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Birdball Kicks Off Season With 2-1 Series Win Over Santa Clara

Boston College baseball came out on top in their opening weekend, defeating the Santa Clara Broncos twice in a three-game series. After winning the first game on Friday night, the Eagles faced a tough loss on Saturday. However, the team was able to bounce back and secure the series win on Sunday.

On Friday night, the Eagles beat Santa Clara 5-1, for a 1-0 edge in the series. BC asserted its dominance early, scoring 4 runs in the first three innings then tacking on another in the sixth. Leadoff batter Jake Palomaki dominated the offense, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs and a home run. 

On defense, Jacob Stevens tossed five scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and striking out eight. In their first outing outside the bubble, the Eagles showed that practicing indoors would not deter their strength.

“I thought we had a really great start to the game,” Stevens said. “Bats came out strong and we put together some quality at-bats. It makes it a lot easier to get out there and really attack the hitters… it was nice to get outside and finally play something outside the bubble.”

After a forceful showing on Friday night, the Eagles fell to the Broncos 20-9 on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles held a three-run leading going into the seventh inning, when the wheels fell off the wagon.

Four pitchers, three home runs, and seven hit batters later, Santa Clara had scored 14 runs in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Brodt of Santa Clara hit two grand slams in the inning, adding to the carnage of BC's pitching staff.

A little glimmer of hope came from sophomore Dante Baldelli, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs, and Jake Palomaki continued his offensive dominance, notching three hits with three RBIs and two runs.

“The team got exactly what it deserved today,” said Head Coach Mike Gambino. “For a pitching staff that I think had the chance to be very good, and the bullpen especially, I think they got a little ahead of themselves and things didn’t go well… you hit ten guys, and you walk eleven, and you got a guy like Jake Brodt in the middle of the order like they have, they’re gonna make you pay.”

After a tough Saturday, the Eagles recovered on Sunday afternoon, beating the Broncos 3-1 and taking the series win. In contrast to Saturday’s pitching performance, senior Brian Rapp threw six hitless innings, with ten strikeouts and two walks (including one hit by pitch). The pitching staff held Santa Clara to only one run, displaying much more control on the mound than the night before.

Head coach Mike Gambino did not seem worried after Saturday’s game, explaining that the game was humbling for the team and that their character in the game Sunday mattered more, which the team was able to prove.

“I think this team and this staff, again, have the chance to be very good this year,” expressed Coach Gambino. “But this game will humble you and I think when you get a little bit ahead of yourself, and think you’re a little bit better than you are, and stop worrying about just executing, then this game will teach you those lessons real fast.”

Up next, the Eagles take on the Red Sox in a spring training exhibition game on Thursday in Fort Meyers, Florida at 3 p.m.

Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.

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