With spring right around the corner, sunshine and warm weather is far from the only thing Boston College fans have to look forward to. Barring a miracle, basketball looks like they will be watching the madness from home once again in March, but BC baseball will be back in action following their most successful campaign since 2016.
The Eagles struggled at times against a grueling ACC schedule in 2019, but found their winning stride late in the season to finish above .500 at 31-27 overall. Another imposing schedule awaits in 2020, but BC should be confident following their run through the first two rounds of the ACC tournament last year, which featured a stunning upset over the #7 Louisville Cardinals.
BC pulled off a handful of signature wins late in the 2019 season, stealing games off several ranked opponents in NC State, Georgia Tech, and Duke, and nearly sweeping their rivals from Notre Dame. With a solid core returning, there is no reason why the Eagles shouldn’t at least repeat last season’s success and dig themselves out of a last-place finish in the ACC Atlantic.
This season’s significance goes far beyond success on the diamond, however, as it comes just a few months after the death of legendary ALS activist and Boston College baseball player Pete Frates (‘07), who succumbed to the disease at age 34 after a 7-year battle on December 9, 2019.
The Eagles’ uniforms will honor the former captain’s legacy this upcoming season with a black “PF3” patch on the upper left chest, and his memory and impact will soon extend to the team’s athletic facilities upon the expected opening of the Pete Frates Center at the Harrington Athletics Village this summer.
Jake Alu (3B) - Alu was a phenomenal all-around player during his time on the Heights, appearing in all 58 games last year. He was a reliable glove at the hot corner in 2019, but his biggest contribution came offensively, leading the Eagles with 51 runs and 81 hits. Beyond the stat sheet, Alu will be sorely missed in the clubhouse as a leader, and some growing pains are definitely going to be expected at third in his absence.
Dan Metzdorf (SP) - The lefty broke out in his senior season to the tune of an 8-2 record, 2.30 ERA, and All-ACC First Team selection. The Eagles’ unquestioned ace last season, Metzdorf put the cherry on top of his college career in his final game, a masterful 3 hit, no earned run complete game victory over Louisville in the ACC quarterfinals.
Thomas Lane (RP) - Although inconsistent at times in his final season at BC, Lane was Head Coach Mike Gambino’s go-to reliever over the past two seasons. His 41 innings pitched in 2019 will be a chore to replace, but if anyone is up for the challenge, it’s his younger brother Travis who led the Eagles’ bullpen with a 3.90 ERA as a freshman.
Gian Martellini (C) - Martellini was a rock behind the plate for the Eagles in 2019 and made great strides as a hitter with a career-high .305 BA last year. He put up impressive power numbers at BC with 14 career home runs, and his defensive consistency and veteran presence will certainly be missed.
Cody Morrissette (2B) - Morissette broke out as a star for the Eagles as a freshman and brought home plenty of hardware to show for it, earning recognition as a member of the All-ACC Second Team, All-ACC Freshman Team, and Baseball America Freshman All-American Team. He led BC with 41 RBI, batted .320, and was tied for second on the team with 4 home runs. If Morrissette can clean up after committing 14 errors in his debut season, plenty of more awards should be coming his way.
Sal Frelick (OF) - Another freshman who took home All-ACC Second Team, All-ACC Freshman Team, and Freshman All-American honors in 2019, Frelick looks to bounce back from an injury-shortened freshman campaign that saw him put up superstar numbers in only 39 appearances. The phenom led BC just about every major stat last season, driving in 4 home runs on a staggering .367 BA and .960 OPS, all while stealing 18 bases for good measure. The sky's the limit for Frelick who should put the ACC on notice in his sophomore campaign if healthy.
Mason Pelio (SP) - Yet another player to earn All-ACC Freshman and Freshman All-American honors last season, Pelio is the final member of BC’s three-headed monster of sophomores and will take over as the leader of the rotation. Metzdorf leaves massive shoes to fill for the athletic right-hander, but Pelio has all the tools to fill them after posting an impressive 3.63 ERA and 1.18 WHIP against some of the toughest competition in the nation.
Series to Watch:
Louisville and Florida State, ranked #2 and #12 by Baseball America, are the big names coming to town on March 27-29 and April 3-5 respectively, but the arguably most important series for Boston College in 2020 is the final one with Wake Forest at home from May 14-16. The Demon Deacons were a middling ACC team with BC in 2019, but are pegged at #20 nationally by the publication with plenty of talent returning. The Eagles were beaten handily by Wake in 2 out of 3 games last year on the road, and will be gunning for revenge in the last weekend of the regular season that could have major implications on ACC tournament seeding.
Behind the trio of uber-talented sophomores, Boston College could potentially be one step closer to their first College World Series Appearance since 2016 with victory in the series.