The NCAA Tournament is the showcase of the immortals for college sports' best. It's where top programs go to show why they're the best of the best, and the bragging rights that come from winning last for eternity.
Every NCAA Tournament usually features one or two teams who fit the bill of that year's "Cinderella team." They're the team that's not supposed to be there, the team with no history of performance or reason to ever show that this could be possible. They're the team that, despite all warning signs, are continually bet against. They're the team nobody wants to face, but nobody can possibly admit that since there's no plausible reason to be worried.
In the world of baseball, Boston College's clock is nowhere near striking 12.
The Eagles unloaded for three runs in the top of the second inning, grabbing a lead they never relinquished as they dominated the Tulane Green Wave, 6-3, in the Oxford Regional Final on Sunday evening. The win clinched Boston College's first regionals victory since 1967, and it qualified BC for a trip to the Super Regionals for the first time since the format was introduced in 1999.
BC wasted no time in taking that lead in the second. Donovan Casey grounded to short to lead off, but Stephen Alemais threw the ball away to put a runner at first. On the very next pitch, Joe Cronin doubled down the left field line, and both runners scored two batters later when Johnny Adams collected the first of his four hits on the afternoon. Adams himself came home two batters later when Mitch Bigras singled through the hole into right, giving BC an early 3-0 lead.
Tulane got one back in the bottom of the second on a Richard Carthon sacrifice fly, but the Eagles scored in the top of the third to get it right back. In that inning, Nick Sciortino, the #3 hitter and catcher in the BC lineup, bunted down the third base line with the defense playing back. Hunter Hope made the play, but he threw the ball away, advancing Sciortino to second. After advancing to third on a sacrifice fly by Casey, Cronin plated Birdball's fourth run with a single to right center.
BC made it 5-1 in the fourth. Starter JP France surrendered another double to Johnny Adams, and after Eric Steel was summoned from the bullpen, a Logan Hoggarth groundout moved the runner up to third. He scored when he ran on contact from Jake Palomaki. The throw was behind Adams home, giving the Eagles their fifth run of the game.
Tulane once again responded in the fourth, this time with the long ball. Hunter Williams, who blasted a triple against the Eagles during the first round game, smashed a shot to left off Jacob Stevens to cut the lead to 5-2. But once again BC responded, with Adams singling home Donovan Casey, who had walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
The Green Wave made an attempt at a run in the eighth by scoring one off reliever John Witkowski. Grant Witherspoon doubled and scored when Jeremy Montalbano singled him home. Witkowski, who had thrown a long day in relief to that point, was swapped out for Bobby Skogsbergh, who loaded the bases. But a double play with one out ended the inning.
In the ninth, Skogsbergh struck out the first batter, Hunter Hope, then watched as Jesse Adams locked down another final by striking out pinch hitter Matt Rowland and Alemais.
The Eagles were paved by a monster day from Johnny Adams. Adams went 4-for-4 with three RBI, including three doubles. He scored two runs on his own in a day that will go down in the annals among the truly great performances in program history.
Joe Cronin joined in the hit parade with a two-hit performance, and Donovan Casey scored two runs.
On the Tulane side, only Hunter Williams had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
On the mound, Tulane plowed through their bullpen. Starter JP France (6-4) lasted only three innings, giving up five runs on six hits, though only two were earned. He didn't walk anyone but struck out three. He gave way to Eric Simms, who lasted two outs in the fourth before handing the ball to Jeremy Simms. Simms went the next 1.1. Four pitchers combined for the next 3.2 innings, allowing only one hit.
Meanwhile on the BC side, Jacob Stevens was cagey in getting the job done. The freshman (4-3) went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits with two walks and one strikeout. He hit three batters, forcing him to dance out of traffic along the way. In the end, though, he was good enough to win with a quality start, which is exactly what the Eagles needed.
John Witkowski showed veteran pinache out of the bullpen in going 2.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits before handing the ball to Skogsbergh and Adams.
With the win, the Eagles advance to the best-of-three Super Regionals to be played next weekend at campus sites. They will face either ACC regular season champion Miami or Long Beach State. The Dirtbags needed to win on Sunday in order to force a winner-take-all game on Monday. As the nationally seeded team, Miami is guaranteed to host the Super Regional should they advance. A Long Beach State victory would push the Super Regionals to a bidding process.
As of press time, Miami and Long Beach State were tied in the ninth inning.
UPDATE: MIAMI WINS! THE EAGLES ARE HEADED TO CORAL GABLES NEXT WEEK.