Throughout their entire Sunday game against the Clemson Tigers, Boston College pitchers were virtually untouchable. Of all the pitches they threw, only two could be considered true "mistake pitches."
Unfortunately, those two left the yard.
Eli White homered off Jacob Stevens in the seventh inning - the first earned run allowed by the Eagle freshman - and Seth Beer went yard in the bottom of the tenth as Clemson walked off with a series sweep victory, 3-2, from Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was a game in which Boston College led 2-0 after runs in the first two frames. Facing starting pitcher Alex Eubanks, the Eagles put up a run in the top of the first when Donovan Casey doubled to right to score Joe Cronin, who had singled with one out in the inning. The double put runners on second and third (Michael STrem had singled after Cronin), but Eubanks recorded back-to-back K's to end the inning.
In the second, Anthony Maselli led off the inning with a double to right center, and after Eubanks struck out two to put BC on the ropes of a scoreless inning, Jake Palomaki drove him in to make it 2-0.
That seemingly was all the freshman Stevens needed. He was methodical through the first six innings, allowing multiple base runners only once. In the second inning, he gave up back-to-back hits to open the inning, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. But Stevens rallied back to induce a grounder, a pop up, and a fly out to end the threat unscathed.
He was barely touched until the seventh. After Robert Jolly flew out to left, Stevens left a pitch up against Eli White, who promptly crushed it to deep left field. It was the first earned run scored off Stevens this sason and just the second run in general. It ended a stretch in which he reached 29 consecutive innings to start his career with allowing a run, and it chased him from the game with a 2-1 lead as Mike Gambino emerged from the dugout to summon Justin Dunn from the bullpen.
Dunn rolled through the rest of the seventh and recorded three outs in the eighth, but facing their fuinal outs, the Tigers rallied. Dunn opened up the inning with a strikeout, but Jolly singled up the middle to put a runner on. Clemson head coach Monte Lee then went to his bench for a pinch runner, bringing in KJ Bryant.
Bryant advanced to third when White singled up the middle, setting the table for first baseman Chris Williams. Williams hit towards second, but it was just deep enough to be out of the reach of Palomaki at second. He was able to chop it down, but the runners were all safe with the game tied at 2-2.
With runners on first second, Dunn rallied to get a second out on an infield fly, but he surrendered what looked to be a potential game winning hit with two outs. Leadoff hitter Chase Pinder singled to right, and Clemson chose to send Williams from second to win the game. Right fielder Donovan Casey came up firing, and he delivered a seed right in front of the plate on the third base side, gunning down Williams to send the game to extra innings.
BC got the go-ahead run within 90 feet of home in the 10th but couldn't capitalize. After Palomaki and Cronin went down swinging to start the inning against Alex Bostic, Strem singled to third. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved up to third when Casey hit one to defensive replacement Glenn Batson. Batson misplayed the ball, allowing Strem to sneak into the bag in front of him. Casey moved up to second on a passed ball, but Nick Sciortino grounded out to short to end the threat.
With John Nicklas on the hill to start the 10th, the game looked like it was heading for 11 after he retired the first two Tigers. But Nicklas left one out over the plate, and Beer teed it high and deep to right, homering for the walkoff win, 3-2.
It was a fantastically played game, with both pitching staffs holding their own against respective opponents' lineups. Stevens finished 6.1 innings with only the one run allowed, scattering six hits. He faced 25 batters, hit one, and struck out three.
Dunn went 2.2 innings, giving up a run on five hits, but he rallied for four strikeouts against 12 batters that he faced. Nicklas took the loss, his first of the season (3-1), in 0.2 innings pitched.
As for Clemson, the pitching staff once again overpowered BC's hitters. They struck out 15 combined, led by 10 by Eubanks in 6.2 innings pitched. He allowed both runs and seven hits in a no decision. Pat Krall came in for 1.2 innings, striking out two and allowing two hits, and Bostic (3-0) picked up the win for his 1.2 innings of work with three strikeouts.
Neither pitching staff recorded a walk.
The two teams did combine for 22 hits. Five Tigers had multi-hit games as BC held half the lineup at bay. Chris Okey, Seth Beer, RobertJolly, Eli White, and Chris Williams all tallied two hits on the day.
As for BC, the power of the lineup held their own, combining for seven of BC's 10 hits. Joe Cronin went 2-5 with a run scored, while Michael Strem went 3-5. Donovan Casey went 2-5 with an RBI. Unfortunately for BC, though, seven slots in the order were held without a hit.
After opening the season 2-1 in conference play, BC is now 12-6 on the season, 2-4 in ACC play following the sweep. Clemson jumps into the driver's seat for the Atlantic Division with the win, now 5-1 in conference play while improving to 16-3 on the season.
Putting this one in their rearview, the Eagles return to Boston for a game on Tuesday, although it's not at home. They'll head across town to take on Northeastern at Parsons Field for a 3 PM first pitch.