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Boston College 12, California 10: Eagles hold on in a slugfest

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Highlighted by an explosive offensive performance and a couple of key defensive plays, Boston College edged California in a 12-10 slugfest at the third game of the MLB Desert Invitational, moving to 2-1 on the season.

Northwestern transfer Michael Farinelli got the start for the Birds, making his BC debut. Coming off a dreadful 2023 where he posted an ERA of nearly 10, Farinelli put together his best performance in two years, striking out seven Golden Bears over four scoreless innings. A seventh-year graduate student, it was an excellent Birdball debut for the New York native, who began his career at the DII Middlebury College.

The Eagles offense gave Farinelli all the support he needed before he even stepped on the rubber, with RBI singles from Kyle Wolff, Parker Landwehr, and Vince Cimini giving BC a three-run lead in the top of the first. Wolff tacked on two more in the second to make it 5-0, depositing a Jake Guardianic fastball 402 feet over the fence.  

Eric Schroeder replaced Farinelli in the fifth, giving up a two-run homer to Caleb Lomavita, a preseason All-Pac-12 Team member. BC promptly responded with three fifth-inning runs of their own, the third scored on a double by Wolff, who finished a triple shy of the cycle. However, things began to get tense in the sixth after manager Todd Interdonato elected to leave Schroeder in for a second inning, where he couldn’t retire any of the four batters he faced. Gavin Hasche nor Charlie Coon could get the Eagles out of the jam, and it was only after the Bears cut the lead to 8-7 that senior Aidan Crowley finally got Ryan Tayman to ground out to second, ending the inning.

The Eagles again responded to the Bears rally, with Barry Walsh pushing the lead to three on a two-run, two-out RBI single. Nick Wang then continued his white-hot start to the season, crushing a hanging breaking ball for a two-run homer, his second of the year to make it 12-7. 

Going into the bottom of the seventh, Interdonato again left his reliever in too long, as Crowley immediately loaded the bases with no outs in his second inning of work. Jordan Fisse prompted to walk in a run and let two more score via the sacrifice flies, but then settled in, shutting down the Bears in the eighth and ninth, notching his first career save. The Stevens Institute of Technology transfer was aided by a couple of sparkling defensive plays by Cimini at second base, and the Eagles left Glendale with a winning record.

BC will resume play on Friday at 5:00 p.m. EST, as they head down to the Lonestar state for a three-game set with the UT Arlington Mavericks.

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The Eagles Avoid the Sweep against #14 Florida State

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Boston College faced off against #14 Florida State this weekend in a crucial matchup for both teams. The Eagles were looking to continue building momentum after sweeping Georgia Tech last weekend, and the Seminoles wanted to keep playing good baseball after beating #6 Florida during the week. All three series games started similarly: BC secured an early lead, and Florida State responded with an offensive onslaught in the later innings. Unlike earlier in the season, the Eagles avoided the sweep against quality-ranked opponents. 

On Friday, Coach Interdonato started Michael Farinelli on the mound instead of John West. Neither team could produce any offense until the bottom of the third when the Eagles struck first. Florida State starter Jamie Arnold has been arguably the best pitcher in the ACC, maintaining an ERA under 1. Parker Landwehr started the inning with a single, followed by a Sam McNulty bunt thrown into center field by Arnold. That set up Cam Leary hit a three-run homer to give the Eagles the early advantage. The two earned runs given up in this inning were the same amount of runs Arnold had given up all year. The Seminoles responded with a solo shot to make it 3-1 Eagles heading into the fifth. Farinelli loaded the bases and was eventually replaced by Evan Moore. A throwing error and a single led to Florida State taking the lead 5-3 and never looking back. In the sixth, they scored another five runs off a single and a home run, making their lead 10-3. The nine runs scored in the last two innings were after BC recorded two outs. In the seventh, Florida State added one more to their lead, scoring off a fielder’s choice. Both teams added one run each in the later innings to make the final score 12-4 Seminoles. 

Saturday’s game was an extra-innings thriller and BC’s best win of the season so far. In the top of the second, Florida State strung together two doubles to grab the early 1-0 lead. The Eagles responded in the bottom half with a Nick Wang triple and a Vince Cimini single to even the score. In the third, FSU retook the lead with a few hits to make it a 2-1 game. In the fourth, Parker Landwehr began the rally with a double and scored off a fielder’s choice by John Collins. The game was knotted at 2-2 entering the sixth, but the Eagles were poised to take their first lead. Nick Wang and Vince Cimini reached on singles, and Landwehr walked to load the bases. BC scored twice off of wild pitches in one at-bat, and John Collins hit a sacrifice fly to give the Eagles a 5-2 lead. The Seminoles immediately chipped into the lead with a two-run homer in the following half-inning. Once again, chaos ensued for FSU in the bottom of the inning. Adam Magpoc walked, and a pitch hit Kyle Wolff. Then, the pitcher botched a pick-off attempt, leading to both runners advancing. Magpoc eventually scored to extend the Eagles lead 6-4. 

