Baseball Battles Notre Dame For Weekend Series
April 7, 2000
WEEKEND SERIES: Boston College faces Notre Dame for the 13th time. ND leads the series 10-2. The Eagles' 10-7 victory over Notre Dame April 17, 1999 at Eck Stadium was BC's first win against the Fighting Irishmen since June 7, 1928 at BC.
LAST SERIES: Notre Dame took the final two games of the series (9-6, 11-8) in 1999 after BC pulled out a 10-7 upset in extra innings of the first game. The Eagles scored 10 runs (four earned) on 13 hits to hand All-American Aaron Heilman his first loss since opening week. Notre Dame scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, sending the game into an extra frame, but, the Eagles collected three runs in the eighth for the victory. Dave Conley earned the win on the mound while then freshman Mark Sullivan (Winchester, Mass.) earned the save in one inning of relief. In game two of the doubleheader, Eric Olson (Oakland, Calif.) pounded a pair of home runs, and Mike Hubbard (Braintree, Mass.) also drove in a long ball.
BC's LAST TIME OUT: In the bottom of the seventh (and final) inning, Neal McCarthy (Warwick, R.I.) singled through the right side to score Mike Gambino (Garrison, N.Y.) and give Boston College a 6-5 victory over Brown University Thursday (April 6) in the first game of a doubleheader at Chestnut Hill.
BC's 8-1 decision in game two extended its winning streak to five and overall record to 17-9. Steve Langone (Reading, Mass.), who homered in the first game, went 4-for-5 on the day. Also providing offensive punch was senior second baseman Mike Gambino, who gave a 4-for-7 effort with four runs scored in the two-game series. Jed Rogers (Westerly, R.I.) threw three hitless innings of relief to earn the win in game one. In the nightcap, Paul Knapic (Bayside, N.Y.) surrendered one run on three hits with five strikeouts to notch the 8-1 win.
AT LAST BAT: In addition to the Eagles' victorious, final-inning effort in the Brown game, BC won all three games against Villanova (April 1-2) in its last at bat. In fact, Eagle batters have come through six times in the final offensive frame.
Brian Durkin (Lowell, Mass.) keyed two of the victories over the Wildcats. The sophomore hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, snapping a 3-3 tie and lifting BC to a 5-3 victory in game one (April 1).
Trailing 5-4 entering the ninth inning, BC rallied for four runs in its final at-bat. Villanova scored two runs in the bottom of the inning to account for the 8-7 score. Jarett Mendoza (North Dighton, Mass.) gave BC the lead with a two-run double, and Durkin registered a two-run single to add to the Eagle advantage.
In the third game of the Wildcat series, McCarthy hit a two-out, RBI triple in the top of the ninth inning to score Mike Quirk in BC's 7-6 triumph.
Earlier in the season, BC pulled off two other last-minute miracles when Mendoza powered a game-ending single to score Hubbard, allowing BC to win 3-2 over Buffalo March 4 in Fort Myers, Fla. On that same trip, the Eagles added the deciding run in the eighth inning against Mount St. Mary's to double its lead (2-0), and then held the visitors to one run in the top of the ninth where the game ended.
WHO'S HOT: Mike Gambino currently has a 17-game hitting streak. The last time the second baseman went hitless was March 8 against Mount St. Mary's. Gambino has a total of 10-multiple hit games, and is batting .366. Joe Kealty (Framingham, Mass.) is 6-for-13 with three runs scored in the past four games. He's batting .347 on the year.
RANKED NATIONALLY: Entering April 1, BC was ranked 19th nationally in team batting (.331). Hurlers Steve Langone and Andy Sullivan (Winchester, Mass.) also top the country's pitching lists. Sullivan is third with a 0.75 ERA in 23.2 innings. Langone has pitched 37.0 innings with a 1.45 ERA, good enough for 19th in the country.
COACH HUGHES: Entering the 2000 season, BC Head Coach Pete Hughes is ranked 50th (78 victories) among NCAA Division I skippers under the age of 45. He is currently five wins short of his 100th victory, towing a 95-60-1 record. Prior to leading the Eagles to a school-record 26 victories (26-21-1) in 1999, the 32-year-old Brockton, Mass. native coached Trinity University (Texas), where the Tigers established a new school victory standard of 33-11 in 1998. Trinity went 19-19 in Hughes' first year as coach (1997).
In the list, Hughes follows BIG EAST coaches Paul Mainieri of Notre Dame (11th, 361 victories). West Virginia's Greg Van Zant (153 victories) and St. John's Ed Blankmeyer (123 wins) fall at 34 and 40, respectively. Pittsburgh mentor Joe Jordano trails Hughes at 55th with 39 wins.