April 21, 2011
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The Boston College baseball team travels to No. 9 Georgia Tech this weekend for a three-game ACC series.
The Eagles (14-20, 6-11 ACC) enter the weekend holding on to the eighth spot overall in the conference. The Yellow Jackets (27-11, 14-4) are currently in second place in the Coastal Division.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCH UPS (BC listed first)
Friday: LHP Andrew Lawrence (1-1, 3.50) vs. RHP Mark Pope (8-1, 1.14)
Saturday: RHP John Leonard (4-4, 4.08) vs. LHP Jed Bradley (3-2, 3.21)
Sunday: Bullpen vs. RHP Buck Farmer (6-1, 2.70)
WEEKEND WEATHER FORECAST
Friday: Cloudy skies. Patchy drizzle possible. High 72 degrees. Winds ESE 10-20 MPH.
Saturday: Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the mid 80s.
Sunday: Sunny. Highs in the mid 80s.
WAYS TO FOLLOW
Boston College Twitter: BCSportsNews
Georgia Tech Radio: RamblinWreck.com
Gametracker: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
BC FACES YELLOW JACKETS IN ATLANTA
The Boston College baseball team travels to the Peach State this weekend for a three-game ACC series at No. 9 Georgia Tech.
The Eagles enter the weekend holding on to the eighth spot overall in the ACC.
The top two teams from each division in addition to the four teams with the next best conference winning percentage, regardless of division, are selected to participate in the ACC Baseball Championship.
Georgia Tech has won five of its six ACC series, including three weekend sweeps.
Sophomore OF Matt McGovern has been nearly unstoppable at the plate.
He enters the weekend on a career-high nine-game hit streak and he has multiple hits in seven of those contests. He is hitting .512 during the streak.
In a span of three games from April 9-12, he was 12-for-14 (.857).
He is the only player in the ACC to have four hits in three-consecutive games this season.
McGovern has scored 10 runs, driven in eight, has two triples, a double and a pair of stolen bases over the last nine games.
The Mamaroneck, N.Y. has recorded a hit, run or RBI in each of his 15 starts this season.
McGovern is batting .460 in 18 games played this year which is the best in the ACC among those who have started 15 times.
He is not yet eligible to be included among the overall conference leaders.
A TEAM EFFORT
Nine different pitchers held Northeastern to one run as BC beat the Huskies, 6-1, in the opening round of the baseball Beanpot Wednesday.
Senior LHP Nate Bayuk picked up the win after pitching a scoreless sixth inning.
Senior RHP Garret Smith threw a perfect ninth by striking out the side. All 11 pitches he tossed in the frame were strikes.
The staff combined to fan 11 Huskies while walking just one and allowing seven hits. The 11 strikeouts tied a season high as it also reached that number at Bethune-Cookman March 8.
Junior RHP Kyle Prohovich was the most efficient hurler in the eighth inning. He only needed nine pitches to retire the side in order.
BEANPOT TITLE WITHIN REACH
Boston College defeated Northeastern, 6-1, Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the baseball Beanpot.
The tournament features the Eagles, Huskies, UMass and Harvard.
Harvard beat UMass, 1-0, and will face BC in the championship game April 26 at Fenway Park.
The Eagles are seeking their 10th Beanpot title overall and also their second straight.
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 29 errors so far this season which gives it a .977 fielding percentage. That ranks third in the conference and 16th nationally. Its 29 errors are the second fewest in the ACC going into the weekend.
BC has made six errors in the last three games though.
The Eagles have turned 33 double plays which ranks fourth in the ACC. BC turned two twice at Northeastern Wednesday.
BATS COME ALIVE
The BC offense hit just .245 through the first 23 games of the season, but in the last 11 games it has hit at a .332 clip.
Through the last 11 games, six starters are hitting over .300 with three of them over .400 - sophomore OF Matt McGovern (.511), junior INF Anthony Melchionda (.442) and senior INF Matt Hamlet (.432).
On the other hand, not one starter was hitting over .300 in the first 23 games.
The Eagles have 68 runs on 129 hits in the last 11 outings - an average of 6.2 runs and 11.7 hits a game.
Prior to that, they had 96 runs on 185 hits - or 4.2 runs and 8.0 hits a contest.
Boston College has had a tough go of it with the New England weather.
The Eagles have played just six games at Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field so far.
BC's home-opening weekend against Virginia Tech had to be moved to Bill Beck Field at the University of Rhode Island due to the harsh winter.
The Boston area is coming off one of the worst winters in recent history and there was more precipitation the week before BC hosted the Hokies.
The Eagles' March 16 game at Bryant had to be postponed due to weather.
BC had more weather trouble when it hosted Miami. The teams only played two games of the series and both came on Sunday.
The northeast was hit by a nor'easter that Friday that brought rain and snow into the area. Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field still had snow cover on it as of that Saturday afternoon.
BC had to postpone a home game against Rhode Island on April 5 and its game at UMass April 13 was also not played due to rain.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
Boston College might be 14-20, but it has faced the 13th-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. 5 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.
