It wasn't Jacob Stevens' best outing, but after 22.2 career innings, opponents have yet to crack the code.
In throwing 4.2 innings on Sunday, the freshman right-hander continued a string of scoreless frames to start his collegiate career. He didn't allow a single run on two hits, striking out five despite walking five before handing the ball over to junior Justin Dunn. And in doing so, he did exactly what he needed to do.
In a game where hitters failed to electrify, it was the pitching that blinked. The Eagles shut out NC State's hitters, and NC State walked four in the top of the sixth for the game's only run as BC picked up a 1-0 victory. The win clinched a series victory for the Eagles, who won the opening games in conference for the first time since 2009 - when they went to the ACC Tournament. The win also comes over a national powerhouse program and sets up the Eagles for national respect when polls are released later today.
In relief of Stevens, Justin Dunn threw 3.1 innings, also shutting out the Wolfpack, while striking out two versus three walks. He only allowed one hit.
With a one run lead and Dunn tiring, Mike Gambino went to his bullpen for the ninth and brought in Donovan Casey,k who at that point had been playing rightfield. But he struggled to get an out, surrendering two walks and a base hit to load the bases with nobody out and a one-run lead. The patience at the dish by NC State gave them the heart of the order coming up.
Gambino went to his bullpen again and brought in John Nicklas, who indicued a fly ball to Andrew Knizner for the first out. That brought Gambino back out of his dugout for Dan Metzdorf, again playing percentages by putting in a lefty against left-handed hitting Preston Palmeiro. Metzdorf induced a pop up to second for the second out.
In a Joe Maddon-esque move, Gambino went out to the mound again, this time bringing in Bobby Skogsbergh from the bullpen. Skogsbergh faced down Chance Shepard and induced a chopper to the left side. Gabe Hernandez, brought in from left-field to play the base with the switches brought about by Casey going to and from the mound, grabbed it in stride and threw to second for the force, giving the Eagles the out they needed to get out of the jam and win the game.
After a scoreless five innings, BC worked the NC State pitching for four walks in the sixth. Starting pitcher Johnny PIedmonte walked two and reliever Kyle Smith walked an additional couple of runners, pushing the lone run by Nick Sciortino across the dish. BC would muster only three hits in the game.
Piedmonte threw 5.1 innings of work, striking out six and walking two while being charged for the run. He fell to 0-2 on the year after being hit with the loss. Smith walked two and didn't record an out, giving way to Cody Beckman for the next 1.2 innings of work. Tommy DeJuneas threw the final six outs for the Pack Nine.
The win marked a huge victory for the Eagles, who won two of three to open up their ACC season. Now 12-3 on the year, they won a season-opening series for the first time since they took two of three from Florida State to open the 2009 season. After receiving a couple of votes in the national polls throughout last week, the first polls should be showing the Eagles more respect when they drop later on Monday.
BC will enjoy an off day on Monday before finally playing their first home game of the season, when they host Holy Cross. First pitch is slated for 3 PM from Shea Field.