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Back on Track – The BC sweeps the Georgia Tech

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After starting 2-7 in the ACC and being swept last weekend by #13 Virginia Tech, the Eagles had a tough series ahead of them. Georgia Tech has struggled recently but showed they could beat good teams by sweeping #22 NC State earlier this year. The Eagles needed a series win here since they will face multiple ranked opponents in April. Luckily, the Eagles came to play and dominated all weekend. 

Starting pitching was the biggest key for the Eagles this weekend. John West and A.J. Colarusso went at least 7 innings, putting the Eagles in excellent situations to win games. West had 8 IP, 2 ER, and 5 K to win the second game in an extra-inning thriller. Colarusso had 7 IP, 3 ER, and 6 K, which helped the Eagles blow out the Yellow Jackets to complete the sweep. I am genuinely amazed by Colarusso’s progress; he has come a long way since the beginning of the year. If BC can continue to get around 14 innings out of their starters, it will be a massive help since they usually rely on bullpen games for the 3rd game of the series. 

BC had a theme of starting hot in each game. On Thursday, The Eagles scored 2 runs in the first inning off a Patrick Roche lead-off home run and a Vince Cimini RBI single. The Eagles extended their lead in the second to 4-0 with a Roche RBI single and Sam McNulty sacrifice bunt. Kyle Wolff blasted a 2-run homer to score 6-0 in the fourth inning. In the fifth, McNulty and Roche added to the Eagles’ lead, each scoring another RBI, making it 8-0 Eagles. The Eagles extended their lead to 10-2 in the top of the ninth.

Meanwhile, Michael Farinelli was dominant on the mound, only allowing 2 hits, 1 walk, and 4 Ks through 4 innings. Evan Moore came in for Farinelli and had some issues. Although he let up 2 runs, he maintained his composure and provided 2 solid innings in relief. Aidan Crowley and Eric Schroeder finished the final three innings, combining for only 1 run. Crowley pitched 1 2/3 innings and got 4 of his 5 outs via the strikeout. Eric Schroeder finished the game, allowing 1 run and sealing the 10-3 win. 

Saturday’s game was the most impressive win out of the three. All year, I have had doubts that the Eagles have not won close games against good opponents. They lost 1 run game to NC State and Virginia Tech, so I worried they could not succeed when their bats were not at their best. They proved me wrong on Saturday, winning an extra innings game 5-3 when they trailed late. The Eagles railed late in the seventh and tied the game when Cam Caraher stole third and scored on a throwing error. The Eagles scored 3 runs in the tenth to propel them to the win. Parker Landwehr came through with a bases-loaded single, scoring 2 runs. The 3rd run came off of a bunt single from Cam Caraher. 

The Eagles ran into adversity into the bottom of the tenth after Jordan Fisse got into a jam. Kyle Kipp came into the game with bases loaded and no outs. Kipp got a ground ball to get the first out of the inning while Georgia Tech added a run. Finally, Kipp threw another ground ball that McNulty and Cimini spun into a beautiful double play to end the game. The pitching saved the Eagles after their offense was nonexistent. John West went for 8 innings, 5 Ks, and only allowed 2 runs. West single-handedly kept the Eagles in the game and allowed them to win a crucial ACC. 

On Sunday, the Eagles start hot with two homers in the first inning from Roche and a three-run homer from Adam Magpoc. BC led 5-0 after the first inning and never looked back. Through 4 innings, the Eagles had grown their lead to 11-2, getting significant contributions up and down the lineup. Both offenses slowed down for the next few innings, and the score was 11-3 going into the eighth. The Eagles exploded for an additional 5 runs, and Georgia Tech responded at the bottom of the inning with 4 runs. 

A.J. Colarusso had one of his best starts of the year, going 7 innings and only allowing 3 runs with 6 strikeouts. Aidan Crowley, Stephen McLendon, and Gavin Hasche pitched the final two innings, allowing 4 runs combined, but the Eagles’ offense was too much, and they cruised to a 16-7 win to complete the sweep. 

My MVP’s for this weekend was the starting rotation. Farinelli, West, and Colarusso looked dominant and controlled the game for each of their starts. If I were on the coaching staff, I would prefer Farinelli to start our Sunday bullpen games because I think he pitches better when he starts games. Patrick Roche is my offensive MVP for the weekend. He went 9/14 with a 2B, 3 HR, and 8 RBI. It was a monstrous weekend for the veteran. Saturday’s win was the best win of the year, in my opinion, and they are trending up at the right time. 

