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Where Baseball America ranked Boston College in their ACC preview

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After a huge year for Boston College baseball in 2023, the Eagles look to build on the success in 2024 with new head coach Todd Interdonato.

Baseball America put out its ACC preview, which includes power rankings, predictions, and more. Birdball is predicted to be the 13th-best team in the conference after a top-six finish last season that included a 37-20/16-14 record, finishing third in the Atlantic division of the conference behind the powerhouses of Clemson and Wake Forest. The conference saw down years for a few teams, by far most notably Florida State and an honorable mention would be Louisville; though the parity in the conference is almost always fantastic.

The big year for BC in 2023 came after an ugly 5-25 ACC record the previous season. They were one of just two teams in the ACC to have a below .500 record out-of-conference as well, going just 19-34.

Wake Forest is the top team in the nation heading into the season, which no one is surprised by. They’re led by Chase Burns on the mound while Nick Kurtz headlines the stacked lineup of hitters.

Here’s the preseason power rankings from BA:

  1. 1. Wake Forest
  2. 2. Virginia
  3. 3. Clemson
  4. 4. North Carolina
  5. 5. Duke
  6. 6. Miami
  7. 7. NC State
  8. 8. Louisville
  9. 9. Florida State
  10. 10. Georgia Tech
  11. 11. Virginia Tech
  12. 12. Notre Dame
  13. 13. Boston College
  14. 14. Pittsburgh

With BA ranking BC as the 13th-best team in the conference, here’s what they wrote on the Eagles (link):

Last year marked one of the most memorable seasons in program history for the Eagles. On top of a thrilling road victory at Tennessee, the Eagles won their first four conference series and found themselves ranked inside the top 10. They faltered a bit down the stretch, but they did more than enough to earn an at-large bid and the No. 2 seed in the Tuscaloosa Regional. After an 11-10 loss to Troy in its opening game, BC beat Nicholls and Troy in consecutive days to take on host Alabama in the regional final. The Tide knocked out the Eagles, but the 2023 season will be remembered in Chestnut Hill forever.

After the season, head coach Mike Gambino took the same position at Penn State. While that was certainly a tough blow, the Eagles made a slam dunk hire with Todd Interdonato. A proven winner at every stop and an excellent recruiter, Coach Interdonato should certainly go on to do great things on the Heights.

The departures of Joe Vetrano (.315/.407/.671) and Travis Honeyman (.304/.383/.534) leave the Eagles with big shoes to fill on offense. Experienced centerfielder Barry Walsh (.314/.416/.490) will play high-quality defense in center field, Cameron Leary (.258/.422/.503) will be the team’s everyday rightfielder and has above-average power, while the middle of the infield from 2023 remains intact with both Patrick Roche (.294/.403/.398) and Sam McNulty (286/.371/.405) returning. The ever-experienced Vince Cimini (.277/.373/.312) provides invaluable leadership qualities and an advanced defensive skill set at third. Nick Wang will now be the starting first baseman, and his 43 RBIs and 11 home runs in 2023 both ranked second on the team. Backstop Adonys Guzman (.239/.370/.284) transferred to Arizona, which means the experienced Parker Landwehr will step into a starting role.

Two of last year’s weekend starters in Chris Flynn (7-3, 4.34 ERA) and Henry Leake (5-5, 5.85 ERA) both graduated, which leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. Although he received significant draft interest and could have signed if he wanted to, the towering John West (5-3, 4.50 ERA) is back for the 2024 season and will anchor the rotation. Sean Hard (0-0, 9.58 ERA) has some of the highest upside and loudest stuff on the staff, but he will need to refine his command in order to maximize his effectiveness. Senior righthander Joey Ryan (1-1, 5.57 ERA) will be the team’s go-to arm in relief, and has a true plus changeup with above-average command.

This season may be a bit of a step back from 2023, but there is no doubt BC has the right guy at the helm in order to turn it into a consistent tournament team. The future is bright in Chestnut Hill.

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Baseball

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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Kansas State 6, Boston College 4: Eagles’ grand slam the lone offensive effort

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Coming off a statement win over Ohio State, Boston College couldn’t overcome the deficit despite a grand slam as #24 Kansas State took down the Eagles Saturday, who fell to 1-1 at the MLB Desert Invitational in Glendale, AZ. 

Sophomore A.J. Colarusso struck out an impressive eight Wildcats while only giving up two runs in four frames of work. The lefty let up a pair of back-to-back, two-out RBI singles by K-State’s Raphael Pelletier and David Bishop, which gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead in the top of the second.

The score stayed 2-0 through five, as Sean Hard and Charlie Coon pieced together a scoreless fifth following Colarusso’s exit. The wheels started falling off for Beck Milner in the top of the seventh though after a scoreless sixth out of the bullpen, as the Wildcats piled on three more two-out runs that Milner was all responsible for, spoiling Milner’s Birdball debut. Gavin Hasche had a chance to bail out Milner with the Eagles only down 3-0, but the freshman gave up a back-breaking two-out single to light-hitting catcher Jayden Lobliner, bringing the lead to 5-0. 

The Eagles bats finally woke up in the bottom of the seventh, with Nick Wang and Kyle Wolff’s back-to-back singles knocking K-State starter Ty Ruhl out of the game. Ruhl had been dominant through six, as prior to the inning he had allowed just two hits while striking out six.

With two on, Cole Wisenbaker — who relieved Ruhl — let Cameron Leary aboard via balls, before Vince Cimini delivered a grand slam that cut the deficit to 5-4. From there though, Blake Dean came on for Kansas State, who pitched three hitless innings and secured the win for the Wildcats.

BC resumes play tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. ET to wrap up play in Arizona, as they take on the slugging California Golden Bears to try and finish the weekend above .500.

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Boston College 9, Ohio State 2: Birdball starts with a bang

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Boston College entered the 2024 with a matchup of Ohio State in the MLB Desert Invitational with Head Coach Todd Interdonato making his debut, as the Eagles looked to make an instant splash.

The Eagles got their bats going in the second after falling down 1-0 early, with Middlebury (DII) transfer John Collins ripping a double down the left field line, driving in two. After retaking the lead, BC would not trail again.

Nick Wang picked up in the third inning where he left off in the 2023 season, launching a 440-foot shot onto the berm in left field, extending the lead to 3-1. After OSU grabbed one back in the bottom half of the third, Vince Cimini took the two-run lead right back with a solo shot of his own in the fourth.

Starter Johnny West left the game after four innings, giving up two earned with six strikeouts. Holy Cross transfer Tyler Mudd made his BC debut in relief and made his presence felt immediately — the left-hander went five scoreless, and hitless innings, including 15 batters retired straight along with five strikeouts.

With the score still a manageable 5-2 in the eighth, BC put four more runs across the plate. First coming on a past ball, then Parker Landwehr hit the Eagles’ third solo home run of the game. Cohl Mercado and Kyle Wolff both additional drove in runs, bringing the score to 9-2.

The Eagles continue in Scottsdale, AZ Saturday against Kansas State at Sloan Park, at 2:00 ET.

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