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Baseball Bats Heat Up in Florida

Captain Mike Hubbard and the BC Eagles have won eight-consecutive games

Captain Mike Hubbard and the BC Eagles have won eight-consecutive games

March 14, 2001

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - - Boston College collected eight wins in Florida - its first-ever sweep on the spring training trip - to improve to 9-5 on the season. The last time an Eagle squad had an eight-game win streak was 1977. The 2001 Eagles tied and surpassed the more recent seven-victory swing (1995) with a doubleheader win over LaSalle Sunday, March 11.

BC outscored its opponents 85-34, batting .361 over the eight days. Over half of the 19-batter traveling squad hit above .300, with six players registering averages over .400. In addition, six different batters powered game-winning RBIs. Offense wasn't the only weapon on the trip, eleven BC pitchers combined for a 3.90 ERA, limiting foes to a .255 batting average. The defense did not disappoint as well, turning nine double plays after totaling only three double plays in its first six games. Jeff Mackor threw out five of 10 would-be basestealers, highlighted by three in BC's 7-2 victory over LaSalle March 11.

Chris Rosado led all BC swingers, batting .467 with four doubles and one homer to drive in 16 runs. He was one of four Eagle players to have double-digit RBI totals in Florida Mike Hubbard, drove in 11 runs. No. 3 Joe Kealty and Brian Macchi each contributed 10 runs batted in, hitting .429 and .355, respectively. Kealty also posted five doubles and was issued eight free passes on the trip.

Junior Brian Durkin, who earned BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week March 12, hit 11-for-28 with four home runs and a triple in the eight-game stretch, good for an .893 slugging percentage. Sophomore transfer Ryan Leahy, who hit .211 prior to the southern swing, ballooned his average to .340 with his .419 performance over the eight days. Four of his thirteen hits went for doubles. Veterans Hubbard and Jarett Mendoza combined for nine stolen bases in nine attempts while hitting .343 and .353, respectively.

Both junior Paul Knapic and senior Chris Gannon earned two wins atop the mound. In his second-consecutive Florida outing, Gannon, BC's lone southpaw, retired seven batters on strikeouts. Knapic struck out 12 in 12.0 innings, allowing 10 hits and just four earned runs. Sophomore Matt Lederhos tallied a mere 1.50 ERA in 12.0 innings for a win and no decision. The right-hander had 11 strikeouts - three more than his 2000 total - in BC's 8-2 win over Buffalo.

The Eagles began their spring training trip per the usual exhibition game with the Red Sox in Fort Myers which saw them score an unprecedented five runs to fall 11-5. Captain Mike Hubbard went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to pace the Eagles, who matched the Sox with 11 hits. Hubbard tied the game at three in the second inning with a two-run single that blew just beyond the reach of former Eagle and current Red Sox minor-league second baseman, Mike Gambino. Gambino answered offensively by hitting a two-run triple off his alma mater as part of a four-run, sixth inning for the hosts. BC center fielder Jarett Mendoza was a perfect 2-for-2, and Jeff Mackor also collected a pair of hits. The game marked the first time in three years that BC did not hit a home run off the Red Sox.

Paul Knapic allowed only five hits in 7.0 innings, and Joe Kealty went 4-for-5 as BC defeated Michigan - for the first time - 8-2 March 3 in Lakeland, Fla. The two teams last met June 12, 1953 in a 6-2 decision at the College World Series. Michigan went on to win the national championship that year. Hubbard and Mendoza each contributed a pair of hits, including RBI singles.

Boston College opened the Homestead Challenge with 8-5 and 8-2 victories over Buffalo Tuesday March 6. In game one, BC scored six runs while Chris Gannon threw 4.0 hitless innings before the Bulls' five-run, fifth inning pulled them within one at 6-5. Joe Kealty hit a two-run double and totaled three RBIs in the game. Ryan Leahy went 2-for-3 with one run scored and two runs driven in. Junior right-hander Mark Sullivan pitched 1.2 innings to earn the save, relieving Chris Gannon, who posted his first win of the season.

Down 2-0 after 3.0 innings in the second game, the Eagles erupted with four runs in the fourth on the strength of Chris Rosado's RBI double and RBIs from Kealty and Mackor. Rosado hit three-fourths of a cycle, posting a single, double and home run for three RBIs and two runs scored. Matt Lederhos pitched a three-hitter, throwing 11 K's and allowing just one earned run in his fourth career start.

Eight of nine BC starters notched at least one hit while four batters had a multiple-hit outing to give BC the 12-6 victory over Yale and improve its record to 5-5. Senior pitcher Erik Olson allowed four runs - three earned - in 5.0 innings. He surrendered eight hits and struck out three. Both Brian Macchi and Jarett Mendoza drove in three runs. The Eagles' no. 1 (Ryan Leahy) and no. 4 (Chris Rosado) batters in the lineup each contributed three hits.

BC won its final four games at Boca Raton by a combined margin of 30 runs. The Eagles began with a 14-6 clipping of the Monmouth Hawks. Mike Hubbard went 3-for-4 with a grand slam in the second inning and sacrifice fly in the fourth to tally five RBIs on the day. Brian Macchi was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and both Chris Rosado and Jeff Mackor contributed a pair of hits to help BC's 15-hit cause. Jed Rogers finished the day with a career-high six strikeouts, surrendering four runs on five hits in 6.0 innings to register the win. Mike Gauthier earned his first save, posting a season-high five strikeouts in 3.0 innings.

Led by Chris Rosado's three-hit, six-RBI day, the Eagles posted a season-best 18 hits to defeat Wagner 17-7 Saturday March 10. Paul Knapic recorded his third win of the season, allowing four runs - three earned - on five hits in 5.0 innings. Ryan Leahy was 3-for-5 with three runs driven in.

BC had 25 hits on the day to defeat LaSalle 7-2 and 11-4 in a doubleheader Sunday March 11. Mark Sullivan pitched 2.0 innings of relief to post his first win of the season in BC's 7-2 decision. With the score tied at two in the eighth, Mackor walked to push across the game-winning run. The Eagles took the 6-2 lead as Durkin and Leahy connected on RBI singles, and Matt Duffey posted a sacrifice fly in that frame.

Durkin hit three-fourths of a cycle, including his fourth home run in eight days, to lead BC to the 11-4 victory in game two. The Explorers posted four runs in the third to take the 4-2 lead. BC then responded with five runs in the fourth inning when Chris Rosado had a two-run single, and Leahy and Hubbard each drove in runs to facilitate a 7-4 Eagle advantage. Gannon earned his second win of the trip, surrendering four runs on four hits.

The Eagles face Virginia Tech in a BIG EAST doubleheader March 17. Game time is noon.

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