A long day of baseball took place at Harrington Village on Saturday. When it was all said and done, the Duke Blue Devils (27-17, 12-11 in ACC play) got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to win a twin-bill from the Boston College Eagles (22-24, 8-16) by scores of 4-1 in game one, 8-0 in game two. By sweeping the doubleheader, the Blue Devils leave Boston with a road series win.
The Eagles, had chances in both games. They would leave 18 runners on base combined for the two games. The Eagles were zero for fifteen with runners in scoring position. Something that Eagles head coach Mike Gambino attributed to players “not being relaxed in those situations”. Game one would be an example of this. Boston College had a bases-loaded opportunity in the second and could not score. Then they had first and second with one out in the seventh and suffered the same result. Those squandered opportunities would come back to haunt the team.
Game one can also be described as being lost by one bad inning in the field. For Boston College, it was the first. Freshman RHP Mason Pelio (4-3) got the ball for the first game. He was good, going six-plus innings, four hits, four runs, only one earned, four punch outs, and three walks. But in the very first frame, his infield defense let him down. Three errors by third baseman Jake Alu, second baseman Cody Morissette, and first baseman Jack Cunningham led to the Blue Devils putting a three-spot on the board. Coach Gambino called the miscues “tough plays, but ones that could be made”. Pelio would respond by retiring thirteen in a row and sixteen of the last seventeen men he faced before leaving the game with one out in the seventh.
His counterpart, Bill Chillari walked a tight rope through his four and a third inning of pitching. He only gave up three hits but did walk four while striking out two. His best work came in the second. The Eagles loaded the bases on two walks sandwiched around a base hit by Morissette. Chillari reached back and found a little extra as he got Peter Burns to foul out to first, Chris Galland to strike out, and Alu to ground out to first to end the inning,
Boston College would get on the scoreboard in the sixth on a leadoff home run to dead center field by Cunningham, his eighth of the season, off of Blue Devil relief pitcher Jack Carey (3-0) to make it a 3-1 game after sixth. But Duke would chase Pelio in the seventh loading the bases themselves and getting a sac fly from Matt Mervis off Eagles reliever Thomas Lane, to get the three-run lead back at 4-1. Thomas Girard shut the door on the Eagles with two scoreless innings of relief to pick up his seventh save of the year.
Game two did not get any better for the Eagles. Finding that third starter has been a season-long search for Boston College. John Witkowski was given his shot at claiming that role. He would go two prefect frames allowing three hits facing nine batters total. His bullpen mates struggled. They would plate two runs off of the first man out of the pen Joey Walsh. (3-6) An RBI single by Erikson Nichols scored Ethan Murray to put Duke on the board one to nothing after four. In the fifth, they struck again with the help of Walsh, who balked home a run. Two nothing Blue Devils.
They would bust open the game with three runs in the sixth off of Sean Hughes and in the eighth inning off of Matt Gill. Meanwhile, Duke starter Cooper Stinson, went the first four shutout innings giving up only three hits. He did put people on base by walking four, however, he did strike out six. The win went to Bryce Jarvis who went the next three innings allowing two hits, walking two and getting three K’s. Jarvis is now 3-0.
Coach Gambino, still believes his team has its fate in their hands with regards to the ACC tournament in May. They have two league series left. One is on the road at Virginia Tech, then they close out the season at home vs Notre Dame. They will also have mid-week games like the ones this week at Rhode Island on Tuesday, then home to Harvard on Wednesday.