The Eagles host No. 1 Virginia at home next weekend after traveling to Atlanta to face No. 9 Georgia Tech.
Boston College has only had six true home games so far this year.
THE TRAVELS OF A NEW ENGLAND TEAM
BC traveled nearly 10,240 miles before playing its first home game on March 25, and even then it wasn't at home.
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. 5 Florida State.
A non-conference game at Bryant was postponed before traveling to College Park for an ACC series at Maryland.
BC made the short trip to Holy Cross in Worcester and played its home-opening series vs. Virginia Tech at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.
The Eagles had away games at Northeastern and Rhode Island before hosting Miami in Chestnut Hill. The teams played two games at Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field - the first two true home games of the year.
SMITH STEPS UP
Senior C/INF/RHP Garret Smith has a hit in 19 of the last 21 games. He is batting .361 in the last 21 games with 10 doubles, 13 runs and seven RBIs.
He has improved his batting average from .237 on March 11 to the .322 mark he is sporting now. That ranks second on the team.
The Sterling, Mass. native has also been hitting well in ACC games this year.
He leads BC with a .373 batting average in 17 conference games. Ten of his 13 two-baggers have come in ACC play - including three against Clemson April 16.
Smith suffered his only loss on the mound this season at Northeastern March 29. He walked a pair of batters in his second inning of work and eventually one of them scored to win, 2-1, in the 11th inning.
He got his revenge on Wednesday at the Beanpot by mowing down three batters in 11 pitches.
The closer pitched the ninth inning in a 6-1 win and fanned all three Huskies. All 11 of his pitches were strikes.
SMITH IS ULTIMATE UTILITY PLAYER
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 .281 hitter and has started 163 games since he arrived on campus in 2008.
"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 17 starts at first base, 11 behind the plate and three at third base.
He has also earned the spot as the closer on the pitching staff and has six saves which ranks third in the ACC.
He has a 2.13 ERA in 13 appearances and 12.2 innings of work. He has allowed three runs on nine hits.
MELCHIONDA ON ANOTHER TEAR
Junior INF Anthony Melchionda went on a tear from February 27 to March 8 and is back at it again.
He is 21-for-47 (.447) in the last 12 games and has seven doubles, a triple and 12 RBIs during that span. He has improved his batting average from .253 on March 29 to his current .325 which leads the team.
The local product from Braintree ranks third in the ACC in triples (3), 14th in RBIs (32), 16th in doubles (11) and 23rd in batting average.
Melchionda broke out earlier in the season from February 27 to March 8.
He batted .455 over the five games with two doubles, two triples and 11 RBIs. 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.
HAMLET COMES ALONG
Senior 2B Matt Hamlet is on a little streak of his own - improving his batting average from .190 on March 27 to his current .297.
The Chesapeake, Va. native has a hit in nine of the last 13 games and six of those have been multi-hit performances. He is 19-for-43 (.442) during that span with three doubles, a triple, seven runs scored and seven RBIs.
He is slugging at a .558 clip and is leading the Eagles with a .510 on-base percentage in the last 13 outings.
LEONARD'S LOOKING SHARP
Senior RHP John Leonard returned to campus despite being drafted by the San Francisco Giants last summer in the 36th round and it is paying dividends.
So far this year, Leonard is 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA. He has allowed 31 runs - 26 earned - on 60 hits in 57.1 innings. He has struck out 30 and walked 14.
Leonard ranks sixth in the ACC in innings pitched and 22nd in ERA.
UNHITTABLE TO START
Senior RHP John Leonard was nearly unhittable in the beginning of his outings at No. 5 Florida State and at Maryland.
Against the Seminoles, Leonard was stellar for the first 6.0 innings, but FSU tied the game with three runs in the seventh and went on to win, 4-3. 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.
In the series finale at Maryland, he allowed an unearned run through a career-high 8.0 innings of work to lead BC to a 4-1 win.
Leonard began that outing by throwing 5.1 no hit innings. He faced three batters over the minimum while he was on the mound and only three Terrapins reached second. He finished the day by giving up three hits and walking two while striking out five.
LIKE A PRO
Junior RHP Kyle Prohovich has become a go-to guy out of the bullpen for BC.
He is second on the team with 17 appearances and has allowed a run in just three of his last 14 outings.
Prohovich has allowed one run in his last seven calls from the bullpen - a total of 12.1 innings.
The local product from Weston has given up seven hits in that span. He also has only walked one batter while striking out 11.
Prohovich tossed a career-high 3.2 innings at Duke April 10 to pick up his second win of the week. He pitched from the seventh to the 10th innings and allowed three baserunners while fanning five - also a career high.
LAWRENCE TAKES ON BIGGER ROLE
Junior OF Andrew Lawrence has started 18 games in the outfield and has added pitching to his repertoire.
The coaching staff has used the left-hander in 15 games and he is second on the team with a 3.50 ERA. Lawrence has thrown 15.0 innings and allowed seven earned runs on 18 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.
Lawrence has started seven games and in six of the seven, he threw just the first inning.
The last time he pitched before this season was as a senior in high school in the state semifinals in 2007.