West exited the game at the top of the eighth for Eric Schroeder, who would pitch the remainder of the night. He faced adversity early and allowed the Seminoles to tie up the game, but he shut them down for the rest of the night. In the absence of Tyler Mudd, Schroeder delivered in one of the most critical moments of the year for this Eagles’ bullpen. Both teams had opportunities to win this game before the eleventh, but neither could convert. Some highlights were Parker Landwehr gunning out a runner at second base and BC surviving a one-out runner on the third scenario. Cam Leary came to the plate with the game on his bat and delivered. The Florida State pitcher hung an offspeed pitch, and Leary got all of it, blasting it over the scoreboard to walk it off. The Eagles even up the series and gave themselves an opportunity for their first-ranked series win of the year. 

A.J. Colarusso had a solid start to this game, shutting down the Seminole offense for four innings. The Eagles got an early 1-0 lead in the first when Patrick Roche doubled and scored off multiple sacrifices. Florida State evens the game in the fifth after putting together a few singles. These next few innings were the most significant turning point in the game. After the Eagles loaded the bases, Magpoc was drilled, which forced in a run but minimized the damage by getting a fly ball to leave the bases loaded. The Seminoles began the seventh with a solo homer to equalize. Colarusso walked in a run and gave up a double, which was the last batter he faced. Colarusso should have been pulled earlier, but I understand why Interdonato would want him to stay on the mound. 

Kyle Kipp entered the ball game and got a groundball to third, which could have ended the inning except for an errant throw from Roche at third, which made the score 6-2 Seminoles. Both scoring scenarios were slightly different, but I believe this was the turning point in the game. The Eagles failed to capitalize on their scoring chance in the bottom of the inning, leading to the Seminoles seizing their opportunity. They added three more runs in the next inning after a bases-clearing double, making the final score 9-2 Florida State. 

Overall, it was a solid weekend for the Eagles against one of the hottest teams in the country. FSU will probably end the year in the top ten and a top three ACC team. This weekend was an improvement compared to their other weekends against ranked ACC opponents, and they showed me that they can win a close game against the elite-caliber conference teams. The schedule does not get any easier next week. On Tuesday, they will seek revenge against Northeastern, which has massive implications for the College World Series. On Wednesday, they will face Dartmouth; this weekend, they will face #21 Wake Forest, who swept #16 Virginia Tech.

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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 7, UConn 4: The Bullpen Masterclass

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The Eagles threw eight different pitchers who allowed only 4 runs against UConn. The ball did not carry far with high winds and a chilly Connecticut day, as seen on Kyle Wolff’s first at-bat of the game. The Eagles looked dangerous early after UConn issued two walks to start the game. Wolff smoked a ball into the left-center gap, but the center fielder caught it on the warning track, which moved Patrick Roche to third base. Vince Cimini stepped up to the plate and delivered a ground ball up the middle, causing UConn to spin a double play. 

Boston College continued to apply pressure in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Adam Magpoc reached on a single, stole second, and made it to third on a throwing error. Then, Todd Interdonato dialed up a small ball classic and had Owen DeShazo bunt Magpoc home, which put the Eagles up 1-0. UConn did not go away, responding in the bottom of the inning with 2 runs off of Brian McMongle.

The fourth inning started with a John Collins walk, two outs, a Sam McNulty single, and a Roche walk to load the bases for the dangerous Cam Leary. Leary sent a blast over the right field fence, which gave him the 3rd most career home runs in Boston College history. This home run untied him with former teammate Joe Vetrano. Cam Leary will have a special offensive season, and it will be interesting to see where he will finish all-time in terms of home runs. 

The Eagles pitchers had cruised until the bottom of the fifth. Travis Lane came in to relieve Kyle Kipp and started the inning with back-to-back walks before Interdonato had seen enough. The freshman, Gavin Hasche, entered the game. He loaded the bases with another walk and got a fielder’s choice to second base to get the first out of the inning. Charlie Coon finished the inning, allowing one more run to score via a sacrifice fly to right field and picked off a runner. The pitching staff did not allow another run between Aidan Crowley, Jordan Fisse, and Eric Schroeder. UConn led the Eagles 2-1. 

The Eagles extended their lead in the top of the ninth when Parker Landwehr reached first on an error, and two more runs scored, making it 7-4. Eric Schroeder shut the door in the ninth and sealed the win. I think this staff has taken huge strides since the first few weekends, and I’m glad to see the development of crucial relievers. Eric Schroeder has been dominant for the Eagles almost all year, but his statistics say otherwise. If you exclude his first appearance (He gave up 6 runs in 1 inning to Cal), he has pitched 16.1 innings, only giving up 6 earned runs, striking out 14, and walking 6. I’m glad to see tremendous development in this staff. 

This is not only for pitchers, but some younger guys are making an impact on the other side of the ball. The only real returners for the Eagles on offense were McNulty, Roche, Wang, Cimini, Leary and Walsh. The Eagles have gotten help from returners stepping into a more prominent role or new players on campus. Kyle Wolff stands out, leading the team in batting average (.348), and has become an everyday first baseman. Transfers John Collins and Cam Caraher have filled positions of need for the Eagles and played well both ways. Freshman Adam Magpoc has solidified a significant role in the outfield and often provides a spark to the lineup. This team has the potential to compete in any ACC game this year. After being swept by top 25 opponents #22 NC State and #13 Virginia Tech, the Eagles will have a long road ahead if they want to compete in the ACC tournament. Their offense is elite, and they can constantly put up double digits against teams like NC State. The most telling indicator for me is if the Eagles can continue to get success out of their starters like last weekend. If they can take some stress off their bullpen, they will be a dangerous team heading forward.

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