Looking ahead, the Eagles will play Harvard and Rhode Island during the week. Next weekend, they will host #17 Florida State (5-4 ACC).

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Boston College Takes the Series Opener, but #14 Virginia Wins a Pair

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Photo Courtesy of @Bcbirdball/X

Boston College came into this series looking for a bounce-back weekend after being swept by Notre Dame. After last weekend, the Eagles held a two-game lead for the final spot in the ACC tournament, so they needed to continue to add ACC wins. #14 Virginia is also looking to bounce back after dropping a series last weekend to Georgia Tech. 

On Thursday, Boston College played its annual ALS Awareness Game at Fenway Park in honor of BC legend Pete Frates. AJ Colarusso, the Massachusetts native, was given the start on three days rest and dominated. Over four innings, Colarusso allowed one hit and struck out five. The BC offense built off of his shutdown performance by producing runs early. In the bottom of the third, Parker Landwehr smoked a solo shot into the bullpen to give the Eagles the early lead. In the next inning, Vince Cimini added to the lead with a two-run homer, extending the lead to 3-0 BC. 

After Colarusso was pulled, Michael Farinelli came into the game. Although he had four walks through only an inning and a third, he did great at escaping jams. In the fifth, UVA was threatening with the bases loaded and one out. Farinelli forced a pop-up and got a strikeout, which helped to maintain the lead. In the sixth, Travis Lane inherited two runners on base. Lane got a strikeout, but both runners advanced with two outs. Lane extinguished the threat after getting a pop-up to end the inning. 

In the bottom of the seventh, Cam Caraher started the inning with a bunt single and advanced to third off a single from Landwehr. Sam McNulty attempted a bunt to score Caraher, but he was thrown out at home. Adam Magpoc walked to load the bases, and Cam Leary hit into a fielder’s choice, which scored Landwehr. UVA got a run back in the eighth off a triple and a sack fly. BC blew the game open when they scored four in the bottom of the inning. Nick Wang started the inning by reaching on a throwing error, which was followed by a Cimini single. Barry Walsh bunted successfully and got on to load the bases. Caraher walked, which scored a run. Landwehr ripped a single through the right side to score two runs. McNulty laid down a successful bunt to advance both runners, and Magpoc walked to load the bases again. Kyle Wolff was drilled by a pitch, which scored another run, making it 8-1 BC. Landwehr was 4-4 on the night, with three RBIs. 

After relieving Lane in the seventh, Eric Schroeder finished the game and helped seal the win. He gave up two runs over the final three innings while striking out five batters, which helped the Eagles win 8-2. The Eagles have now won back-to-back ALS Awareness Games after winning last year against Notre Dame.

Friday’s game was a battle that came down to the ninth inning. The Eagles got their offense going early, seizing a 2-0 lead. Walsh, Leary, and Wolff started the game by reaching base, which set up Wang’s double down the line. Magpoc walked to keep the pressure on UVA. Once again, the Eagles failed to capitalize on timely scoring opportunities, and UVA was able to limit the damage. UVA came right back in the top of the inning to tie the game on a triple that scored two runners, knotting the game at 2-2. Cimini broke the tie by singling to score Wang, making it 3-2 BC after three innings. In the sixth, UVA once again tied the game. After a double and a fielder’s choice, UVA singled home a run to equalize the score. 

John West put together another great outing on Friday. West allowed three runs and struck out six batters over seven innings. Once again, Lane came into the game and pitched another scoreless inning. Lane has been one of the unsung heroes of the BC bullpen after Tyler Mudd’s injury. After battling with injuries over the past few years, Lane has gone into games with higher and higher leverage. Earlier in the season, his role was limited to mop-up duty. On Saturday, he had his most important outing of the year, pitching in the eighth inning of a tie game in ACC play. Over his last nine appearances, he has not given up a run. Lane did it again and gave the Eagles a shot to win going into the bottom of the eighth. 