Lawrence is batting .250 with six doubles, three homers and 16 RBIs. He is the only player on the team with more than one home run.
He went 4-for-5 with a double, a three-run homer and four RBIs at Dartmouth April 12.
BOURDON OFF TO GOOD START
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 31 games in center field and is third among the everyday starters with a .298 batting average.
He has a hit in nine of his last 11 games.
Bourdon hit an inside-the-park home run against Bethune-Cookman March 4 after the center fielder misjudged the ball.
His 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.
SUDOL'S HOT STREAK
Senior OF/1B Mike Sudol was hitting just .195 through the first 11 games.
He went 11-for-22 from March 12-23 to improve his average to .302.
He had four multi-hit games in that span with three doubles and a solo home run.
HUNTER'S SCORELESS STREAK
Sophomore RHP Hunter Gordon got off to a rough start this season but settled in and is now one of BC's most reliable relievers.
Gordon gave up a walk-off home run in the season opener at No. 23 Coastal Carolina on his second pitch of the night, then he gave up another round-tripper against the first batter he faced at Bethune-Cookman March 4.
Following that start, he allowed just one unearned run in the next nine outings.
The Swampscott, Mass. product threw 12.0 innings in that span and allowed seven hits. The only extra base hits he allowed were two doubles and opponents hit just .156 against him.
Gordon is currently 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 17.1 innings of work.
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 140 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 six errors. He is batting .244 with six doubles, a triple, a homer and 13 RBIs.
Zapenas has been the leadoff hitter in every game this year. When he leads off an inning, he is hitting .333 (20-for-60).
A HUGE INNING
The BC offense erupted for 12 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning April 6 against Bryant. The Eagles were losing 5-4 entering the frame and came away with a 16-5 victory.
It was the most runs scored by the maroon and gold since April 13, 1999 when it scored 12 runs in the second inning against Harvard in a 12-6 win.
The Eagles went 8-for-11 in the inning (.727) and the first six batters reached base.
BC also went 3-for-4 with two outs - driving in six runs in the process.
EAGLES WIN IN EXTRAS IN FINALE TO BEAT DUKE TWO OUT OF THREE
BC scored four runs in the last three innings to force extras and junior INF Anthony Melchionda hit a two-run single in the top of the 11th to lead the Eagles past Duke, 6-4, in the Sunday rubber match.
Sophomore OF Matt McGovern drove in four of the five BC runs on Saturday and senior RHP John Leonard allowed three runs through 7.0 innings for the 5-3 win Saturday.
McGovern had career highs in hits and RBIs as he went 4-for-5 with a triple while driving in four runs. Leonard picked up his fourth win of the year after tossing 7.0 innings and allowing three runs on 10 hits. He struck out two and walked a pair.
McGovern was 10-for-15 in the series with six RBIs and three runs.
BC TAKES SERIES FROM HOKIES
Boston College opened the home portion of its schedule by hosting Virginia Tech at the University of Rhode Island March 25-27.
Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Commander Shea Field was unplayable due to the harsh winter.
Junior INF Anthony Melchionda hit a two-run homer and eight different pitchers shut out Virginia Tech for eight innings in a 5-3 series opening win.
Senior LHP Nate Bayuk allowed one hit through 7.0 innings and junior OF Marc Perdios drove in two runs in Saturday's 2-1 win.
The Hokies won the series finale, 8-1.
EAGLES TAKE TWO OF THREE AT MARYLAND
Boston College earned its first series win of the year at Maryland March 18-20.
Seven different relievers combined to throw 8.0 shutout innings in a 7-4 win Friday night.
The bullpen faced two batters over the minimum through the last 8.0 innings of the game and only allowed one hit - a solo homer in the eighth.
After losing 4-3 Saturday on a bases loaded balk in the seventh, senior RHP John Leonard carried the Eagles on Sunday in a 4-1 triumph.
He allowed an unearned run in 8.0 innings of work and began his outing by throwing 5.1 no hit innings. He faced three batters over the minimum while he was on the mound and only three Terrapins reached second.
EAGLES LOSE TIGHT GAMES AT #5 FSU
Boston College was swept by No. 5 Florida State, 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.
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 11 times this season and Hamlet has one.
Freshman OF Tom Bourdon leads in that category with four.
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 INF Anthony Melchionda and sophomore C Matt Watson had seven homers and senior 1B/OF Mike Sudol had six.
Boston College has nine home runs through the first 34 games and one was an inside-the-parker.
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 13-7 start when allowing five runs or less in 2011.
Boston College is 1-13 when allowing more than five runs this season.
BC had 152 RBI with two outs last season and John Spatola led the team with 28.
A total of 43 percent of the RBIs that BC recorded came with two outs.
Junior 3B Anthony Melchionda led all returning players with 18 two-out RBIs 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.
Sixty-four of the 140 RBIs that BC has recorded this season have come with two outs.
Junior INF Anthony Melchionda leads the team with 14 two-out RBIs while junior INF Brad Zapenas and freshman OF Tom Bourdon have eight.
BC had 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 RBIs. 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.
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 RBIs.
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.