Who’s the Pack playing?
Opponent: Boston College
Mascot: Flying Thieves | School Location: Bahstan, MA | Conference: ACC
2022 Record: 15-18 (3-12, 7th Atlantic) | 2022 RPI Rank: 80
2021 Record: 21-28 (10-23, 7th Atlantic) | 2021 RPI Rank: 112
2020 Record: 6-9 (0-0, 4th Atlantic) | 2020 RPI Rank: 138
When? Where? How do I watch?
Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)
Game Time(s): Thu, Apr 14 @ 6:30pm | Fri, Apr 15 @ 6:30pm | Sat, Apr 16 @ 1:00pm
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Tell me about this team
For the incredible baseball city that it is, Boston College has had a brutal time trying to field winnings teams over the years. The Eagles made it to Omaha in 1967 and they made a Super Regional in 2016. Between those two is a 2009 Regional appearance.
Mike Gambino was at the helm for that 2016 Super Regional run that ended in Miami. BC used that run to put together some solid recruiting classes and then posted another winning season in 2019, but the lost 2020 season hurt progress and 2021 was a step back despite some stud players on the roster.
This year’s team, even with the loss of two high MLB draft picks from a year ago, is actually hitting the ball even better (.280/.384/.481 this year versus .270/.359/409 in 2021). The pitching, though, is next level bad (7.86 team ERA with opponents hitting .299 against).
The offense can mash. They can hit for average and power, they work walks, and they’re not afraid to wear pitches. The bats can go silent for stretches at a time (nine games of three or fewer runs), but they can also explode at others (nine games of double-digit runs).
Boston College doesn’t have an elite defense, but they’re serviceable and certainly not a detriment out there. Catcher Peter Burns is throwing out 47.8% of base stealers (11-of-23), which is a number that will create hesitation in even the most aggressive of teams. Burns, however, has been surpassed in the catching spot by the hot-hitting Parker Landwehr, who has only thrown out 1-of-10 base stealers this year. Everything’s a tradeoff.
But that pitching... woof.
Twenty-two pitchers have toed the rubber for the Eagles this year and only four of them have an ERA at or below 5.25, and two of those four have combined to toss just 4.1 innings on the year. It’s just not a good situation.
The story for BC is simple: hit your way to a win or try again tomorrow.
Who’s on the mound for these guys?
Friday: RHP Joe Mancini (SR)
Saturday: RHP Henry Leake (SR)
2B Luke Gold (JR) - .360/.452/.648, 16 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 30 R, 29 RBI, 18 BB, 18 K, 8 HBP, 2-3 SB. Just an absolutely unreal hitter; he can do it all with the bat. If he had a defensive home (likely a first baseman in the pros), he’d be a 1st round draft pick this year. The right-handed hitter will shoot up through the minors with his hitting ability. He should be pitched around whenever possible.
1B Joe Vetrano (SO) - .352/.425/.695, 5 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 35 R, 44 RBI, 16 BB, 34 K, 1 HBP, 1-2 SB. One of three second-year hitters who have gone from little-used freshman to impact sophomores. A two-way player who pitched 37.0 innings last year with just 31 plate appearances, has switched it around this year (for the better). Kind of surprised the lefty hasn’t seen more run on the mound, especially given the team’s lack of pitching, but it’s hard to argue with the results at the dish for him. He’s 8-for-14 over the last three games with 8 RBI.
RF Cameron Leary (SO) - .279/.461/.672, 7 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 44 R, 34 RBI, 34 BB, 31 K, 8 HBP, 3-6 SB. The lefty two-hole hitter has taken a huge step up in his second year on campus. Has multiple hits in five of the last ten games, during which time he’s cranked 5 HR. His 20.6% walk rate is ridiculous and underscores the massive development he’s made.
LF Travis Honeyman (SO) - .359/.431/.573, 7 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 28 R, 14 RBI, 7 BB, 9 K, 6 HBP, 5-5 SB. Leadoff hitter. Has missed some time this year due to injury, including almost the entire Pitt series last weekend, but bounced back with a two-hit day as a DH in the midweek win over UMass.
C Parker Landwehr (JR) - .345/.451/.597, 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 20 R, 28 RBI, 19 BB, 35 K, 5 HBP, 1-1 SB. The junior catcher was a very little used backup over his first two years on campus before his bat forced his way into the lineup this year. Had a 14-game hitting streak broken on Tuesday against UMass.
RHP Joe Mancini (SR) - 2-2, 6.20 ERA, 40.2 IP, 43 H, 16 BB, 32 K. Will be making his 28th career start for the Eagles. Not a strikeout guy and a bit of a bulldog for them, he’ll push 100 pitches in every start he makes. Good control.
RHP Henry Leake (SR) - 2-0, 1 SV, 6.95 ERA, 22.0 IP, 26 H, 9 BB, 26 K. Will be making just his second start of the season (first one was last week vs Pitt: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K). Grad transfer from Babson College where he allowed just seven earned runs over 42.1 career innings (all in relief) with 54 strikeouts.
RHP Brendan Coffey (SR) - 1-1, 3 SV, 3.50 ERA, 18.0 IP, 18 H, 9 BB, 17 K. Grad transfer from Sacred Heart and the Eagles closer this year. The 6’4 righty’s success is build around his ability to avoid giving up the long ball.
RHP Joey Ryan (SO) - 2-2, 2 SV, 7.09 ERA, 26.2 IP, 31 H, 10 BB, 23 K. Big, well-built kid. One of the Eagles’ more relied-upon relievers, and he’s gone multiple innings in ten of his 15 appearances this year. Could also be a candidate for a shot at the start in the series finale, assuming he’s not needed before then.
RHP Max Gieg (JR) - 2-1, 0 SV, 1.84 ERA, 14.2 IP, 11 H, 11 BB, 16 K. Featuring him here because his ERA is the most impressive on the team, even though it’s completely lucky. He’s allowed 28 batters to reach base (11 H, 11 BB, 6 HBP) in 14.2 IP. That’s not a recipe for long-term success.
RHP Mason Pelio (SR) - 1-3, 13.91 ERA, 11.0 IP, 18 H, 15 BB, 13 K. Easily the most talented pitcher on the roster, but he’s regressed every year since his 2019 Freshman All-American season. Started six games this year and is the most likely guy to go on Saturday. Has serious control issues, but is also the one guy on the roster who could pull a 7-inning gem out of his rear.
Quick! Fun Facts!
Not a fun fact, but I’m including this SNL video because it’s hilarious and somewhat related (probably NSFW):
Boston College is NC State’s third straight opponent with a bird mascot. Charlie Kelly must be putting together State’s schedule these days.
Saturday is NC State’s annual #StrikeOutALS game. That disease can go straight to hell. If you feel so inclined, here’s the link to donate to the ALS Association.
While Boston College isn’t necessarily a baseball school, they have put out a lot of talent. With the exception of the five round 2020 draft, the Eagles have had at least one player drafted every year since 2004. They’ve had three 1st round selections over the last seven years (Chris Shaw, 31st overall, 2015; Justin Dunn, 19th, 2016; Sal Frelick, 15th, 2021).
If State’s pitching can even just be okay this weekend, they’ll sweep. If the pitching can’t ditch the proclivity to surrender the long ball, then this is a series that could hurt because BC can swing it with most anyone.
Outcome: Sweeps are tough. Pack take 2-of-3.