BASEBALL: Learning To Win

After sweeping Friday’s doubleheader, the Boston College baseball team looked for its first ACC series sweep in two years on Sunday. It was a special day at Shea Field, as the Eagles honored America’s finest in the team’s second annual Wounded Warrior Game.

The team sported red, white, and blue American flag jerseys, honoring New Hampshire native and retired Army Staff Sgt. Erick Millette, who threw out the first pitch alongside retired Marine Ryan Casavant.

BC baseball’s military ties run deep, as the team’s home, Shea Field, is named after longtime Naval Commander John Joseph Shea, for whom the USS Shea was also named.
Jeff Burke got the nod for the Eagles, still searching for his first win of the season in his 11th start. Maryland’s starter Jake Drossner on the other hand, entered Sunday with an unblemished 4-0 record in seven starts. On paper, it should have been pretty clear the direction in which this pitching matchup would go. No one told Burke, apparently.

Both pitchers looked strong early on, inducing a seemingly endless string of ground balls. The Eagles broke through briefly in the second inning, however, thanks to some sloppy fielding by the Terrapins.

With two outs in the inning, Tom Bourdon ripped a line drive down the right field line, reaching second base easily on a standup double. With Bourdon on second, Drossner was able to induce what should have been an inning-ending ground ball to first base-as a few fans in Boston of all places pointed out, however, LaMonte Wade “Buckner’d” and saw the ball trickle through his legs into right.

Bourdon, hustling all the way, gave BC an early 1-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, BC managed to push across another run to take a 2-0 lead. Joe Cronin led off the inning with a groundball single through the hole between short shop and third base.
Chris Shaw, who has been on an absolute tear as of late, followed up Cronin’s single, reaching second on a single and an error. With runners on second and third with no outs, Michael Strem scored Cronin on a chopper to the shortstop.

Burke was without a doubt the story of the game for the Eagles. He was exceptional on the mound for the Eagles, finishing with only two hits allowed over eight innings. Maryland hitters looked confused at the plate all afternoon, constantly getting on top of the ball and weakly spraying the ball in the infield. Heading into the seventh inning, Burke even had a no-hitter intact.
Drossner exited after 6.2 strong innings. Maryland’s bullpen proved ineffective, however, allowing BC all the extra cushion it would need.

The big lefty was relieved by Kevin Mooney, who was on the mound for the beginning of a big BC inning in the bottom of the eighth. He exited after loading the bases, making way for lefty Alex Robinson to face Shaw. Shaw delivered once again, scorching a single into center field, plating two Eagles and upping the team’s lead to 4-0.

After Shaw’s clutch hit, Robinson appeared shaken on the mound, allowing two consecutive walks and gifting BC another run.

He exited after failing to record an out, once again with the bases loaded with Eagles. The Eagles couldn’t capitalize, but the damage was already done. The way Burke was throwing the ball, insurance runs appeared to be of little consequence.

In the top of the ninth, Burke finally proved to be human, allowing a leadoff walk and a long double to the first two batters of the inning. With Burke exiting to a standing ovation from the crowd at Shea Field, Adams looked to finish what his teammate started.

The Terrapins wouldn’t go quietly, however, as Brandon Lowe roped a single into right, scoring their first run of the day. With no outs, it quickly became 5-1 with the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate.

After a strikeout of the cleanup hitter, Shaw made a nice running catch in foul territory on a sacrifice fly to secure the second out. Still with the tying runner at the plate, Adams got him to line out to Bourdon in center, securing the first series sweep of the season for the Eagles.

Until Friday, May 9, the BC baseball team will auction off their Stars and Stripes jerseys, with all proceeds from the sales benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.