BC and NC State played a big game at Fenway Park for ALS, in which the Eagles got great pitching and timely hitting, Boston College, and North Carolina State were back on the field less than 24 hours later to play two at Shea Field. The result was more great pitching from the Eagles and just enough offense to sweep the doubleheader and take the series as well by winning all three games in the set.
As a team BC’s pitching staff has not set the league on fire, in fact coming into Sunday twin-bill the staff had a team ERA of 7.52 in conference action. However, the two starting pitchers the Eagles threw out, game one starter Dan Metzdorf and game two starter Brian Rapp, both pitched like ACC first-teamers.
Not to be outdone the Wolfpack also got strong starting outings as well. In fact, it could be said that on any other weekend we are talking about an NC State sweep instead of one by BC.
Game one starters Metzdorf and Brian Brown of State threw strikes all game long. Brown went 6.2 innings striking out 11 while only giving up four hits, unfortunately, he was matched up with someone who was just a bit better.
BC struck first in the second with one down on back to back base hits by Jake Allu and Jacob Yish that put runners at the corners. Johnny Adams came to the plate and laid down a safety squeeze to the right side. The ball was fielded by Brown who threw wide of the first baseman Stephen Pitarra and it allowed Alu to score from third and BC had a 1-0 lead.
State tied the game in the fifth when leading off the inning on an Evan Mendoza double to left field. He moved to third on a single to center field by Joe Dunand. Brett Kinneman would sacrifice Dunand to second with a bunt as Mendoza held at third. Catcher Andy Cosgrove would then lift a sac fly to center field and Eagles CF Michael Strem tried to throw the runner out at the plate but the throw was not in time, game tied at 1-1.
With both starters mowing down hitters with ease, the game did not get decided until the bottom of the eighth. Wolfpack relief pitcher Austin Staley got in the game and he got the first out of the inning before giving up a base hit to second baseman Jake Polomaki to CF. He moved to second base on a sac bunt from Strem. Next batter, Gian Martellini, who had fanned three times vs Brown was now facing a new pitcher. He took advantage by ripping a ground ball down the LF line scoring Polomaki with the go-ahead run. The RBI was his 26th of the season and BC had a 2-1 lead.
Head Coach Mike Gambino went to his bullpen and called on Donovan Casey to close the game, and he did getting NC State in order to win game one 2-1.
Game two was all about BC starter Brian Rapp, who was in control from the start. He would throw 120 pitches, 74 for strikes. He would get his first complete game of his career although he would need a little help. Coach Gambino said after the game he did “consider taking Rapp out after eight innings. He was talked into keeping him in the game by his pitching coach, who in the end made a great call.
North Carolina State game two starter was not too bad himself as Michael Bienlien matched Rapp pitch for pitch. He went six innings giving up the only run of the game on five hits.
The only run of the game came in the seventh inning. A leadoff walk to Yish against Bienlien, Yish was pinch ran for by Donovan Hardaway. He was sacrificed to second by Adams who faces Dalton Feeney who came in from the bullpen to replace Bienlien. He moved to third on a comebacker to Feeney by thrid baseman Brian Dempsey. Hardaway would score on a wild pitch during the at-bat of Donovan Casey. It was all Rapp would need, as he went the route to give the Eagles a much-needed sweep of the doubleheader and series.
After the game Coach Gambino praised both pitchers and why not. They both work ahead in the count all day and their results spoke for themselves. Afterward, Rapp said his success was “from pounding the strike zone with the fastball” also saying he trusted the game plan and his stuff.
Metzdorf commented on “getting three wins the team really needed” and trusting his Catcher Martellini with calling a great game.
With the sweep of the series, the Eagles moved to 6-15 in league play and 15-22 overall. For NC State, the losses put them at 8-13 in ACC and 20-20 overall.
Up next for Boston College is a pair of mid-week games, first against UMass-Lowell on Tuesday, then vs Bryant College on Wednesday.