Staring into the catcher’s mitt to start the ninth inning, Mike King looked determined to continue what he had done for all day: dominate. Wasting no time between pitches, King went right after the batter, Connor Justus. King attacked him like he had done to every other batter he faced—effortlessly. After striking out Justus looking, King got a pop up out of Arden Pabst and a fly out from Kel Johnson. Just like that, King closed out the best game by a Boston College pitcher in years.
Friday afternoon’s game featured two kings on the mound: Mike King for the Eagles (19-18, 7-11 ACC) and Jonathan King for the No. 24 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (24-13, 9-10 ACC). Jonathan turned in a good performance, allowing one run. But Mike’s was truly great—a one-hit complete game shutout for his first win of the year. And that one crucial run that proved to be the difference on the day as the Eagles prevailed 1-0.
On the day, BC’s King faced the minimum 27 batters, allowing only one hit while setting a career high for strikeouts with eight. After the game, he said how he had such success in striking batters out. “They’re a very aggressive team so I wanted them to hit it early,” King said. “A few of them took first pitch and once I had them first pitch, it was just Coach Foster letting us execute pitches … I was just able to spot up the two-seam inside and outside.”
Even with his tremendous success, King pointed what he believed was most important to the Eagles success. “It was just our defense—Johnny [Adams] made a bunch of plays out there. Outfield tracked all the balls down,” King said. “We had a great execution plan going in, and I just executed pitches and let the defense do it behind me.”
The defense made a couple of unbelievable plays behind King throughout the day, the most notable by left fielder Gabriel Hernandez and the shortstop Adams. Hernandez made an incredible diving catch on a sharp line drive to left which ended an inning for King. On another, Adams ranged to his right and made a leaping, Derek Jeter-esque throw on a close play at first. But the best support came from King’s battery mate, catcher Nick Sciortino.
Sciortino turned in another tremendous defensive effort behind the plate, catching two runners stealing and picking another off at first. “Mike King went all nine, threw well, and did a good job of holding them on,” Sciortino said. “He picked over, made sure he was quick to the plate, and luckily I got a couple of good pitches to throw on.”
BC’s lone run came in the second inning. Adams hit an infield single to short and Jake Palomaki surprised the Ramblin’ Wreck defense with a bunt single. This set the table for Blake Butera who hit a line drive to left which Georgia Tech left fielder Matt Gonzalez played awkwardly and allowed to drop in for a single. And despite the pedestrian offensive day for the Eagles, Butera’s single was enough to propel them to a record above .500 on the season.
Friday’s game marked a big day of firsts for the Eagles this season. It was the first complete game one-hitter by a Birdballer since 2003 and the first win for the team over a top-25 team this season. After a season where they could not play game at Shea due to the lingering snow, it was a huge home win for the Eagles to gain confidence heading into the rest of their schedule. The Yellow Jackets are a tough ACC foe and the Eagles proved that they can beat some of the country’s best teams. In a game pitting two kings against each other, BC proved that they had the ace in King.
Featured Image by Daniella Fasciano / Heights Editor