There are several NCAA Tournaments going on right now, and in one of them, making the “Sweet 16″ is a major event. Most of us remember the last time Boston College got there in basketball in 2006, though the Villanova ending still angries up the blood of those who watched. In 2013, the Boston College baseball Eagles are heading at warp speed for a very Bitter 16.
That would be sixteen losses in a row. If the Eagles fall in Storrs to UConn this afternoon, that’s what they’ll have. “Birdball” is currently 3-22 (0-11), having gone almost a month since their last win. Even if they snap this losing streak soon, unless something changes drastically, Boston College is on course for their worst season in program history. Modern college baseball has seen schedules expand dramatically — BC had its first 30-game season in 1985 — but as far as win percentage goes, 2013 could take the “prize” anyway.
BC’s record for losses in a season is 33, set each of the last two years, and they’re well on their way to carving out a new low mark. A dramatic turn of events would be required to spare them from such a fate, but even if that’s out of their hands now, they can stave off the inevitable with a win against Connecticut.
It must be extremely difficult for the players to go about their business having a disappointment like a massive losing streak haunting them. Much like when individual hitters get into slumps, it can become a psychological thing: “Are we ever going to win again?” Sometimes, all it takes to snap out of it is stealing a game on a couple of lucky breaks and building momentum from there.
On the road against UConn, the Eagles might need some luck. The Huskies are 15-9 and hit about 70 points higher as a team than BC. The Eagles are collectively coming in at around the Mendoza Line at .202 while pitching to a nightmarish team ERA of 7.17. For UConn, their pitchers allow only 2.81 earned runs per game. Finally, in terms of season-long run differentials, the chasm between these teams is sharp: UConn is +43 (134/91) while Boston College is an eye-popping -116 (66/182) through only 25 games.
For those rooting for the Eagles, this may be a case of expecting the worst but hoping for the best, as it has unfortunately been most days this year. Win or lose in Storrs, one thing is clear: this program has been declining for the last several years and now resides in its roughest spot, perhaps ever. Someday, things will go their way again, but whether or not that’s today is a very good question.