Photo courtesy of BC Birdball / Twitter

Birdball Takes Two Over No. 11 Duke

The Boston College baseball team continued its hot start to the season this weekend by winning two out of three in its series against the then-ranked No. 11 Duke Blue Devils. The Eagles won 10-6 on Friday, lost 10-3 on Saturday, and won the deciding game 5-2 on Sunday.

With these conference wins, the Eagles improved to 5-1 on the season, and entered the NCAA rankings for the first time since 2016.

The first game was a slugfest between the two teams, with a combined total of 29 hits amassed over nine innings. 

Duke got out to a strong start with two runs in the bottom of the first, but the Eagles immediately responded with two runs of their own in the next half of the inning, courtesy of a Ramon Jimenez double and a Dante Baldelli single. 

This pattern continued over the next few innings, and the eighth inning started with the Eagles down 6-5. However, an offensive barrage over the next two innings, combined with some timely clutch pitching, helped the Eagles win the game 10-6. 

Jack Cunningham doubled to left field to tie the game at six, Luke Gold had a two-RBI double in the eighth to put the Eagles ahead, and Cody Morissette and Sal Frelick scored on a fielding error in the ninth to close the game out. Max Gieg got the win after pitching scoreless eighth and ninth innings.

The second game didn’t go quite as well for the Eagles, as Duke once again jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, although this time it was a lead they would not relinquish. 

The Eagles were unable to get much going offensively, scoring just three times in isolated innings over the course of the game. 

Aside from the production from Galland, Frelick, and Cunningham, the rest of the Eagles were able to tally just one hit and zero RBIs. One of Galland’s hits came in the form of a home run, which was his first of the season. 

Saturday’s 10-3 loss was the Eagle’s first loss of the season.

In the deciding game on Sunday, the Eagles were able to overcome their game two hiccup and get the series win against an ACC rival. 

Emmet Sheehan pitched a fantastic game, pitching six innings of two-run ball, allowing just six hits and striking out nine. Sheehan was followed up with an equally impressive performance by recent-transfer Alex Stiegler, who pitched three scoreless innings in which he struck out five batters. With this level of pitching, not too much offensive support was needed to get the win. 

The Eagles nevertheless had a solid day at the plate thanks to two two-run home runs. One came from Luke Gold in the fourth, and another from Sal Frelick in the seventh to squander any hopes Duke had of mounting a comeback. 

With a fielder's choice RBI from Peter Burns earlier in the second, the Eagles were able to close out the series in Durham with a solid 5-2 win. 

Following up their series sweep of Charleston Southern with two wins against a nationally-ranked Duke team was enough to propel the Eagles into the national rankings. The NCAA puts them firmly at No. 22, right behind Florida Atlantic, and Baseball America has them at No. 18. 

To add even more optimism to BC’s start, the lone loss of the season came after a rare rough outing from staff ace Mason Pelio. It is a great start to the season for the Eagles and they will look to continue their hot start this Friday. 

The Eagles will return to North Carolina to play the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest for games March 5-7, hoping to capture some more ACC wins and push for a postseason berth. 

Be sure to follow @BCGavelSports for all of the latest updates on Boston College athletics.

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