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First Pitch: Eagles Look To Turn Snowbird Classic Into Snowbirdball Heaven

BC to play three games in two days against three different opponents in the land of sunshine and palm trees.

BC Athletics

Boston College at the Snowbird Classic
Saturday: vs. Chicago State, 10:30 AM
Saturday: vs. Indiana State, 2 PM
Sunday: vs. Villanova, 2 PM

The Snowbird Classic is an annual gathering of northern baseball teams at multiple baseball stadiums across Port Charlotte, Florida. For the third year in a row, the Eagles head to the competition. They'll play three games this weekend before heading across the state to Fort Myers for the annual exhibition with the Red Sox. Then they'll head back to Port Charlotte next week for more Snowbird games.

On Paper

Chicago State: 1-2
Indiana State: 3-1
Villanova: 0-3

Around The Horn

It's really hard to pinpoint games against three teams in three days, so it's impossible to look at how the teams perform individually. Trends and stats usually don't mean a whole lot simply because if a guy has a good day or a bad day, it's the only time BC will play them.

It looks like Gian Martellini's earned part of a starting role for BC, filling in the designated hitter role. Despite only going 1-for-11 last weekend, he blasted a three-run homer. If he falters, we're expecting Stephen Sauter to step back into the role. Sauter, despite having a three-game hitting streak and a 2-for-5 weekend last week against NIU, is the odd-man out with the emergence of the freshman. Nick Sciortino, who had himself an electric summer down on Cape Cod, is entrenched as the everyday starting catcher.

There's a couple of other things to look at this weekend. Logan Hoggarth has an 11 game hitting streak, while Donovan Casey is up to 10 straight games. Both hit .500 or better last weekend, with Casey ripping seven hits in 11 at-bats for a .636 average. He also leads the team in runs scored with six.

Although Joe Cronin is slotted at first, it'll be interesting to see what happens with Chris Balogh and Mitch Bigras. Both had hits last weekend and Bigras, a sophomore, scored four runs for the Birdballers.

On The Bump

In order to maximize matchups, BC will shift around its rotation to start the weekend. Chicago State will draw Jacob Stevens, with ace Mike King throwing against Indiana State. Jesse Adams will pitch against Villanova.

It's a heady move by Mike Gambino. Chicago State plays in the WAC, which is still a league despite it no longer sponsoring football. But they're 1-2, and the WAC isn't the same as it was in the past. The Sycamores, however, play in the Missouri Valley Conference, a league that sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament last year. The American heartland is a great place for college baseball, with teams like Creighton, Evansville, and Wichita State, so it makes sense to switch around the pitching staffs.

Villanova is a Big East team, which is where Adams, the #2 pitcher on the staff, comes into play.

Scoreboard Watching

Yeah I got nothing here. It's worth just keeping an eye on some teams.

By the way, how about Maine? The Black Bears beat Clemson last week.

Meteorology 101

Playing a morning game is always interesting because it requires batting practice with a coffee. It also means that temperatures aren't that hot, especially in Florida. BC will play the first game under 60 degrees, but daytime temperatures in Port Charlotte should reach towards 70 during the Indiana State game.

As for Sunday, BC's looking at playing a game in 75 degree sunshine.

Think about that when you're freezing in sub-30 temps in Boston.

Where In The World Is Boston College Baseball?

BC is playing in Port Charlotte, Florida this weekend. Situated on Florida's west coast, it's the home of the Class High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs, an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays head south to Port Charlotte every year for their spring training.

The Snowbird Classic is played throughout Port Charlotte at the North Charlotte and South Charlotte park complexes.

Music To Listen To As You're Basking In The Boston Sunshine In 30 Degree Temperatures

Florida Georgia Line - Cruise. The perfect song to have an ice cold beverage while you're sitting in that Florida sunshine, even though Port Charlotte isn't anywhere near the Florida-Georgia line.

Random Fact(s) of the Week

BC and Villanova were once rivals in the Big East. They've played twice prior in the Snowbird Classic, with the Eagles winning both. BC is on a nine game winning streak against the Wildcats, and they're 6-5 against Villanova on neutral ground. That said, Villanova won the only meeting between the two teams in the Big East Tournament.

Indiana State's team name, the Sycamores, is not their original team name. Indiana State used to be known as the Indiana State Teachers College, and their team name used to be the "Fightin' Teachers." Then the student body voted to change it to Sycamores due to the amount of sycamore trees in Indiana. Nobody actually thought Sycamores would win that vote, by the way. But because the Sycamore is virtually impossible to have as a mascot because it's a tree (Sorry, Stanford), they created Chief Quabachi and his "Princess." Yeah...that didn't last through the 1980s.

Larry Bird went to Indiana State. That can be left as is.

Chicago State joined the WAC in 2013 after reclassifying out of the NAIA. They weren't even NCAA for a while, but they're one of the most stories NAIA basketball programs of all time.

Last year, BC actually played at Chicago State when Notre Dame hosted the Eagles at Cougar Stadium.

Prediction Time

I'm really looking forward to what happens with BC weekend. Mark it down for three more wins as the Eagles look to build upon their best start since 2009.