With a reconfigured starting rotation, Friday in the ACC meant Boston College would send freshman phenom Jacob Stevens up against Virginia ace Connor Jones. While not the matchup everyone expected, the hope was that Stevens, who had allowed only two earned runs the whole season, could carry his team past an incredibly tough opponent.
When the dust settled, that's exactly what Stevens did. He allowed a double to lead off the game, then didn't surrender a hit through the rest of his six innings. When the dust settled, he had allowed only one run, but it wasn't earned. He walked five but struck out six, firing 101 pitches in what would keep the Eagles in position to win the game.
But the bats didn't help.
Connor Jones (6-1) threw a complete game shutout for the Cavaliers on 116 pitches, striking out four and walking four. Like Stevens (2-1), who wound up with the loss, he allowed one one hit as the Eagle bats went stone cold in a 3-0 defeat on Friday afternoon at Shea Field.
BC has now not scored a run since the eighth inning of the UMass game, a span of 19 innings.
The Eagles' lone hit came in the second, when Donovan Casey singled on an 0-2 pitch back up the middle. They did not place a runner in scoring position until Jake Palomaki reached second - with two outs in the ninth.
Virginia scored the winning run in the third when they took a 1-0 lead. After getting Justin Novak to lead off with a fly out, Stevens walked Adam Haseley but induced a ground ball to Ernie Clement that nearly ended the inning. Jake Palomaki attempted to turn two, but the threw the ball away, putting runners on first and second with one out. A fielding error by Stevens allowed Matt Thaiss to reach base, loading things up. After Pavin Smith hit into an infield fly, Daniel Pinero walked, bringing the go-ahead run across the plate.
It was all the Cavaliers would get until the ninth, mirroring the pitching performance by BC against Florida State a week ago. But in the top of the inning, UVA scored twice, giving them insurance from any potential Eagle comeback.
Facing Bobby Skogsbergh in his third inning of work, Novak was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Haseley then bunted to advance the runner, but Gabriel Hernandez overthrew the bag at first. Novak, who was on his way to second, kept running, and he scored from first to make it 2-0. Haseley kept going, and a three-base error put him at third with nobody out. Clement singled him home to make it 3-0.
BC got out of the inning without further damage behind relievers Kevin Connor and John Nicklas, but they failed to score in the ninth after a walk, a fielder's choice, and another walk put Jake Palomaki at second and Michael Strem at first. Donovan Casey struck out to end the game.
Virginia didn't electrify at the dish, mustering only four hits - one each from Haseley, Clement, Novak, and Ryan Karstetter. But they didn't have to be great thanks to three Eagle miscues in the field and the lack of power at the dish. Jones faced the minimum in every inning from the fourth through the eighth.
Bobby Skogsbergh pitched two innings in relief for BC, allowing two runs, none of which were earned, on three hits, with two strikeouts and a walk. Kevin Connor recorded two outs in the ninth before John Nicklas was the pitcher of record for the last out when Nick Sciortino gunned a runner down (his seventh of the year) at third.
Virginia (20-12, 7-6 ACC) won their 20th game of the season, while BC fell to 14-11 on the year. They are now 3-8 in ACC play.
The two teams are back in action at BC on Saturday when they play a 1:30 first pitch.