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BC BASEBALL: Weekend Preview vs Notre Dame

Weekend Preview: BC BASEBALL Closes Out Shea Field Era with the Irish
BC ends 2017 with Notre Dame, looking to make the postseason

ShaTHE FACTS
MATCHUP: Quinnipiac (26-27, 10-17 ACC) at Boston College (22-26, 8-19 ACC)
WHERE: Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
WHEN: Thursday, May 18 at 2:30 p.m. | Friday, May 19 at 1:30 p.m. | Saturday, May 20 at 1 p.m.
RECORD vs. Notre Dame: ND leads the series, 28-10, 7-2 in the ACC

HOW TO FOLLOW
Listen:  Thursday | Friday | Saturday
Live Stats
Twitter: @BCBirdball

PROMOTIONS
Thursday: The BC lacrosse team, who will host Southern Cal on Saturday in the Elite Eight, will throw out the first pitch.
Saturday: The five members of the senior class will be honored at 12:30 p.m. Immediately following, there will also be a pregame ceremony recognizing the final baseball game played on Shea Field. Family members of Eddie Pellagrini, the winningest coach in BC baseball history and whom the diamond is named for, will be in attendance, along with former players and coaches.

THE MATCHUP
Pitching Matchups
Thursday:  RHP Jacob Stevens (4-6, 5.25 ERA) vs. RHP Brad Bass (3-7, 4.10 ERA)
Friday: LHP Dan Metzdorf (4-5, 3.95 ERA) vs. LHP Michael Hearne (4-4, 3.82 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Brian Rapp (3-3, 3.74 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Bielak (2-6, 5.19 ERA)

Scouting the Fighting Irish

  • Notre Dame comes into the final series of the season one game under .500 but just 4-12 away from South Bend.
  • The Irish are 10-17 in ACC play, sitting two games ahead of the Eagles. The team’s .247 batting average is 12th in the league while the 4.30 ERA ranks 10th.
  • ND was also off from conference play last weekend, taking two of three from Austin Peay at home. The Irish earned a 10-2 victory over Western Michigan on Tuesday to close out its non-conference schedule.
  • In its last ACC games, Notre Dame was swept by No. 2 Louisville at home. This season, they have also been swept at Wake Forest and at Clemson and lost a series at Virginia.
  • The Irish logged ACC series wins over Duke, NC State, at Pitt and a sweep of Georgia Tech.
  • ND is led by Matt Vierling, batting .333 with 67 hits with seven home runs, 17 doubles, four triples and 39 RBIs.
  • Thursday starter Brad Bass’s 72 strikeouts are tied for eighth in the league. He picked up a win last weekend against Austin Peay, going six innings, allowing just hits, two runs, four walks and striking out seven. Against the Cardinals, he went 7.2 innings, allowing two hits, two runs – one earned – walked three and struck out six in a loss. Last year, he picked up the save against the Eagles, throwing the final two innings, allowing just a walk while striking out three.
  • Lefty Michael Hearne collected his fourth win against the Governors throwing six scoreless with six hits, no walks and three Ks. In his last ACC outing, he went 6.2 against Louisville, allowed nine hits, five runs – four earned – two walks and struck out five. He threw 1.1 innings of relief in the series finale last season in South Bend, allowing two hits, five runs – all earned – four walks and one K.
  • The third man in the rotation, Brandon Bielak allowed five hits, three runs and seven Ks in a six-inning start with a no decision last week. He threw five against the Cardinals, allowing seven hits, three runs – two earned – with three walks and seven strikeouts. He also picked up a save against BC last year – going 2.1 innings in relief with one strikeout and one walk.

THE SERIES

  • The Eagles host rival Notre Dame in a three-game ACC set to close out the regular season. The outcome will determine if BC makes the ACC Tournament for the second straight year and fourth overall.
  • BC is 10-28 all-time against Notre Dame, 2-7 in ACC games.
  • The Eagles’ and Irish’s history dates back to the Big East. ND won the first seven meetings before BC opened a three-game series with a 10-7 win in South Bend on April 17, 1999.
  • In 2000, the Eagles took two Big East Tournament games, but dropped one in 2004 and one in 2005.
  • The first ACC meeting came in 2014 in Chicago. BC earned a 4-1, 11-inning win in the series opener before ND swept a doubleheader.
  • BC has never won a series against the Irish.
  • The Eagles are 3-11 against Notre Dame at home, coming away with one win in 2015, on a walk-off to end the season.

