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Baseball Prepares For Big East Tournament




May 15, 2000

Boston College (33-18-0, 12-11-0)
May 17-20, 2000 - - BIG EAST Tournament
Somerset Ballpark -- Bridgewater, N.J.

RETURN TO THE TOURNEY: Boston College is making its second BIG EAST tournament - now in its 16th year - appearance and first since 1991. The Eagles tied the school record for conference wins in a season (12), established by that '91 squad, which lost to St. John's University 7-0 in the first round and Villanova 10-9 (10 innings) in game two.

BC, picked to finish seventh in the preseason, earned the fifth seed on the strength of 14 hits and effective pitching from Brendan Nolan and Mark Sullivan in the Eagles' 9-4 victory over Pittsburgh Saturday, May 13. Nolan allowed three earned runs on seven hits through 5.2 innings while the young Sullivan merited the save in 3.1 innings of work, making his second appearance on the day.

Mike Quirk contributed three hits in six plate appearances for two RBIs. Eric Olson and Mike Hubbard each had two hits, two RBIs and a home run. Joe Kealty and Jarett Mendoza also picked up a pair of hits.

BIG EAST Tournament

Wednesday, May 17

Game 1: No. 1 Rutgers vs. No. 6 Pittsburgh Noon Game 2: No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 5 Boston College 3:30 p.m. Game 3: No. 3 Seton Hall vs. No. 4 Connecticut 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 18

Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 - Noon Game 5: Winner Game 1 vs. Loser Game 3 - 3:30 p.m. Game 6: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3 - 7:00 p.m.

Friday, May 19

Game 7,8, 9 (Noon, 3:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m.) Opponents are determined based on the number of teams remaining.

Saturday, May 20

Game 10, 11 (3:30, 7:00) Opponents are determined based on the number of teams remaining.

NCAA AT STAKE: The 2000 BIG EAST Tournament champion will earn an automatic bid to the 48-team field NCAA Tournament. BC has qualified for the NCAA tournament nine times (1949, 1953, 1955, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1967). The Eagles have advanced to the College World Series four times (1953, 1960, 1961, 1967). BC finished third in 1961, and fourth in 1953.

BC's LAST TIME OUT: Pittsburgh needed to win at least two games over Boston College this past weekend to qualify for the BIG EAST tournament . After splitting the doubleheader on Saturday, the Panthers earned the berth with a three-run comeback in the ninth to tie the score at five in the final game. Joe Lydic added an RBI single with bases loaded in the 10th to lift Pittsburgh 6-5 over the Eagles May 14. BC outhit Pitt 10-6 in that game, led by two-hit days by both Mike Gambino and Brian Durkin.

Pittsburgh handed Andy Sullivan (6-1) his first loss of the season, recording an 8-6 win in the BIG EAST series opener Saturday. The Eagles' 9-4 win in the nightcap clinched the fifth seed in the tournament. Eric Olson was 5-for-8 with a home run and two RBIs on the day. Junior center fielder Jarett Mendoza hit his seventh home run of the season in a 4-for-8 effort in the two games.

BIG EAST PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Three BC players have been named BIG EAST Players of the Week for a total of four times during the 2000 season. Most recently, Steve Langone was named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week for his play during April 24-30. The senior received the distinction for the fourth time in his career and second time this season. Langone (7-2) pitched six shutout innings in a 16-3 victory over Georgetown April 30. He faced just one more batter than the minimum through six innings and allowed two hits, striking out six. His first Pitcher-of-the-Week award this season came February 20 after the senior right-hander went the distance for a complete-game, seven-inning shutout of the College of Charleston. He allowed just three hits and no walks with four strikeouts.

In the same week, Jarett Mendoza earned Player of the Week after hitting 8-for-16 with three home runs and six RBIs at the College of Charleston. Mendoza also had two doubles and scored five runs in that four-game series with the Cougars..

Mike Gambino earned conference Player of the Week, April 10. He extended his hitting streak to 20 games while going 8-for-12 in a three-game series at Notre Dame (April 8-9). The senior second baseman scored five runs and drove in six with one home run to help BC to a 1-2 record against the then 24th-ranked Fighting Irish. He was a perfect 4-for-4 in BC's 11-1 victory at ND April 9. Gambino was 12-for-19 with nine runs scored and six RBIs, including one home run and one triple, on the week. He even scored the game-winning run in BC's 6-5 win over Brown April 6.

LEADERS: Through May 7, Boston College was ranked 18th nationally in batting (.332). BC is currently listed second in BIG EAST team hitting overall (.330) and second in conference play (.321)

Steve Langone's 1.48 ERA placed him third nationally through May 7. That ERA also ranks him first amongst current conference pitchers. He also tops all pitchers in conference games only with a 1.60 ERA. The dh/utility player leads the doubles category with 21 overall and is 10th in runs scored (46) overall.

Mike Gambino is seventh in individual batting (.380) and fifth (.385) in conference action only. Gambino has 73 hits overall for fifth while accumulating 37 hits for second in league play. He is sixth in runs scored overall (50) and third with 24 in conference play.

The graduate student has 54 total bases, sixth in conference action.

Jarett Mendoza is seventh with three triples in all games. Neal McCarthy is 10th with 15 stolen bases overall and sixth with eight in BIG EAST play. Eric Olson currently ranks fifth with 10 home runs in all games and ninth, tallying five home runs in league play.

