CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The Boston College baseball team travels to College Park this weekend for a three-game ACC Atlantic Division series against Maryland beginning Friday night.
The Eagles and the Terrapins will open the weekend with a 7 p.m. game Friday night. Game two of the series is 3 p.m. on Saturday and the series concludes with a noon game Sunday.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCH UPS (BC listed first)
Friday: LHP Andrew Lawrence (0-0, 1.69) vs. RHP Sander Beck (0-2, 4.03)
Saturday: LHP Nate Bayuk (2-1, 4.58) vs. RHP David Carroll (3-1, 3.28)
Sunday: RHP John Leonard (2-1, 3.08) vs. LHP Eric Potter (2-1, 2.84)
WEEKEND WEATHER FORECAST
Friday: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 49.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 55.
WAYS TO FOLLOW
Boston College Twitter: BCSportsNews
BC TRAVELS TO MARYLAND FOR THREE
The Boston College baseball team travels to ACC Atlantic foe Maryland for a three-game series beginning Friday night at Shipley Field at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium.
BC was swept by No. 4 Florida State last weekend but two of the games were lost by two runs or less.
Maryland lost all three games in its ACC opening series at No. 21 Georgia Tech. The Terrapins scored five runs in the series.
The Eagles have won all five series against Maryland since their first year in the ACC in 2006, including a three-game sweep in 2008.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
Boston College might be 6-8, but it has faced the second toughest schedule in the country, according to Boyd's World.
The Eagles had a pair of three-game series at No. 1 Florida and No. 4 Florida State and played the season opener at No. 23 Coastal Carolina.
BC lost to the Chanticleers and dropped the series finale against the Seminoles with walk-offs.
Its lone loss against an unranked team came at UCF March 9 - but the Knights were receiving votes in multiple polls.
Every game BC has played so far has been on the road.
Stanford is listed as having played the most difficult schedule. It has played away series at No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 5 Texas and No. 24 Rice.
EAGLES LOSE TIGHT GAMES AT #4 FSU
Boston College was swept by No. 4 Florida State last weekend, but two of the games were decided by two runs or less.
The Eagles opened with a 3-1 loss when facing Sean Gilmartin. Junior OF Andrew Lawrence hit a solo homer in the second before the Seminoles scored three times in the fifth.
In the series finale, BC held a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Florida State, which had one hit to that point, broke through with three runs to tie the game.
BC had men on second and third with one out in the top of the ninth but couldn't convert and FSU turned that momentum into a walk-off win on a sac fly.
Florida State won the second game of the series, 15-6.
BC holds a 17-8 advantage in runs in the fifth inning, but has given up 12 runs in the ninth and only scored one.
The Eagles have scored eight times in the fifth inning out of 14 games. They scored five against Bethune-Cookman March 4 in a 13-12 win.
On the other hand, the ninth inning has been a trouble spot but mainly from two games. BC nearly blew a 12-5 lead against Bethune-Cookman in that 13-12 win. The Wildcats scored seven times that frame and left the tying run at third.
Four other runs came in the season opener at No. 23 Costal Carolina. Leading 6-5 in the ninth, BC lost on a three-run walk-off homer.
The Eagles also gave up a walk-off win last Sunday when Florida State scored on a sac fly in the bottom of the ninth.
THE TRAVELS OF A NEW ENGLAND TEAM
BC will travel nearly 10,240 miles before playing its first home game on March 25.
Boston College opened the season at the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sandwiched in between the series with the No. 1 Florida Gators was the annual exhibition with the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers February 26.
The Eagles returned to campus before heading to Daytona Beach for the spring break trip. They played in Daytona Beach and Orlando before packing up for the weekend at No. 4 Florida State.
A non-conference game at Bryant was postponed before traveling to College Park this weekend.
BC then makes the short trip to Holy Cross in Worcester before hosting Virginia Tech March 25.
A NEW DIRECTION
The maroon and gold is led by new head coach Mike Gambino, a 2000 graduate of Boston College.
Gambino came from Virginia Tech where he was the assistant coach/recruiting coordinator under former Eagles head coach Pete Hughes.
With Gambino's help, the 2010 Hokies made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and finished the season ranked No. 20 in the country.
Gambino and the rest of the Hokies' coaching staff produced 14 draft picks from 2007-10 and had a program record eight players selected in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Virginia Tech had just seven players drafted from 2000-06 before Gambino's arrival.
