In a year filled with athletic disappointment, Boston College baseball could be a bright spot this year.
Despite early struggles, Coach Gambino’s Eagles have improved their record each of the past three seasons, last year finishing at .500 for the first time in his tenure. While this is a huge step for Gambino, don’t expect complacency.
This team is full of talent, both expected and unseen entering the season. Back in January, starter Mike King and closer Justin Dunn received much of the attention. Dunn was named to Baseball America’s Top 100 College Prospects list, and both Dunn and King show up on Perfect Game USA’s overall prospect rankings. However, thus far the Eagles pitching has been fueled by a strong supporting cast. Freshman Starter Jacob Stevens has been fantastic with a .53 ERA through six starts. Redshirt sophomore Bobby Skogsbergh has been equally impressive with a 1.72 ERA in ten appearances out of the bullpen.
Coupled with sub-3 ERAs from Dunn and King, the Eagles have two legitimate frontline starters, as well as two strong options in the pen. In fourteen contests, the Eagles have allowed three or less runs. However, the back-end of the rotation has struggled, as BC has also given up nine or more runs five different times. Consistency will continue to be an issue for BC pitching, but Gambino’s best arms can go toe to toe with any team in the conference.
The Eagle’s offense is led by versatile captain Joe Cronin. Cronin currently leads the Eagles in all three Triple Crown categories. Michael Strem and Logan Hoggarth join Cronin as the three Eagles currently hitting above .300. While this offense hasn’t been explosive as it has been in years past due to the lack of a true star, it is deep and balanced enough to pick up wins when paired with decent pitching.
BC currently sits at 14-10, and after weather disrupted three consecutive games, the Eagles are heading into a thrilling portion of their schedule. This weekend reigning national champions, the Virginia Cavaliers, come to Chestnut Hill, following that BC plays a single game at Harvard, the first round of the Beanpot, and then the team heads to South Bend to face off against the rival Irish.
The early success of the team couldn’t have been more advantageously timed. After historically bad football and basketball seasons, Boston College attempted to boost fan morale by announcing a new 200 million dollar facility plan, which includes a new baseball stadium. While many have called parts of the plan into question, the new baseball stadium is looking more and more like a necessity. It's bad having an ACC baseball team compete on a field that doubles as a tailgating parking lot and where the right foul pole is a parking garage, but doing so when that team is winning is even worse.
Gambino and company look primed for the first winning baseball season BC has seen since 2010. Coupled with a new stadium on the horizon, this is a program on the rise and fulfills something sorely needed at Boston College this year.