Heading into the 2016 season, it became apparent that success for the Boston College Eagles baseball team would come in a substantially different manner than it did in 2015. As opposed to dominating at the dish, the Eagles would be a top-to-bottom tough lineup, a team built on consistency. They would buoy that with stingy, dominant pitching.
Although the season is only three games old and there's a ton of baseball left to play, the mission is off and running with success. After Mike King threw seven shutout innings in the season's opening game, Jesse Adams and Jacob Stevens combined for more of the same in Saturday's doubleheader against the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Both Adams and Stevens threw six shutout innings in a sweep of the Huskies as BC picked up two more victories with a 5-0 win in the opener and a 2-1 result in the second.
In the first game, Adams struck out five and only walked two, facing 23 batters in his six innings of work, retiring the first seven men up for NIU. Playing as the home team, he struck out in the first before setting the Huskies down in order in the second. In the third, he struck out Carl Russell before issuing a walk to Stephen Letz.
The BC offense, meanwhile, staked Adams to a 1-0 lead in the second, from which they never looked back. Donovan Casey led off the inning with a double to right, and Joe Cronin doubled to left to score him quickly to open up the frame against William Anderson.
It remained that way into the fifth. Anderson walked Gian Martellini to open up the inning, and after Mitch Bigras flew out to left, Nick Sciortino doubled him to third with a drive to right center. Both Martellini and Sciortino scored two batters later when Jake Palomaki singled up the middle, making it a 3-0 game.
BC would tack on two more in the eighth. After Michael Strem reached on a throwing error, he moved over to third on a single by Casey. With runners at the corners, Cronin grounded to short, but NIU conceded the run, making it 4-0. Bigras later doubled to center to score pinch runner Anthony Maselli, who had come in when Martellini was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, making it 5-0.
After Adams completed the sixth, he was lifted for John Witkowski, who promptly struck out the side in the seventh. John Nicklas and Justin Dunn finished out the game, with both making their first appearances. Nicklas struck out one in the eighth before Dunn struck out two while facing one over the minimum in the ninth.
With their second victory in tow, the Eagles needed only their two fourth inning runs in the second game of the doubleheader in order to pick up the sweep. In the bottom of the frame, Michael Strem led off with a single to left before Aaron Rumfeld plunked Joe Cronin. With two on and nobody out, Johnny Adams singled, scoring Strem. On the play, a throwing error moved Cronin over to third, and he scored two batters later when Stephen Sauter grounded out to second.
Stevens, making his first collegiate appearance and start in his freshman campaign, was electric, striking out eight through his six innings. He scattered three hits: a triple in the second and a single in the third and fifth, in picking up his first victory. He walked only one, coming in the first inning, in facing 21 men.
Dan Metzdorf relieved Stevens in his first career appearance, striking out the side in the seventh. Sean Hughes recorded two outs in the eighth before Donovan Casey made his first appearance on the hill for the last 1.1 innings. Casey struck out one, recording BC's first save of the season.
BC will wrap up their four-game series in the desert on Sunday at 3 PM.