ONE OF THE BEST IN THE FIELD
Boston College doesn't give up many runs in the field as it led the ACC and finished third in the country with a .979 fielding percentage in 2010. Only No. 6 Texas and Creighton were better with .980 fielding percentages.
The Eagles also turned 65 double plays which led the ACC and ranked 15th in the country.
BC has made 13 errors so far this season which gives them a .975 fielding percentage. That ranks sixth in the conference. Its 13 errors are tied for the fourth fewest going into the weekend.
BC has committed 11 errors in the last eight games.
The Eagles have turned 17 double plays which ranks third in the ACC.
The Eagles went deep a total of 70 times last season which was the second-most home runs in program history.
BC surpassed the 2009 number of 58 round-trippers.
The school record for home runs in a season is 77 set back in 1999.
Sean McGowan, BC's all-time home run leader, had 25 that season.
Mickey Wiswall led the team with 19 home runs and John Spatola had 17 blasts.
Junior 3B Anthony Melchionda and sophomore C Matt Watson had seven homers and senior 1B/OF Mike Sudol had six.
Boston College has three home runs through the first 14 games and one was an inside-the-parker.
BC had 152 RBI with two outs last season and John Spatola led the team with 28.
A total of 43 percent of the RBI that BC recorded came with two outs.
Junior 3B Anthony Melchionda led all returning players with 18 two-out RBI while C Matt Watson plated 17 runs in that situation.
In the Eagles' 11-5 win at FIU on March 9, all of the runs crossed the plate with two outs.
Thirty-seven of the 70 RBIs that BC has recorded this season have come with two outs.
Junior INF Anthony Melchionda leads the team with seven two-out RBIs while senior C/INF/RHP Garret Smith has six.
MELCHIONDA BREAKS OUT
Junior INF Anthony Melchionda went on a tear from February 27 to March 8.
He batted .455 over the five games with two doubles, two triples and 11 RBI. BC went 4-1 in that stretch
Melchionda had a hit and an RBI in each of those games.
He was 7-for-10 with runners in scoring position during the span, 3-for-4 with with runners on third and less than two outs and 3-for-4 with two outs in the inning.
He also improved his batting average from .158 on February 27 to .333.
Melchionda is leading the Eagles with 17 RBI.
PERDIOS HEATING UP
Junior OF Marc Perdios has been heating up at the plate and has a hit in seven of the last eight games he has played.
He is 10 for his last 29 in those games with a double and two RBIs.
The local product out of Milton is leading the everyday starters by batting .345 since February 27.
BOURDON STARTS HOT
Freshman OF Tom Bourdon has been the everyday starter in center field for the Eagles.
The Red Sox drafted him in the 38th round (1,163 overall) of the First-Year Player Draft last June.
He has started 13 games in center field and is leading the everyday starters with a .333 batting average and is second with a .467 slugging percentage.
He hit an inside-the-park home run against Bethune-Cookman March 4 after the center fielder misjudged the ball.
Bourdon's older brother, Mike, was also drafted by the Sox out of high school in 2007. He is now a senior catcher at the University of Tampa.
Tom Bourdon was the first player in Northwest Catholic history to be named to the All-Central Conn. Conference team all four years in high school.
He was a two-time all-state selection and the only Connecticut player named to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-Region 1 team.
The top two returning starter pitchers for the Eagles have plenty of experience, even if their numbers haven't been the best in the past.
The duo did well in the Cape Cod Baseball League last summer as senior RHP John Leonard went 3-3 with a 1.96 ERA. He struck out 33 while walking 11 in 36.2 innings of work.
Leonard has 28 career starts with a 9-9 record and a 6.11 ERA. He came back to the The Heights after being drafted in the 36th round by the San Francisco Giants.
This year, he is 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA. He has thrown 26.1 innings and allowed nine runs on 22 hits.
Junior RHP Mike Dennhardt is 10-11 in 28 starts with a 6.22 ERA at BC.
Dennhardt was 2-3 with a 1.80 ERA, fanning 38 and walking 12 in 45.0 innings in the Cape Cod League over the summer.
He is 1-2 with a 5.89 ERA so far this year. He has allowed 12 earned runs in 18.1 innings of work.
LEONARD vs. THE NOLES
John Leonard arguably had the best start of his career last Sunday at No. 4 Florida State.
The Hanover, Mass. product was masterful on the mound through the first six innings.