The Eagles loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth but could not convert again after Aiden Teel, brother of Red Sox prospect Kyle Teel, made an outstanding diving catch in left field that saved the game for UVA. In the ninth, Aiden Crowley entered the game for Lane but was immediately pulled after walking the first batter he faced. Bobby Chicoine entered the game for the Eagles. Virginia got another runner aboard after a throwing error from Chicoine on a bunt. UVA laid down another successful bunt to advance runners to second and third. UVA lined a ball to second, and Cimini’s throw was off-target, which allowed one run to score. Landwehr retrieved the ball to throw out the trailing runner to limit damage to a single run. BC would be retired in order, and Virginia won 4-3 to even the series. 

On Saturday, the Eagles could not get anything going on offense despite having many scoring chances. The Eagles’ bullpen game gave them an excellent opportunity to win, only allowing two earned runs (four total). UVA added two runs in both the third and the fifth. The game showcased five Eagles pitchers, who only gave up five hits to an elite UVA offense, who came into the weekend hitting .341 (3rd in NCAA). Virginia won the game 4-0 and also clinched the series. 

The Eagles’ pitching staff has made massive improvements since the start of the year. They held one of the best offenses in the country to only ten runs over three games, which gave them great opportunities to win all weekend. Holding any team to ten runs over a series should lead to a series win. Even with a series loss this weekend, I was amazed by the dominance of the entire pitching staff. I hate to be a broken record, but leaving runners on base continued to kill the Eagles. Over three games, the Eagles stranded 27 runners on base, which is unacceptable. In Friday’s one-run game, BC left the bases loaded twice. On Saturday, both teams had five hits, but UVA was able to capitalize on their scoring chances. The Eagles need to be better if they want to win ranked series. Next week, Boston College will face UMass Lowell on Tuesday and start a must-win series against Louisville on Thursday.

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What Went Wrong? Eagles swept by Notre Dame

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Photo Courtesy of Ethan Roy

Boston College came into the weekend looking to keep their postseason hopes alive. According to two different publications, the Eagles were firmly on the bubble and were considered either the last four in or the first four out. Notre Dame came into this series with nothing to lose since they were 2-16 in the ACC. With BC right above them in the standings, this weekend could be huge in catching the Eagles and making the ACC tournament. 

The Eagles never showed up from start to finish. Credit to Notre Dame, they outscored the Eagles 36-7 and won twice by run rule. The key to Notre Dame’s success was early run production. They scored 21 runs in the first three innings of the games this weekend, including 13 in the first. The Irish made it so that the Eagles played catch-up from the beginning every day. 

In Friday’s game, Michael Farinelli gave up 8 earned runs over one inning. The Eagles started that game in a 9-0 hole after 2 innings. The Eagles cut into the deficit at the top of the third, but it was not nearly enough to stop the red-hot Irish bats. Notre Dame kept piling on runs often to make the final score 14-3 Notre Dame in 7 innings. The Eagles collected 6 hits over 7 innings but failed to assemble large rallies to cut into the massive Irish lead. 

On Saturday, John West had one of his worst starts of the season. He only went 4 innings and allowed 6 runs. Evan Moore relieved West and also struggled. Moore allowed 3 runs in 1 inning and was pulled. The score was 9-3 Notre Dame after 5 innings—the rest of the bullpen that game for the Eagles shinned. Travis Lane, Aidan Crowley, and Brad Lombardi combined threw a perfect game over 3 innings with 5 strikeouts. This effort was not enough, as the Eagles failed to capitalize on opportunities, something I highlighted last weekend. BC left a runner on base in 8 out of 9 innings, which made the difference. Although it was a 5 run game, converting some of the baserunners left on would have allowed the Eagles a shot at winning. 

Sunday was all Notre Dame. Notre Dame threw a combined no-hitter with 4 pitchers and continued to dominate offensively. ND put up 6 runs over the first 2 innings, followed by 7 in the fourth, cementing the game and the sweep for the Irish. Coach Interdonato was also serving a game suspension on Sunday. “During yesterday’s game at Notre Dame, I inadvertently had a student-athlete in the lineup who was not eligible to play – thus violating NCAA and ACC rules.  I apologize for my mistake and accept today’s one-game suspension” (Todd Interdonato, BC Baseball/X). Notre Dame is now 2 games back of the Eagles in the ACC Atlantic standings. 

This weekend was the worst-case scenario for the Eagles. Pending an ACC tournament win, the Eagles have a slim shot at making it to the College Baseball World Series. Also, Notre Dame is pushing for the final spot in the ACC tournament after this weekend, bringing the race back to life. With a challenging remaining ACC schedule, the Eagles will have to turn it around when they face 2 top ten opponents. This week’s ACC series is against #10 Virginia, starting Thursday with the 2024 ALS Awareness Game at Fenway Park.

