Ninth Inning Glory

Saturday afternoon at Shea Field saw possibly the craziest game in recent memory for the Boston College baseball team. Down at multiple points in the game, BC ground out a 10-9 come-from-behind win against the University of North Carolina.

A pitcher’s duel was the expectation as Andrew Chin took the mound for BC against Benton Moss of UNC. Chin entered the game with a 1.95 ERA while holding opponents to a .171 batting average. Moss hasn’t been too shabby himself this season, sporting a 2-1 record with a 3.23 ERA.

Through three innings, both teams were held scoreless. In the fourth inning, however, the pitcher’s duel died. The Tar Heels struck first, mashing out four hits and capitalizing on a throwing error by the Eagles en route to a four-run top of the fourth inning. UNC looked to be well on its way to another blowout victory.

“We started off a little rough,” said Blake Butera. “But the guys did a really good job of battling through and sticking in all the way from the first inning to the ninth inning.”

As Butera noted, the team simply would not give up. Through the first three innings, Moss was nearly perfect, allowing only one base runner who reached on an error. In the fourth inning, however, BC looked like a new team. John Hennessey tallied the team’s first hit to start off the inning, which was followed up by four more consecutive singles. Chris Shaw, Joe Cronin, and Nick Sciortino got the Eagles on the board with an RBI single apiece and drew the Eagles within one run.

In the sixth inning, UNC looked to pull away again, scoring four runs on two hits and a costly error in center field. The team held a comfortable 8-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh, until Moss’ successors out of the bullpen proved incapable of finding the strike zone. Tar Heel pitching allowed five walks, which left the door open for a two-RBI double by Blake Butera and a Chris Shaw sacrifice fly. Once again, BC managed to keep itself in the game with a score of 8-6.

In the eighth inning, UNC tacked on an insurance run with a Tom Zengel RBI single. Again with their backs against the wall, the Eagles responded in a big way. After three walks, the bases were loaded with one out for Chris Shaw, who ripped a single up the middle, scoring two and bringing the Eagles within one run. Taking a very calm approach at the plate against an extremely wild pitching staff, BC’s Logan Hoggarth drew a walk, which tied the game at nine.

After a quick 1-2-3 top of the ninth pitched by Mike King, it was winning time for the Eagles. Again, UNC’s pitching was erratic, allowing a devastating leadoff walk to Sciortino. The BC catcher was replaced by pinch runner Nick Colucci, who was able to steal second base and put himself in scoring position for the win. Down to his last strike with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Blake Butera delivered for the Eagles, smoking an opposite field single, scoring Colucci, and sending the BC dugout into a frenzy.

Chris Shaw noted the importance of gritty wins as something which should help the team throughout the rest of the season. “Past four games, 3-1,” Shaw said. “A lot of character wins. For us to come out and swing the bat like we did and play baseball the way we did was really good, and it’s going to help us going forward.”