He faced the minimum number of batters through 3.2 innings and just two over the minimum through the six.
Leonard allowed one hit in the first six frames and nobody reached second base.
The Seminoles broke through with three runs in the bottom of the seventh en route to a 4-3 walk-off win. Leonard did not figure in the decision.
LAWRENCE STEPS UP
Junior OF Andrew Lawrence has started 11 games in the outfield, but now he has added pitching to his repertoire.
The coaching staff has used the left-hander in three games and he is sporting a 1.69 ERA. Lawrence has thrown 5.1 innings and allowed one run on two hits.
He threw 3.0 innings in the loss at UCF and stopped the bleeding. He allowed one base runner - a walk - and struck out two.
The last time he pitched before this season was as a senior in high school in the state semifinals in 2007.
Lawrence is second among the everyday field starters with a .294 batting average. He is also second on the team in doubles (3) and is one of three players to hit a home run.
BAYUK MAKES TRANSITION
Senior LHP Nate Bayuk became Boston College's top choice out of the bullpen the last two seasons, but now he is starting games.
With the loss of junior RHP Taylor Lasko to Tommy John surgery, the Eagles needed a replacement for his spot.
Bayuk has made 43 career appearances out of the bullpen and made his first start against Indiana February 19.
Bayuk earned his first career win against the Hoosiers, allowing one run on five hits in 5.0 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
He tossed 7.0 shutout innings against SIU Edwardsville en route to a 15-0 win.
He has a career 3.86 ERA in 37.1 innings of work.
In 2009, he was used primary as a left-handed specialist. Last season, he was used more often before an injury cut his season short.
Head Coach Mike Gambino boasts that junior SS Brad Zapenas is one of the best defensive shortstops in the country.
Zapenas has been the everyday starter at short since arriving on campus and has started 115 games.
He made 11 errors as a freshman in 2009 but nearly cut that number in half last season, committing just six errors in 58 games.
"Zapenas has to be in the conversation as one of the top defensive shortstops in the country," Gambino said prior to the season.
He also hit .318 in 2010 with six doubles and 14 RBI.
But he really heated up at the end of the season.
He batted .417 in the last 14 games and had a hit in 15 of the last 17 outings.
Zapenas' batting average jumped from .277 on April 27 to .318 at season's end.
Zapenas was a Northwoods League all-star over the summer and was honored with the 2010 Rawlings Finest in the Field Award.
So far this season, Zapenas has made four errors. He is batting .283 with five doubles, a triple and eight RBIs.
Freshman RHP Eric Stevens has impressed so far in his collegiate career.
He has made five appearances with two starts and is sporting a 3.77 ERA. He has thrown 14.1 innings and allowed six earned runs on 14 hits with 11 walks and 12 strikeouts.
He started at No. 1 Florida and tossed 5.0 innings in that game. He allowed two runs on seven hits but did not get a decision.
Stevens also pitched 2.0 innings of relief against Indiana and surrendered a hit.
He earned his first collegiate win against Bethune-Cookman March 8. He gave up one hit and struck out seven Wildcats in 4.0 innings on a limited pitch count.
SMITH IS ULTIMATE UTILITY PLAYER
Senior C/INF Garret Smith started at shortstop in high school and was the starting shortstop in 2009 for BC, but now he is the starting catcher.
Smith had never caught a game in his life entering the 2010 season but offered to make the switch to the coaching staff to help replace the loss of All-American Tony Sanchez.
He is a career .268 hitter and has started 144 games since he arrived on campus in 2008.
He also pitched some relief for BC and is one of the best pure baseball players out there.
"I think Garret Smith is going to have a big offensive year," Gambino said. "As far as pure baseball players, I will put him with anybody in the country. He can play anywhere on the field and legitimately play shortstop in the ACC as well as the other infield positions. He is one of the top catchers in the league and if he was a full-time pitcher, I wouldn't be surprised if he was one of the top bullpen guys in the ACC. That kid is unbelievable."
Smith has six starts at first base, four behind the plate and three at third base.
He has also earned the spot as the closer on the pitching staff and has picked up the save in BC's wins against Michigan State and Bethune-Cookman. He allowed a combined two base runners in those outings.
Senior 2B Matt Hamlet entered the season as the reigning NCAA champion in sac bunts.
He and Florida Atlantic's Mike Albaladejo tied for the best in the country with 20 sacrifices.
Don't expect that to happen again this season, though. With a new coaching staff comes a new philosophy on scoring runs.
