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Pitching Leads Baseball Past Massachusetts, 5-4

April 16, 2008

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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Boston College (19-18) received a strong outing from freshman starting pitcher John Leonard and relievers Chris Kowalski and Michael Belfiore to defeat Massachusetts (11-15), 5-4, on Wednesday afternoon at Commander Shea Field.

Leonard (3-0) worked 6.2 innings and allowed no earned runs with four strikeouts to earn the win. Kowalski pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, while Belfiore tossed the final frame to earn his fifth save of the season. The three pitchers combine to allow no earned runs and walk only one batter.

Harry Darling led the Eagles offense with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. The senior also scored a run and hit a double. Mickey Wiswall added a two-run triple, and Garret Smith chipped in with a single and two RBIs in the victory.

BC totaled four runs off five hits in the bottom of the third of UMass right-hander Jared Freni (0-3) to break open a scoreless tie. Darling started the rally with a double down the left-field line. He would move up to third on a base hit to center field by Barry Butera. On the play, Butera tried to advance to second, but was caught in a run down for the first out. First baseman Belfiore knocked in Darling on a base hit to right field to notch the first run of the game. After a walk to Eric Campbell, Wiswall laced a two-run triple to right field. Wiswall would later score on a single to left field Garret Smith to push the Eagles' lead to four runs.

The Eagles pushed across a run in the bottom of the fifth, which proved to be the difference. Belfiore started the inning by drawing a walk against UMass reliever Nathan Monroy. BC loaded the bases on a single from Campbell and intentional walk to Wiswall. Smith hit a sac fly to right to plate Belfiore to give BC the 5-0 advantage.

Leonard cruised through the first six innings, allowing only six hits. After he recorded two outs in the seventh the freshman ran into trouble. Andy Tuetken reached first on an error to prolong the inning. The Minutemen collected three consecutive hits off Leonard before he was replaced by reliever Chris Kowalski. UMass collected two more hits off the sophomore right-hander and added another run to give them four in the inning to make the score, 5-4. Kowalski was able to retire Mike Donato on a ground out and keep the lead intact.

In the ninth, Belfiore retired the first two batters by way of a pop up and strikeout. Ryan Franczek kept the inning alive for the Minutemen with an infield single. Adam Tempesta drew a walk to put two runners on with two outs. Belfiore was able to strikeout cleanup hitter Jim MacDonald to earn the save and the win for the Eagles, 5-4.

BC travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to play the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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