Previewing 2018 Baseball: Florida State

boston college baseball

Simply put, Boston College baseball has been nothing short of an enigma this season. The Eagles (13-23, 5-13 Atlantic Coast) seem to have the pieces necessary for a strong season—they have a capable lineup featuring several premier hitters as well as two of the best base stealers in the conference, paired with a rotation, that, on paper, should be keeping them in games.

Instead, they’re 10 games under .500 and enter this weekend series against No. 17 Florida State (26-12, 8-9), having dropped 12 of their last 16 games, seeking to find that second gear that they flashed last season. It must start with the Seminoles—BC has just three conference series’ remaining after this weekend, and to reach the same win mark as last year would mean another torrid stretch.

Who is BC playing?

Florida State

When is BC playing?

Friday, April 20, 6 p.m.
Saturday, April 21, 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 22, 1 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Friday and Sunday’s games will be played at Harrington Athletics Village at Brighton Fields.
Saturday’s game—the Seventh Annual ALS Awareness Game—will be played at Fenway Park.

How to Watch:

The ALS game will be broadcast on ESPNU and available to stream on WatchESPN. The other two games will be available to listen to via WZBC.

Probable Starters:

Friday: RHP Jacob Stevens (BC) vs. LHP Drew Parrish (2-0, 2.82 ERA).
Saturday: LHP Dan Metzdorf (0-5, 4.70 ERA) vs. RHP C.J. Van Eyk (1-0, 2.63 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Brian Rapp (3-4, 3.55 ERA) vs. RHP Andrew Karp (6-3, 2.89 ERA)

By the Numbers:

BC

1) In 80 innings last season, Metzdorf struck out 46 batters. This year, in just 48 innings, he’s already tied that mark. The junior has found a multitude of ways to set batters down swinging—it’s an impressive improvement, especially when paired with longevity. He’s surpassed seven innings in three of his last four starts, something he did just three times, total, last year.

2) Jake Palomaki piled up three extra-base hits against Dartmouth on Wednesday—two doubles and a triple. The senior has been the definition of consistency, reaching base in 32 of 36 games played this season, resulting in top-10 conference rankings in hits, doubles, and steals.

3) A recent surprise has been the play of sophomore Joe Suozzi, who, in 26 at bats, has totaled seven hits—the three most recent coming against Dartmouth. Suozzi has earned more trust from the coaching staff with his play, resulting in him starting five of the Eagles’ last six games.

FSU:

1) The Seminoles blew past Stetson in their last two games, shaking off a rare five-game skid that included a trio of losses at home—they lost twice to Georgia Tech, once to rival Florida, and twice to Duke in a weather-shortened series.

2) FSU is far and away the most patient team in the conference, frustrating any pitchers that run into command struggles. The Seminoles place three batters in the top 10 in walks—Rhett Aplin, Cal Raleigh, and Steven Wells—and have 20 more, total, than any other ACC team.

3) An injury to weekend starter Cole Hands has shaken up the Seminoles rotation, meaning BC will get to face Van Eyk, a freshman with just one career start under his belt. Still, Van Eyk was a 19th-round draft pick out of high school and is a talented right-hander with a fastball in the mid-90s and a curveball described by draft reports as a “true swing-and-a-miss pitch.”

Last Meeting:

The Eagles headed to Tallahassee for their first conference series of the year last season, and despite winning the opener, they were routed in the last two games of the series—a Saturday doubleheader in which they were outscored, 24-1. The Seminoles were ranked second in the country at the time and unleashed vengeance for falling, 8-5, in the series opener. FSU chased Dan Metzdorf with a six-run fourth inning in the finale, while a five-run sixth guided it to a win in the day game.

Outlook:

As touched upon in the introduction, this is a big series for the Eagles. After getting swept by Wake Forest and dropping two of three to Pittsburgh—both middle of the pack league opponents—BC really needs to start finding conference success. With the most conference losses of any team in the ACC, the Eagles have to build off the momentum of a thorough win over Dartmouth on Wednesday night and avoid starting another skid. BC isn’t as bad as it’s been playing, of course, and that repeated fact from head coach Mike Gambino rings true. The problem? It’s almost May and it’s far from clear that the Eagles have the same push in them that they used a year ago to vault into the ACC tournament. Two teams miss out of the 14-team conference field, and BC currently occupies one of those spots.

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor

About Bradley Smart 157 Articles
Bradley is the associate sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, March is the best month, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.