ND-BC CONNECTIONS

  • Former BC baseball coach Mik Aoki (2007-10) is the head coach at Notre Dame. He compiled a 114-108-1 record at the helm, 48-69 in ACC action. Aoki led BC to its first ACC Tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010 and BC’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1967 in 2009.
  • The Eagles played the longest game in NCAA history – a 25-inning, 3-2 loss at Texas – at the 2009 Austin Regional.
  • BC’s highest draft pick – C Tony Sanchez (2007-09) was selected fourth overall (Pittsburgh) under Aoki.
  • The Eagles set 13 school records under Aoki, including hits (649), doubles (151), saves (14-tied) and fielding percentage (.979).
  • BC head coach Mike Gambino and Aoki were assistants together on the BC staff under Pete Hughes in 2004 and 2005. The Eagles’ 37 wins in 2005 still stand as a program record.

WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE EAGLES

  • Boston College won its final three non-conference games of the 2017 season, sweeping a doubleheader against Quinnipiac on Saturday and coming back to beat Maine on Tuesday.
  • The Eagles finish the season with a 14-7 non-conference record, including going a perfect 5-0 at home.
  • Junior Jake Palomaki started the first game against Quinnipiac with a walk to break BC’s all-time walks record with 115. He now has 117 in his three years. He already holds the record for single-season walks with 46, set as a freshman in 2015. His 42 in 2016 is second in BC record books. He currently has 29 this season, two away from the top 10, even after missing 11 games with a hamstring injury. Palomaki is sixth all-time with a .426 career on-base percentage and has reached base safely 266 times, nine times outside BC’s all-time top 10.
  • Sophomore Jake Alu has a hit in 15 of the last 18 games, including the last five. He leads the Eagles with a .320 batting average and 33 hits in ACC games. His .320 overall average is tied for 15th in the league.
  • Sophomore LHP Dan MetzdorfFriday’s starter – has not allowed a run in his last two appearances – 11.0 innings – and six runs in his last five, 28.0 innings (1.93 ERA).  He gave up just one hit over five innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win in the first game against Quinnipiac. He walked one and struck out four. The lefty allowed just four hits and no runs while striking out five in a six-inning start on May 6 to aid in the first shutout of the season at home for then 17th-ranked Wake Forest.
  • Sophomore Gian Martellini‘s career-long, 14-game hit streak came to an end on Tuesday. It was the longest of the season for the Eagles and tied for sixth in BC record books. He has at least one hit in 39 of the 47 games played.
  • Junior RHP Brian RappSaturday’s starter – has gone at least five innings without allowing an earned run four times in 2017, including recording the first complete game of his career – a three-hit shutout to complete the sweep of NC State on April 23. He allowed just five base runners on the day and none advanced past first base. He struck out six, walked just two and all three hits were singles. He then threw five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk and striking out eight to tie a career high against Quinnipiac in the second game of a doubleheader, aiding in the Eagles’ third shutout of the season. He did not give up the hit through 4.2 innings. In five of his seven ACC starts this season, Rapp has 31 strikeouts, just nine walks and eight earned runs over 36.0 innings.
  • Freshman Brian Dempsey has logged at least one hit in 11 of the last 15 games played, including a career-long, six-game hit streak. In the last 15 games, he recorded a .368 batting average (14-for-38) with five runs and six RBIs.
  • Junior RHP Donovan Casey is tied for eighth on BC’s single-season save lists with five.  The two-way player earned his third win of the season by throwing the final 1.1 innings against Maine on May 16, allowing just two hits, no runs or walks and striking out the final batter of the game. He is third in the country with eight outfield assists. The Eagles rank third with 14 total.
  • BC’s 1.44 stolen bases per game are second in the ACC. The Eagles have stolen at least four bases in a game five times this season and they are five away from entering the school’s top-five record list, currently sitting at 69.

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