Boston College baseball may not exactly be getting off to the hot start it wanted. The Eagles came into Cary, N.C. aiming to right the ship after losses to Minnesota and Indiana. At the U.S.A. Baseball Complex, BC once again went 1-2 in a weekend series. The Eagles (4-5) found themselves on both the good and bad side of blowouts against Niagara and Army, respectively, while losing to Bryant in a back-and-forth game that was by far the group’s most exciting contest all year.
Unlike BC’s previous defeats against the Gophers and Hoosiers, the outcome of Sunday’s game against Army was up in the air until the seventh inning. Brian Rapp pitched a phenomenal game for the Eagles, striking out 10 Black Knights in just five and a third innings, but his teammates couldn’t get it done on the offensive end in an 11-1 defeat.
Rapp was tagged with the loss despite allowing just two runs and five hits. The moment he was taken out, the Eagles fell apart defensively. Zach Stromberg immediately allowed an RBI single, and in relief Carmen Giampetruzzi ironically walked in two runs after intentionally loading the bases with a runner on third. He was charged with five earned runs without recording a single out. The inning put a damper on what had been a strong outing for the Eagles defense against a powerful Army (6-4) team—the Black Knights had scored a combined 20 runs in their previous two games in Cary.
The day before, Bryant ended up being the beneficiary of a seesaw battle that consisted of four lead changes. Going into the ninth, the Eagles were up, 8-7, but things quickly changed. The Bulldogs’ Chris Wright started the game’s final frame with a single up the middle that turned into a two-bagger after an errant Jake Palomaki throw. Wright ended up scoring on a single from Gaby Cruz, and after a pitching change that brought Giampetruzzi to the mound, things looked grim for BC. A poor weekend for the junior left-hander was highlighted by a two-out walk-off single he allowed to Ryan Ward, who knocked in the aforementioned Cruz.
BC allowed at least one run in all but three innings, but on the offensive side the Eagles looked as good as they have all season. Brian Dempsey had the best day of any BC player with a career-high four RBIs on three hits, while Palomaki, Gian Martellini, Jack Cunningham, and Chris Galland also had multi-hit games. In fact, no other batter recorded even a single hit, a critical reason why a frustrated Palomaki was left on base a total of three times. The Eagles lack of offensive production from half its lineup, in addition to four errors on the other end, proved to be the determining factors in a one-run game. The 9-8 win was Bryant’ s (1-7) first of the season, an inaugural victory that BC couldn’t have been happy to concede.
Friday night’s contest, however, looked much better, as the Eagles’ bats flew the same way they did in their previous game—an 11-3 win over Rutgers. Galland led the way for BC, recording three hits, including one of the game’s two extra-base hits—a three-run double in the Eagles’ seven-run seventh inning. He showcased his speed on the basepath too: Galland finished the day having swept three bases, while Jake Alu and Dante Baldelli each stole a base of their own.
The Purple Eagles, meanwhile, couldn’t even get anyone on base. Jacob Stevens pitched seven innings of lights out baseball against Niagara (1-3), striking out nine of the 24 batters he faced for his second win of the year. After Matt Gill’s 1-2-3 eighth, Brendan Spagnuolo came in to close a contest that was already over, but gave the Purple Eagles a chance to make the game closer than it looked. Pinch hitter Michael Gabriele plated two of his team’s three ninth inning runs on a hard-hit single up the middle, but Spagnuolo proceeded to force Joseph Tevlin into a groundout to finish what would end up being the Eagles’ first and last win of the series.
All in all, the Eagles can’t be happy after coming away with just one win in two “gimme” contests and a toss-up against Army. A lack of quality relief pitching down the stretch was a common theme in all three games, as BC gave up a combined 15 runs in the seventh inning or later. Seventeen of the team’s 23 allowed runs came from non-starters, and now BC heads into Asheville on a two-game slide. With ACC play less than a week away, it’s imperative that starters like Rapp and Stevens can get the help on both offense and defense that they need.
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor