In a doubleheader on Saturday to kick off their second trip to the Snowbird Classic in Florida this season, Boston College opened up with a morning session game against the Big Ten's Northwestern Wildcats. At 7-0, the Eagles were putting their best start since at least the 1970s on the line, and they were doing it against their first traditional power conference opponent.
After watching the Wildcats take a 1-0 lead in the first inning, BC trailed 2-0 in the sixth. But two runs in the bottom frame and four in the eighth helped turn a pitcher's duel into a wild ending in a 6-3 victory for Birdball yesterday. The win improved the team and extended them to their first eight game winning streak in 11 years. And although the winning streak would be snapped in the afternoon session, it helped prove BC could win when they absolutely needed to get runs on the board.
Facing Eagles ace Mike King, Northwestern struck first before the game ever really got started. Jack Dunn hit King's first pitch for a double to left, and he scored two batters later when Jack Hosheit doubled him home, staking the Wildcats to a one-run lead.
It would remain that way until the sixth, Connor Lind singled to lead off the inning. He advanced to second with one out but was nearly stranded there when King picked up a strikeout for the second out. But Ben Dickey singled up the middle, giving Northwestern a 2-0 lead over the BC ace on the hill.
Shut down through the first five innings, BC finally broke through against starting pitcher Reed Mason in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Strem stroked a double to center and scored on a Donovan Casey single. Casey himself wound up on third after Mason ran into some pitching problems, throwing a wild pitch and receiving a passed ball, closing out his day.
Tommy Bordingnon came on, and Gian Martellini delivered, grounded to third. Lind defensively made the play, but Casey scored on the throw to first, tying the game at 2-2.
BC scored four in the eighth to break the tie, taking a commanding 6-2 lead. With the bases loaded, Bourdignon walked Johnny Adams to lead off the inning, and he moved up to second when Strem bunted him over. With one out and facing Casey, a wild pitch moved Adams to third, leading Northwestern to intentionally walk the batter. But Joe Cronin singled with runners at the corners, plating Adams and delivering a 3-2 lead.
Casey moved up to third on the hit, and Adams, after stealing second, gave BC two runners in scoring position for Martellini, who crushed a double to left to extend the lead to 5-2. With Domenic Hardaway pinch running, BC gained another run when he advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error on the same play by catcher Jack Claeys.
Justin Dunn came in for the ninth but ran into a minimal trouble situation against the Wildcats. Grant Peikert singled to lead off the inning, and he wound up on third thanks to consecutive balks by Dunn. With a man on third, he surrendered a single to Dunn to score the runner. Dunn induced a ground ball double play into "Baseball's Sad Lexicon," going 6-4-3 to end the threat and the game.
For the Eagles, John Nicklas (2-0) wound up with the victory after pitching a perfect eighth. In going three-up, three-down, he struck out two and induced a fly-out to shut down the Wildcats. King finished seven innings, scattering two runs on eight hits allowed, striking out seven and walked just two. After settling in, he was immaculate throughout the game, inducing nine groundouts. Dunn faced four batters and allowed the run, but recorded a strikeout and the double play. BC pitching combined for 10 K's throughout the morning.
Northwestern received five innings out of Reed Mason, who was charged with two runs, one of which was unearned, in five innings of work. He gave up five hits, striking out two and walking two. Tommy Bordignon (0-2) earned the loss, throwing the final three innings of work, giving up four, one unearned, on two hits. He struck out two and walked two but threw three wild pitches.
At the dish, it was all about timely hitting for BC. Michael Stream was 2-for-3, and Joe Cronin was 2-for-4, accounting for over half of the seven BC hits. Casey, Martellini, and Logan Hoggarth rounded out the hits for the Eagles, who more than ever this season had to account for manufacturing runs. Johnny Adams drew two walks and scored a run, while Martellini had three RBI to make the most of his opportunities.
Jack Dunn, Zach Jones, and Grant Peikert all had multi-hit games for Northwestern.
The win improved BC to a 8-0 on the season, their longest winning streak since 2005.