The Boston College baseball team dropped three close games on the road this weekend to the No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels, falling to 19-22 on the season. While the Eagles came out on the losing end of every contest, their bats were active throughout the weekend, keeping each game close.
The teams were forced to play a doubleheader on Saturday after rain forced Friday’s game to be postponed. In the first game, the BC defensive group struggled to take advantage of starting pitcher Dan Metzdorf’s solid outing. Metzdorf pitched 6.1 innings, and despite allowing just four hits, gave up six runs (three earned) largely due to an error-filled day in the field. The Eagles committed five errors in the first game of the doubleheader, giving the Tar Heels a multitude of scoring opportunities.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the first game with an RBI single by Brian Dempsey, giving them a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Tar Heels would tie the game in the bottom of the first, but the BC bats remained hot in the second behind RBI from Jake Alu, Sal Frelick, and Jack Cunningham. However, the Tar Heels would answer quickly, with five unanswered runs to take a 6-4 lead.
Cunningham would reclaim the lead for Boston College in the top of the ninth, launching a three-run shot to right field to put the pressure back on North Carolina. With a chance to start the weekend with a win, the Eagles gave up a sacrifice fly, sending the contest to extra innings. After two scoreless innings, North Carolina seized a victory in dramatic fashion, winning 8-7 on a walk-off single in the eleventh inning. Joey Walsh was credited with the loss, dropping him to 2-5 on the season.
Game two of Saturday’s doubleheader was much of the same, with North Carolina winning on another eleventh inning walk-off in a high-scoring affair. Freshman pitcher Mason Pelio started for the Eagles in game two, but struggled mightily and was chased out of the contest after a six-run third inning for North Carolina.
More errors from the fielding unit loaded the bases, and Pelio allowed six runs on just two hits, one of which was a grand slam. This gave the Tar Heels a 6-1 lead after three innings, with the lone BC run coming off of an RBI single by Gian Martellini. North Carolina’s lead would grow to 7-1—its largest of the afternoon—before BC responded.
The Eagles hit back-to-back home runs to reduce the deficit to 7-3, but North Carolina would answer to make it 8-3. A four-run seventh inning would bring the Eagles back within striking distance, trimming the deficit to 8-7. Cunningham kicked off the inning with a leadoff home run, while Dante Baldelli and Frelick each knocked in RBI singles.
North Carolina responded in the bottom of the seventh, scoring on two errors, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch to expand the lead to 10-7. The Eagles would return the favor in the top of the eighth, scoring on an error to reduce the UNC lead to two runs. A two-run ninth inning enabled the Eagles to tie the game at ten runs apiece, forcing extra innings for the second time that day. Once again, an eleventh inning walk-off would clinch an 11-10 UNC victory, with an RBI double sealing the Eagles’ fate.
Boston College looked to rebound on Sunday and salvage a 2-1 split of the weekend series, but another strong offensive effort from North Carolina would complete the series sweep. The Eagles turned to Matt Gill as their starting pitcher for Sunday’s game. After the Tar Heels jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, the Eagles’ offensive attack exploded for six unanswered runs behind RBI base hits by Cunningham, Martellini, and Cody Morissette.
Things would only go downhill from there for Boston College, as the Tar Heels answered with a 14-run explosion. A fantastic foul-ball catch by Frelick was perhaps the only other noteworthy play for the Eagles, coming in at No. 4 on SportsCenter’s Top Plays. UNC added two runs in the fifth to trim the BC lead to 6-4 before a 12-run sixth inning to give the Tar Heels a 16-6 lead that they would not relinquish.
BC would add two runs in the eighth to make the final score 16-8, but UNC would ultimately end the weekend with a clean sweep of the Eagles. BC fell to 19-22 on the season (7-14 ACC) with just 13 regular season games remaining. The team hopes to rebound and get back above .500 with games against UMass Lowell and Bryant, followed by a weekend series at home against Duke.
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