deficit in the fifth inning, BC rallied to tie the game, headlined by Shaw's salami. Jake Palomaki and Michael Strem both walked, and Blake Butera recorded a single to load up the bases against Wake's starting pitcher—their leading slugger, Will Craig. In a twist of the story, Shaw crushed the first pitch he saw to left, clearing the fence and pulling BC within one with one swing of the bat. That sent Craig to the dugout from the mound (he remained in the game as DH), and it brought Paul Kirkpatrick in from the bullpen.
Kirkpatrick was met by singled from Donovan Casey and Logan Hoggarth; Casey scored when Nick Sciortino singled him home, marking a five-run inning to tie the game at 6-6.
The score remained that way into the sixth, when Shaw again dropped a yard bomb. With two outs, he again swung at the first pitch, this time from Kirkpatrick, and went over the fence in center, giving the Eagles a 7-6 lead.
BC would add a run in the seventh to go up 8-6 when Blake Butera hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to score Joe Cronin. In the eighth, that lead increased to three, again by Shaw, who finished out his cycle of homers with one to the power alley in right center.
Up 9-6, the Eagles hit double digits when Butera hit another sacrifice fly, this time to score Sciortino, in the top of the ninth. Wake would score a run off John Nicklas in the bottom of the ninth off the bat of Stuart Fairchild, but the closer ended the game with a 4-6-3 double play ball.
Wake built a large lead thanks in part to a couple of big hits. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Nate Mondou homered off starting pitcher John Gorman with a man down to give the Deacs a 2-1 lead. Wake Forest added four runs in the second, including three off the bat from Joey Rodriguez, to build their large lead that the Eagles eventually overcame.
All in all, BC tallied 10 runs on 11 hits. In addition to Shaw's monster output, Blake Butera had two RBI, and Donovan Casey tallied another two-hit game. Jake Palomaki scored two runs, and nearly all BC starters registered at least one hit.
For the Deacs, Will Craig went 3-for-5 at the dish, as did Mondou, who finished with two RBI. Rodriguez finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, and Stuart Fairchild added a couple of hits and an RBI on his own.
On the mound, John Gorman went 3.2 innings in the start, giving up six runs on seven hits. Only two of the runs were earned because of an error committed during the big second Wake inning, and he struck out three while not walking anyone. Justin Dunn came on in relief and went 4.1 innings, picking up the win by scattering five hits and not allowing a single run. He struck out five and walked three. Nicklas pitched the ninth for the save.
Will Craig, a noted power hitter, finished with four innings thrown, giving up five runs on five hits with five strikeouts and five walks. Kirkpatrick went 2.1 innings in relief, giving up three runs, one of which was unearned, striking out four and walking one. Two other relievers went the final 2.2 innings for the Deacons.
BC now returns home with one win on the weekend, but it's a short layover before they head up to Hanover, New Hampshire for a game with the Dartmouth Big Green on Tuesday. On Wednesday, BC plays their first Beanpot game of the year, taking on Northeastern. They host Clemson at the end of the week; Saturday's game is the Wounded Warrior Project Game to benefit our nation's veterans.