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The Eagles Take One out of Three Against #14 Wake Forest

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The Eagles entered the series against #14 Wake Forest after a shutout loss against Northeastern in the Beanpot final and a comfortable win against Dartmouth. After being named the preseason consensus #1 team in the country, Wake Forest struggled initially in ACC play but got back on track last weekend after sweeping #16 Virginia Tech. Wake Forest is looking to prove that they are still an Omaha-caliber team, while BC is looking to continue adding quality wins to their resume in hopes of making the College Baseball World Series. 

Friday’s game was all Wake Forest. I think the Eagles faced the best pitchers in the ACC on back-to-back Fridays, Jamie Arnold and Chase Burns. Burns, the Tennessee transfer, has an elite fastball paired with a wipeout slider. Burns went 6.1 innings, only allowing 2 hits and 1 unearned run. This weekend, Burns threw 8 strikeouts and eclipsed 100 strikeouts in the year, which puts him on track to break Paul Skenes’ record of 206 without having to make any postseason starts. His 8 punch-outs astoundingly lowered his season average. The Demon Deacon bats were on display early and often in this game as they scored in 6 out of 8 innings, compiling 13 runs on 13 hits. Nick Kurtz continues to show why he is one of the best hitters in college baseball, displaying effortless power and hitting to all parts of the field. Coming into the weekend, he was on a tear where he hit homers on 5 of his last 7 at-bats, adding 3 more this weekend. 

Boston College’s lone offense came in the fifth inning. Connor Dreyer reached on an error to start the inning and advanced off a Parker Landwehr single. Sam McNulty laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position, which is where Patrick Roche drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. Friday’s final score was 13-1 in 8 innings. 

Saturday’s game was a game-of-the-year candidate. John West started again on Saturday, providing another quality start for the Eagles. West had a rough start to the game but then settled in nicely. In the first inning, the Deacons gained 2 runs off a triple by Kurtz and a sacrifice fly by Jack Winnay. West cruised for the next few innings, and the Eagles struggled to get anything going offensively. In the fourth, Wake Forest extended their lead to 3-0 when they started the inning with a double, eventually scoring on fielder’s choices. West held Wake’s potent offense to 3 runs and 4 hits over 6 innings. Aiden Crowley relieved West in the seventh. The Deacons added to their lead with a solo shot to make it 4-0. 

The Eagles’ offense finally woke up in the bottom of the inning. Landwehr collected another single, and McNulty doubled to score Landwehr. A pitch hit Patrick Roche to get another runner on base. Cam Leary smoked a single to score McNulty, and both runners advanced a base on a wild throw. The stage was set for one of the most crucial at-bats of the game, where Nick Wang singled to right-center to score both runs, equalizing the game at 4-4. After a rough inning, Crowley was relieved by Eric Schroeder, who continued his dominant performance. Schroeder shut down the Deacon’s offense for 2 innings with 2 strikeouts and gave the Eagles a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth. The last person I would want to face in this scenario, Cam Leary, stepped up to the plate and did exactly what he did last Saturday: smashed a ball deep onto the left-field hill to give the Eagles a walk-off victory. 

Sunday was another challenging game for the Eagles. BC took an initial 1-0 lead in the first when Kyle Wolff doubled to score Leary, but it was all Wake Forest after. Over the next 4 innings, the Deacons added 6 runs to make it 6-2 after four full innings. There was no more offense for either team until the ninth inning. Wake cashed in 3 runs on a sacrifice fly and a 2 run homer by Kurtz, who continuously impacted this series. The Eagles got one back in the bottom to make the final score 9-3. 

One of my biggest takeaways from this weekend is missing scoring opportunities. The Eagles left 23 runners on base this weekend, including 9 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday. If they cashed in on Saturday, that game would not have needed to be a walk-off. It would have been a one-run game if they could have scored half of those runners on Sunday. Credit to Wake, they had three elite starters pitch this weekend who excelled at getting out of jams. If the Eagles want to start winning their ranked series, they must convert those runs. Looking ahead, Boston College will face UConn during the week and Notre Dame this weekend. Notre Dame is at the bottom of the ACC and is a must-win series, which should be a sweep. 

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