Starting pitching: At this stage of the season, all of the pitching needs to be hitting its stride, and we can objectively state that Boston College's weekend starters aren't any of the team's issues. Mike King, John Gorman, and Jesse Adams all went six innings or longer and departed games with their team in position to do something well. Yes, King and Gorman allowed four runs apiece and absorbed losses, but it's still hard to fathom BC being in those games without the benefit of their performance.
I find it incredible that King is only 1-4 on the season. He developed into a front of the rotation starter from out of nowhere, and it's hard to imagine him not dominating each time he's on the hill.
Guess Who's Back: Chris Shaw returned to the BC lineup on Friday as a pinch hitter. Used on both Friday and Saturday against the Hokies, he's clearly not up to 100%, but the threat of having his bat is something that needs utilization. At this stage of the game, BC needed a Hail Mary attempt to get their offense jump started, and at some point, you have to roll the dice with him.
That said, Shaw clearly isn't the hitter he was at the beginning of the season. He came back as fast as he could, and BC actually didn't fall off the cliff hitting until more recently without him. He's not the missing link to this season, and I'm not here to say he was rushed back. If he's medically cleared to play and can go, then he's going to go. Bringing that bat back to the lineup in any capacity is an added bonus.
Stephen Sauter: A little known fact is that Sauter played through injuries last year and battled back this year to be a pretty decent force in the lineup. He's been very underrated throughout the course of the year, and he worked himself into being one of the five best hitters on the team. Sauter had five hits over the weekend in the lower middle of the order, exactly what was asked of him, to up his batting average to .282. In 85 at bats, he has a .361 on base percentage. He's also the only BC regular defensive player with a perfect fielding percentage. He DH'd this weekend, but I'd be remiss if I didn't applaud his efforts at least once this season.
Walk-off City: I've always held one constant throughout my years as a baseball guy - I would rather get destroyed in a game and have it over in the fifth inning than battle and suffer through a stinging defeat. Losing the third game in any respect all but sealed the fate of the Eagles (more on that later), but to lose on a walk off hurt that much more. Justin Dunn had been so great all year, but he walked Alex Perez and grooved a pitch in a bad spot two pitches later to Brendon Hayden. That's not the guy to do that to.
A win on Saturday would've salvaged the weekend and kept BC at least sniffing around the playoff race. The loss on Sunday, marked in that fashion, really made it harder and is going to let the air out of the balloon for what could be until next February.
Men left on base: BC left 12 men on base in a 6-3 loss on Saturday. They left 11 on Friday in a 5-3 loss. That kind of speaks for itself. I hate signaling out individuals, but Nick Sciortino left a small village on the bases in both games. He went a combined 1-for-10 with 10 men left on.
You never want to single someone out and say, "That's the reason they lost," and I'm not going to. He's not the only reason the team failed. Any coach will tell you that you have to execute in all phases, and there's certainly other areas where the team could have been better. That said, it's due diligence to point out that there was an area of struggle.
It's most likely over: Prior to this weekend, I summarized what BC needed after getting swept by North Carolina by saying, quite simply, they had to win. They had to win this weekend because they needed at least one head-to-head win over someone. In getting swept, they fell substantially behind Wake Forest for the final playoff spot, and while they're ahead of Pitt and Duke, they will need to hurdle Virginia to even get a shot at the Deacs.
All of this will need to happen while the team is idle this weekend in conference play due to finals. That means they can be mathematically eliminated without ever losing a game this weekend.
Being swept by Virginia Tech doesn't mathematically eliminate the Eagles from the playoffs, but it makes it substantially harder for them to get in. I haven't mined the data appropriately, but I can tell you that they need to sweep Notre Dame at home in two weeks. Even then, it might be over before we get to that point.
Getting swept was the absolute nuclear nightmare, but in the end, that's the hand dealt. It's a tough break for a team that's been battling hard all year and maybe, just maybe, is falling a couple of weeks short on magic. We'll find out more this weekend when NC State plays Wake and Virginia hosts Duke.