Eagles Split Wake Doubleheader

Friday was a chilly day at Friedman Diamond for the Boston College baseball team-the kind of cold that really lets you hear the pop of ball smacking leather-as the Eagles squared off against Wake Forest in an in-conference doubleheader, the first of two contests of the weekend’s three-game series between the ACC rivals. Similarly cold all afternoon were BC’s bats, amassing just nine hits between the two games, as the team managed to scrap out a 2-1 walk off win in the first contest, but fell short in the second, 6-2.

Deacons southpaw John McLeod was simply stellar, allowing no earned runs and just one hit in seven frames, all while striking out nine and walking two. His stuff was electric all afternoon, leaving Eagles batters waving at pitches, and sending them packing to the dugout. McLeod, carrying a no hitter through five innings, was hitting all his spots, making Wake catcher Garret Kelly’s job significantly easier. It didn’t seem to matter which combination of fingers Kelly waved at McLeod: Each of his three pitches was equally devastating for the struggling Eagles’ bats.

It wasn’t until the sixth that BC was able to get any sort of offense going-though it was not without some help. Designated hitter Geoffrey Murphy found himself to be just the second Eagle standing on first base after Wake first baseman Will Craig was unable to handle an errant throw from second baseman Jimmy Redovian, who missed his mark after fielding the ball cleanly, resulting in a throwing error-his second in two innings. A Stephen Sauter single up the middle broke up the no hitter and moved Murphy over to second base before Gabriel Hernandez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, as the Deacons, playing with the lead, opted to take the outs and allow Murphy to move uncontested to third. Another throwing error on the next at-bat from Wake third baseman Joe Napolitano allowed Murphy to touch home.

Where McLeod flourished, Eagles left-handed hurler Andrew Chin struggled, as he had trouble hitting his spots and locating his fastball for the entirety of his short outing. Chin surrendered three runs, one of which was unearned by virtue of his own throwing error, on four hits and two walks in three innings of ball, and got into trouble with his first batter when he surrendered a single up the middle to Deacons lead off hitter Evan Stephens.

Chin then sent a wild throw on a sac bunt in the general direction of Eagles’ first basemen John Hennessey, who had to chase the ball down as the runners moved up to second and third. A double by Charlie Morgan put BC down two runs before it had even recorded an out.

After getting out of that jam and surviving the second with a trio of groundouts, Chin found himself in trouble again by plunking the first Wake batter to step to the plate, giving him a free trot to first base. A Grant Shambley single to right center and a sac bunt put runners on second and third, with one out, before Matt Conway notched his first RBI of the day, putting the Deacons up 3-0.

Head coach Mike Gambino then made the move to right-handed pitcher Eric Stephens, who did a fine job, inducing weak contact and relying on the glovers behind him. He tossing three innings without an earned run, although the Demon Deacons did manage to plate three runners on his watch.

A 6-1 game headed into the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles attempted to piece a comeback together by stringing together three one-out singles, with Tom Bourdon eventually knocking in Joe Cronin. But it was too little, too late, as Geoffrey Murphy ended the game grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

While the Eagles still struggled to produce in the first game of doubleheader, the combined arms of John Gorman, who went six strong innings, surrendering only one run, and a couple of Eagles out of the pen carried them to a 2-1 walk off victory, with Eagles righty John Nicklas notching the win. The late-game heroics began when John Hennessy singled to right center, before advancing to third on a Chris Shaw single to right. Joe Cronin then put in a strong at-bat, doing exactly what he was supposed to do, sending a deep fly ball to center field that allowed Hennessy to tag up and beat the throw to the plate to give the Eagles their first conferencewin in dramatic fashion.