Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston College Eagles baseball split the first two games of its three-game ACC set against the Pittsburgh Panthers this weekend.
Victory on Friday extended their win streak at the time to a season-high six games in a row, but Saturday’s defeat snapped it.
Between the two games, Birdball stands at 20-28 (9-17) on the season.
Friday’s game was of the dramatic variety, with the Eagles walking off with victory. It was not until the fourth inning that either team got on the board, when Tom Bourdon’s sac fly to center game Boston College a 1-0 lead. Pittsburgh, who were no-hit into the eighth inning, then stunned Birdball with two runs in the top of the eighth to go ahead, 2-1. John Gorman was only four outs away at the time the Panthers broke through, losing the no-hitter and the lead in a flash.
Gorman did not ultimately get a decision in the game, but that was because his teammates picked him up in the bottom of the ninth. There is an old baseball truism about a leadoff walk always invariably coming back to bite the other team, not to mention when it’s the #9 hitter. Boston College drew that walk; that run did not score, but it started a rally where Joe Cronin would tie it on an RBI single and Chris Shaw would win it on one of his own.
Saturday was less heartwarming for the home team. Pittsburgh took the lead immediately with two runs in the top of the first (on no hits); two Panthers runs scored on a fielder’s choice play which also included a throwing error.
The Eagles clawed back and took a 3-2 lead, highlighted by several RBI singles. Eventually, Pittsburgh would retie and go back on top, and Boston College tied again at 4-4. The Panthers broke the tie for good in the top of the seventh, manufacturing a run that started with a leadoff hit-by-pitch. Ironically, that same player, AJ Lardo, was hit by a pitch in the first inning and scored a run. He would come home on a Steven Shelinsky Jr. sac fly and Pittsburgh took a 5-4 lead, and so the score would remain. Boston College went down in order in each of their last three innings.
In terms of the 2014 ACC Tournament picture, Pittsburgh is the tenth and final team presently on-track to be in the field. The Eagles are 2.5 games behind the Panthers with four to play, not to mention two teams to jump (NC State sits in between them in the standings). Should Boston College lose on Sunday, they will be 3.5 games out with three ACC games left — in other words, they would be mathematically eliminated.
The must-win rubber game between the Eagles and Panthers is today at noon in Chestnut Hill.