Also stepping up in league play is Joe Kealty, who was batting .378 for ninth in conference action through May 7. In BIG EAST games, the junior dh/1b drove in 19 runs, good for seventh at that time.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: On April 20, Boston College eclipsed last year's school record of 26 victories in one season. The standard is now 33 wins and counting. BC tied the school record for conference wins (12) in a season, set by the only other squad to attend the BIG EAST tournament, 1991's team (12-9 regular season). Head Coach Pete Hughes collected his 100th career win with a two-game sweep of Vermont April 12.

BIG EAST BRILLIANCE: In conference action, BC swept three teams (Villanova, St. John's, Georgetown) this season. The Eagles' sweep of Villanova April 1-2 was their first three-game victory over a conference team since they took three from Connecticut in 1995. BC won an unprecedented doubleheader over St. John's (April 20), its first series win against the Red Storm since April 22-23, 1989. More recently, the Eagles swept Georgetown in a three-game series. In the second game alone, BC recorded six home runs.

PINCH HIT PERFECTION: In BC's 21-5 rout of Georgetown, April 29, Brian Macchi entered in the sixth inning but finished the game with a grand slam, a two-run home run and sacrifice fly for seven RBIs.

Recently, Macchi and senior Aaron Sabo smacked pinch hit home runs against Holy Cross April 18.

WASHINGTON WINS: Boston College swept Georgetown 3-0, April 29-30 by a combined score of 48-10. The Eagles pounded 12 home runs and 50 hits en route to 48 runs. In the second game alone, BC had six home runs and 21 hits (tying a season-high) for 21 runs. Macchi and Chris Rosado each pounded two home runs in a single game.

COACH HUGHES: Entering the 2000 season, BC head coach Pete Hughes was ranked 50th (78 victories) among NCAA Division I skippers under the age of 45. He currently has a 111-69-1 career record and 59-39-1 mark at the Heights with a 22-26-1 career record in the BIG EAST. 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 school victory standard of 33-11 in 1998. Trinity went 19-19 in Hughes' first year as coach (1997).

LAUDABLE LANGONE: Through May 14, Langone is batting .333 with 21 doubles, one triple and six home runs for 32 RBIs. In the month of April, he batted .385. The utility player is also leading the Eagle pitching staff in innings pitched (67.0) with a 7-2 record and 1.48 ERA, third in the country. He has thrown six - of eight possible - complete games in 12 appearances with two saves, both coming in conference play. His strikeout to walk ratio is 10 to 1 (60 strikeouts, six walks). In the last 30.0 innings, Langone has surrendered only five earned runs. He has been named to the Rotary Smith Watch List.

GARRISON'S GAMBINO: Mike Gambino currently owns a 14-game hit streak. The last time Gambino went hitless was April 16 vs. Seton Hall. During the streak, Gambino is batting .407. The graduate student in Education strung together a 20-game hit streak from March 8 to April 9.

NOT SO QUIRKY: In the past 11 games, right fielder Mike Quirk has been batting 18 for 40 (.450) with 10 runs batted in. Now batting .326, Quirk also has six assists and 74 putouts.

THE THROWING SULLIVANS: Andy Sullivan (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season in his ninth appearance (May 13). The senior ace owns a career-low 2.13 ERA. In 50.2 innings of work, he has surrendered only 12 earned runs. Andy threw a one-hitter in a complete-game, seven inning effort to lead BC 3-0 over Northeastern May 4. Sophomore Mark Sullivan is 3-0 with a 5.44 ERA in 13 appearances. Most recently, Sullivan earned the save in BC's 9-4 victory over Pittsburgh (May 13). He allowed one run on two hits through 3.1 innings of that game.

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE: Neal McCarthy and Mike Hubbard have led all Eagle speedsters with a combined 27 stolen bases. BC stole 34 bases total in 1999.

TOURNAMENT LIVE: Live stats via the web are available through Total Sports. There will be a link to that page on the BIG EAST website, www.bigeast.org.

BC VS. THE FIELD: The Eagles' first opponent is the no. 2 seed, Notre Dame, which has qualified for the tournament every year since joining the BIG EAST in 1996. The Fighting Irish (42-14, 18-7) have never won a title and carry a 10-8 record in tournament play. BC won one contest in the three-game series at South Bend this season (April 8-9). Steve Langone allowed no earned runs in a complete-game, nine-inning effort to lead BC to an 11-1 victory. The hosts captured the first two games, 12-1 and 10-6.

Another conference expansion team, Rutgers (35-15, 18-5), is making its fifth appearance in the tourney. Picked no. 1 in the preseason, the Scarlet Knights own a 6-7 mark in tournament play. They won the title in 1998. This season, Rutgers swept BC 7-1, 10-2, 17-12 at Chestnut Hill March 25-26.

Seton Hall (36-14, 18-7), the third seed, is 18-24 in tournament play with one championship (1987) under its belt. SHU captured the first game of a double session marathon with the Eagles April 15-16 in Chestnut Hill. BC answered SHU's win in the first game (7-3) in nine innings with a 9-8 victory in 11 innings in game two. The Pirates raced away with an 8-0 win in the final contest.

Connecticut (32-15, 14-9) is 12-11 in seven years at the tournament. The Huskies earned BIG EAST titles in 1990 and 1994. After BC walked away with the 10-1 victory in game one (March 19), the Huskies retaliated with two victories (13-2, 6-4), which ultimately cost BC the fourth seed in the tourney.

Pittsburgh (31-22, 11-13) earned a berth with two wins over BC this past weekend (May 13-14). In only two years at the tournament, the Panthers have accumulated one title (1995) and a 3-3 mark.

St. John's, which did not qualify for the postseason competition, has five championships. The Red Storm won titles in 1985, 1986, 1988, 1993, and 1997.

The now defunct Providence squad won the BIG EAST title last year.

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