Perhaps the toughest part about the doubleheader's second game was that it was played.
After Boston College won the first game against Wake Forest in wild, walk off fashion, there was almost no break to settle down and steady themselves for the a second nine-inning game. After a short 30 minute break for a jersey change and food, the Eagles honored former outfielder and current director of baseball operations Pete Frates with the retirement of his #3 jersey to the right field wall at Shea Field.
It was an emotional ceremony lasting only about 10 minutes, but after both teams stood and watched the number's appearance on the wall, they then had to play a second game. Inevitably, the team most capable of relaxing fast enough into the flow of the game would be ready to go.
For the first three innings, that appeared to be Wake Forest. The Deacons opened up a 3-0 lead in the third against BC starter Mike King. But King settled into the game flow, working incredibly quickly - as is his reputation - for 7.2 innings. Once he did, Wake Forest went quiet, and Boston College woke up.
BC scored once in the fifth, then added three runs in the sixth, and Jesse Adams came out of the bullpen for the second time in the day to throw the final 1.1 innings as the Eagles won, 4-3, to clinch the doubleheader sweep and walk away a weekend winner over the Demon Deacons.
It happened before anyone settled in for the second game. Joey Rodriguez, Nate Mondou, and Stuart Fairchild all singled to open up the game to give Wake Forest a 1-0 lead before King recorded an out. In the third, after two quick outs, a walk to Fairchild combined with a Will Craig double to put runners on second and third. Fairchild scored on a wild pitch, and after Gavin Sheets singled to right, Craig scored from third to give the Deacs a very fast 3-0 lead.
King settled in after that, eventually retiring the Deacs in order in the fifth. That enabled the offense to wake up from a five inning slumber in the bottom of the frame enough to break through against starting pitcher Connor Johnstone. After Johnny Adams and Logan Hoggarth led off with singles, Mitch Bigras grounded into what should've been a 6-4-3 double play. But an error at first by Sheets allowed Adams to score from third, putting BC on the board.
In the sixth, they broke through. Palomaki doubled to right, and Strem bunted himself aboard for a single to put runners at the corners with nobody out. That's when Sciortino would have grounded into a potential double play started with Sheets at first, but he the ball away, scoring Palomaki to cut the Wake lead to 3-2. After Joe Cronin sacrifice bunted the runners into scoring position, Scott Braren tied the game with a single to right, scoring Strem with only one out.
Johnny Adams plated Sciortino for the go-ahead run with a grounder to short.
Wake Forest would manage only a couple of hits the rest of the way - a couple of two-out, harmless singles against King. In the eighth, with over 120 pitches on the workhorse righty's arm, Jesse Adams relieved him to face Ben Breazeale, and the southpaw reliever induced a grounder to first to end the eighth. Adams retired the Deacons in the ninth in order, striking out the final two batters he faced.
It was a much more nondescript game in comparison to the morning session, one that started after 4 PM but ended in less than three hours - a contrast with the first two, four-hour marathons. King (6-3) finished with 7.2 innings pitched, 121 pitches, five strikeouts, one walk, three runs, and 10 hits allowed. Adams pitched a perfect four batters for his fourth save of the year.
For Wake Forest, Johnstone (2-4) took the loss despite only allowing one earned run in 6.1 innings of work. BC scored four, but three Deacon errors combined with nine Eagles hits. Chris Farish pitched for a second game, working to four batters and two outs with a walk and a strikeout, and Garrett Kelly pitched a perfect eighth to round things out for the Deacons.
Wake Forest (28-19, 11-13 ACC) received multi-hit games from Joey Rodriguez, Nate Mondou, and Kevin Conway, while the Eagles received two-hit games from Michael Strem, Johnny Adams, and Mitch Bigras. Adams also had six assists in the field, a testament to playing behind the sinker ball of King.
With the win, the Eagles tied their victory total from a year ago (27), matching the most wins by a Mike Gambino team. They also set a new record for series victories in the ACC era with five, and they improved to 11-14 in league play with the victory. The win moved BC inside of the ACC Championship bubble race with games on Sunday still to play around the league.
BC will be off this week for their exam break before playing a two-game series against Niagara next weekend. Games will be on Saturday and Sunday at 4 PM and 12 PM, respectively.