"The analogy I always use is that sacrifice bunting is like CPR if you're a lifeguard," Gambino said. "You need to be really, really good at it and hope you never use it. I don't want to give up outs. Outs are precious. They're hard to come by and when you are on defense they are hard to get so I don't want to give them up."
BC has only sacrifice bunted three times this season.
WHEN ALLOWING FIVE RUNS OR LESS
BC was 21-4 when allowing five runs or less during the 2010 season.
All four of those losses came in ACC action with one coming against Virginia, Duke, Maryland and Virginia Tech.
That is an improvement from the 2009 season when the Eagles were 21-12.
The Eagles are off to a 5-3 start when allowing five runs or less in 2011. No. 1 Florida won in a shutout, 4-0, and No. 4 Florida State took a pair of those games last weekend.
Boston College is 1-5 when allowing more than five runs this season.
BC has some big shoes to fill offensively with the loss of three of its top hitters.
Robbie Anston, John Spatola and Mickey Wiswall were all drafted and were an integral part of the lineup.
Anston was the leadoff hitter and batted .324 with 21 doubles, six triples, five homers and 35 RBI. He scored 55 times and stole 18 bases.
Spatola and Wiswall provided the bulk of the offense, combining to hit 23 doubles and 26 home runs while driving in a total of 122 runs. Spatola batted .316 while Wiswall finished at .301.
Anston (26th round, Seattle) and Spatola (35th, Chicago White Sox) graduated while Wiswall (7th, Seattle) left BC early as a junior.
THE 30-WIN MARK
Boston College has reached the 30-win mark in each of the last two seasons.
The last time that happened was in 2004 and 2005, prior to its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Eagles' 30 wins in 2010 marked the seventh time in history they reached that number.
BC hit the 30-win mark four times in a row from 2002-05 and set a school record with 37 victories in 2005.
Head Coach Mike Gambino started a new tradition at The Heights. Each season, a player who has battled adversity and represents the best qualities of BC Baseball will wear No. 8 in honor of former player Peter "Sonny" Nictakis.
Sonny was a two-time captain for the Eagles in 1998-99 and lost his courageous battle with Hodgkin's disease in the summer of 2000.
His No. 8 has not been worn since the 1999 season and Gambino tabbed senior 1B/OF Mike Sudol to be the first to don the number during the 2011 campaign.
Sudol is a fifth-year senior who has faced a litany of injuries during his time at The Heights. The Franklin, N.J. product has endured four knee surgeries, a micro fracture, a bone graft and complete reconstruction of his meniscus. Sudol missed his freshman season and his second year was cut short.
He has been an important contributor the last two seasons despite playing through pain most of the time. He has played in 94 games with 69 starts and is batting .286 with 40 runs, 55 RBI, 23 doubles and 11 home runs.
Senior RHP Geoff Oxley and senior C/INF Garret Smith were selected as the captains of the 2011 Boston College baseball team as voted by their teammates.
Oxley is returning for his fifth year after receiving a medical redshirt in 2010. He had Tommy John surgery in May after making seven appearances out of the bullpen early in the season. Oxley has made 40 career appearances in relief and is 3-1 with a 4.91 ERA.
Smith returns for his second year as the starting catcher after making the move from shortstop prior to the 2010 campaign. He had never caught in his life but went to the coaching staff and offered to go behind the plate to soften the loss of All-American Tony Sanchez. Smith has been a starter since he arrived on campus in 2008.
2010 AT A GLANCE
BC finished the season 30-28 (14-16 ACC) and advanced to its second-straight ACC Championship after placing fourth in the Atlantic Division.
The Eagles started the season under .500, going 15-17 and 6-9 in the league. But a nine-game win streak and a pair of sweeps against Wake Forest and NC State shot them to 24-17 and 12-9 by April 27. BC closed out the regular season with a 5-10 stretch before going 1-2 in the ACC Tournament.
The top returning hitter in the lineup is junior INF Anthony Melchionda who led the team with a .358 batting average. He also had seven homers and 41 RBI.
Senior 1B/OF Mike Sudol (.326) and junior INF Brad Zapenas (.318) are the other returning players who batted over .300.
The weekend rotation returns two of its starters in senior RHP John Leonard and junior RHP Mike Dennhardt. Leonard went 2-3 with a 7.53 ERA while Dennhardt was 4-7 with a 7.22 ERA.