Weekend Preview: BC BASEBALL Hosts No. 4 North Carolina
The Eagles take on their fourth top-10 team of 2017MATCHUP: No. 4 North Carolina (23-6, 9-3 ACC) at Boston College (9-17, 1-11 ACC)
WHERE: Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
WHEN: Friday, April 7 at 2:30 p.m. | Saturday, April 8 at 1:30 p.m. | Sunday, April 9 at 1 p.m.
RECORD vs. North Carolina: North Carolina leads the all-time series, 21-2
Friday: RHP Jacob Stevens (2-3, 3.89 ERA) vs. RHP J.B. Bukauskas (5-0, 0.96 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Dan Metzdorf (1-4, 4.26 ERA) vs. RHP Luca Dalatri (2-2, 2.61 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Brian Rapp (0-0, 2.32 ERA) vs. TBA
Scouting the Tar Heels
- North Carolina comes into the weekend with Atlantic Coast Conference series wins over Virginia, at Georgia Tech, Miami and a series sweep at Florida State.
- The Tar Heels are ninth in the ACC with a .262 batting average but second in the league with a 2.45 team ERA.
- Friday starter J.B. Bukauskas leads the ACC with a 0.96 ERA and 70 strikeouts. His .151 opponent batting average is second among league pitchers. In the last meeting with the Heels in 2015, he did not allow a run through seven innings, gave up just three hits, three walks and struck out eight in a game-two victory.
- Saturday starter Luca Dalatri is 12th in the league with a 2.61 ERA and is tied for ninth with 43 Ks. He leads the ACC with 48.1 innings pitched.
- Logan Warmoth leads the Heels with a .331 batting average and is tied with Brian Miller for the team lead for hits (39). His 15 stolen bases is second in the ACC. Miller is second on the team with 13 swipes.
- Carolina is third in the league with a .977 fielding percentage.
- The Eagles will host fourth-ranked North Carolina at Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field to open the 2017 home slate. BC had five home games moved due to weather and poor field conditions.
- The Tar Heels have a 21-2 all-time series lead over the Eagles. The two teams started facing off when BC joined the ACC in 2006. UNC has won all eight series meetings. BC’s two wins came at home in 2009 and in 2014.
- The two teams last met in 2015 when the Heels swept the series in Chapel Hill.
- Carolina comes into the series ranked fourth in the nation in most major collegiate polls. The Tar Heels have been ranked in the top 30 in every meeting with the Eagles. BC is 1-13 when UNC is ranked in the top five.
- BC’s victory came in 2009 in Chestnut Hill with a 3-1 win when the Heels were ranked fourth. The Eagles also won a 10-9 game in 2014 at home when UNC was the No. 30 team.
- BC is 1-8 on the year against top-25 opponents, as three of the Eagles’ four ACC opponents have been ranked in the top 10 this season (at No. 2 Florida State, at No. 1 Louisville, vs. No. 6 Clemson).
- Overall, the Eagles have won 11 games against top-five teams and lost 61 since joining the ACC.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE EAGLES
- Sunday starter junior Brian Rapp has made two career ACC starts – the last two weekends – and allowed just two runs over 14.0 innings. He has struck out 16, tallying career-high eight Ks in each game. Against No. 6 Clemson on March 26, he threw a career-high seven innings without giving up a run or walk, allowed three hits – all singles – and struck out a career-high eight. He matched his highs at Virginia Tech on April 2, allowing five hits – all singles again – two runs, two walk and eight more Ks over seven strong. The output was against the Hokies who lead the nation in home runs and are second in slugging percentage. His 2.32 ERA and .209 opponent batting average are both ranked 10th in the ACC.
- Junior Donovan Casey has been on an offensive tear lately. In the last 10 games, he is 15-for-39 (.385) with a .641 slugging percentage and a .444 on-base percentage. He’s logged 11 runs, two doubles, a triple, two home runs, seven RBIs, four walks and just one strikeout. He has also recorded a sac fly, a stolen base and two outfield assists. He is currently riding a five-game hit streak and hit for the cycle in the March 29 victory over Massachusetts.
- Sophomore Jake Alu is on a career-long, six-game hit streak. In that time, he has recorded 11 hits, three runs, five RBIs, three doubles, three walks and two stolen bases. Now an everyday player, Alu leads the Eagles with a .261 batting average in ACC games and is tied for the team lead with 12 hits in conference contests. Overall, he is batting second on the team with a .296 average and has stolen a team-high six bases.
- Sophomore right-hander Jack Nelson has allowed three runs over 20.1 innings, leading the BC bullpen with a 1.33 ERA. All three runs came at then-No. 2 Florida State on March 10. In his last five outings – 15.0 innings – which includes three starts, Nelson has not allowed a run. In that span, he has given up just three hits – all singles – walked six and struck out 10. He is 3-0 on the year and threw a career-high five innings in the win at Northeastern on Wednesday to lift the Eagles into the Beanpot title game. He gave up just one hit and one walk while striking out three.
- Senior Chris Balogh has been a constant off the bench for the Eagles. He is 4-for-9 as a pinch hitter in 2017 with three RBIs. He is also 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position. With BC up, 1-0, at Northeastern on Wednesday and the bases loaded in the seventh, Balogh hit a double – his first extra-base hit of the season – to score two and give the Eagles the insurance they would need in the victory.
- Sophomore lefty Zach Stromberg has not allowed a run in his last three appearances, six innings of relief. He threw three innings in the win at NU on Wednesday, allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out a career-high five in the BC victory. He also pitched two innings of scoreless relief at Virginia Tech on Saturday, striking out three. Nelson and Stromberg combined to throw eight scoreless innings against the Huskies, and along with classmate RHP John Witkowski, the Eagles allowed just three hits. It was the fourth time this season an opponent logged three hits or less against BC pitchers.
- Senior Michael Strem, who usually plays center or left field, has logged six outfield assists in 2017, which is second in the nation. Strem’s career doubles total is up to 54, fourth all-time.
- One of the largest hurdles the Eagles have faced this season is injuries and illness. At any given point this season, as many to 15 players on the Eagles’ 35-man roster have been sidelined due to injury or illness.-BC-
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