Eighth inning rally leads Boston College past Elon
Leading by four runs with six outs remaining, Boston College freshman third baseman Joe Cronin stepped to the plate and grounded to Elon University third baseman Sebastian Gomez. The junior’s throw set the tone for the rest of the top of the eighth inning, as Boston College struck for five runs in the frame to knock off the Phoenix 7-6 on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles (1-1) jumped all over Elon senior reliever Spencer Medick in the eighth inning, After throwing just 10 pitches, all strikes, in the seventh, four straight batters reached base before Medick had recorded an out in the eighth.
Boston College senior catcher Matt Paré reached first base on a third strike wild pitch, sophomore left fielder Geoffrey Murphy chased Medick from the game with a game-tying RBI triple to the right-centerfield wall.
Sophomore right-hander John Antonelli replaced Medick on the hill and only faced one batter before getting out of the inning, but not before senior catcher Alex Swim was charged with a passed ball that allowed Murphy to score the go-ahead run from third base.
“It’s a leadoff error which always comes back to haunt you,” Elon coach Mike Kennedy said after the game. “We had a few more (errors) in that inning where we allowed some balls to get by. We had some passed balls that allowed a couple runs to score. That’s the way you have big innings.”
Elon (1-1) had it’s chances in both the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings, loading the bases in the eighth and getting the leadoff man on in the ninth, but neither ended with the tying run.
Boston College freshman left-hander Andrew Chin, the third of four relievers used on the day by Eagles coach Mike Gambino, picked up his first career win by tossing 1.1 innings of one-hit baseball. Medick took the loss for the Phoenix after falling apart in the eighth inning.
Medick replaced senior starting pitcher Kyle Webb on the hill to start the seventh inning after Webb went six innings of two-run baseball while striking out six. Webb was in line for the win when he departed.
“Kyle was very good,” Kennedy said. “He has that one rough inning in the second where he got the ball up, but he made a good adjustment, competed and really pitched well.”
With the Phoenix trailing 2-1 going to the bottom of the sixth inning, Kennedy’s plan was to send Webb back out for the seventh inning having thrown just 83 pitches. But plans changed when Elon struck for a three-run inning thanks in large part to Swim.
After Boston College starter John Gorman left after five innings and 75 pitches, freshman reliever Austin Solecitto allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base before Swim lined a 1-0 fastball to the left-center fence that he turned into a triple, knocking in the go-ahead runs.
“Coach (Greg Starbuck) met with me before (Solecitto) came in and told me he throws a lot of fastballs and to be ready for one,” Swim said. “So I was just ready for the fastball and got it.”
Swim scored one batter later on senior first baseman Ryan Kinsella’s sacrifice fly to center field that made it 4-2.
With the big inning and the lead, Kennedy elected to turn the game over to his bullpen.
“If (Webb) hadn’t sat so long, we might have ran him back out there for one more,” Kennedy said. “We had the big inning that ended up sitting him for a while, so I thought it was time for a change.”
The Phoenix knocked home two more in the seventh inning, capped by Swim’s fourth RBI of the game. That’s when the Elon bullpen came apart.
“We didn’t make any pitches in that inning,” Kennedy said. “We left some balls out over the plate and we just didn’t play defense either and it caught up to us a little bit. Give them credit because they really made us pay.”
Elon will return to the field looking to rebound from the loss at 3 p.m. against Virginia Commonwealth University. Junior right-hander David Whitehead will take the hill for the Phoenix looking to build on his 5-3 record from 2012.
The Phoenix expects both centerfielders Niko Fraser and Quinn Bower to be able to return to the field tomorrow afternoon after the two were injured in the first two games of the season. Fraser suffered a hamstring injury rounding second base on Friday, Feb. 15, against Marist College and Bower was hit in the head with a pitch in the sixth inning.
“We don’t think Quinn has a concussion,” Kennedy said. “He may have just busted up his nose a bit and that’s where all the blood was coming from. Our trainer didn’t suspect a concussion though se we think he’ll be fine. Niko was sore today but he might have been able to play. We didn’t think with the snow the way it was though that it was a good situation so we gave him the day off. He might be available tomorrow but we’ll have to wait and see.”