Boston College and North Carolina State met to begin their three-game series this afternoon in the Harrington Athletics Village. A beautiful day in Brighton, Massachusetts set the scene for BC to celebrate their ninth annual ALS Awareness Game honoring the late Pete Frates. North Carolina State was honoring a former player themselves, in Chris Combs who passed away in 2020 to ALS. Certainly both teams were playing for something bigger this afternoon.
The meeting marked the first time that the Eagles and the Wolfpack met since 2019 when Boston College took one out of three games from the #1 ranked NC State squad. This year, both teams came into Friday’s contest hovering around .500; Boston College sitting at 14-13 and North Carolina State right at 11-11. But it was the Wolfpack, winners of 7 out of their last 9 games that came out swinging winning 20-5.
North Carolina State opened up the scoring off Eagles starter Mason Pelio bringing in 3 runs in the second inning and 3 more in the top half of the third frame. Pelio was coming off his longest outing of the season last Friday in a series opening win against the 23rd ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. Pelio lasted 6.2 innings in that one, surrendering just 3 earned runs and striking out five in the process. This time around, Pelio matched his strikeout total, but gave up 8 runs, 7 of them earned in the process.
North Carolina State got out to an 8-0 lead on eight hits off Pelio, just two of them being extra base hits. Wolfpack third baseman Vojtech Mensik most notably homered off of Pelio for his second homerun of the season, bringing in catcher Luca Tresh. Neither Mensik nor Tresh was done, however, and unfortunately for the Eagles pitching staff, none of their teammates were satisfied either. Tresh later homered in the top half of the seventh inning for his team leading eighth of the season and first in over a month, to extend NC States’ lead to 9-3. This was after the Eagles managed to get three runners across in the bottom half of the sixth off of Wolfpack starter Reid Johnson. Johnson was coming off of his worst outing of the season last Saturday against Clemson, which saw him allow 8 hits and 8 runs to the Tigers in a loss. The junior right hander was able to return to form Friday afternoon going 6.2 innings and keeping the Eagles’ bats at bay with 4 earned runs.
Johnson did not have to do much as the Wolfpack offense finished the game with their highest run output of the season. North Carolina State scored 20 runs, 10 of which came in the top half of the eighth frame in which NC State sent a total of 14 batters to the plate. Every player in the lineup apart from ninth hole hitter J.T. Jarrett recorded a hit in the game with designated hitter Terrell Tatum leading the way with 4 hits of his own. Perhaps the biggest factor of the blowout was the fact that NC State only used 3 pitchers, while BC sent six pitchers to the mound. One of those, included freshman right hander John West, who was pitching in honor his late father who also had ALS disease. The Eagles lost by a final of 20-5, but West’s outing and the legacy of his father, Pete Frates, and Chris Combs were all honored in the process.
Tomorrow the Eagles and Wolfpack will meet again for their second game of the series. Boston College will look to build off momentum from a Chris Galland home run to left field in the ninth. Coach Gambino will send right hander Emmet Sheehan to the hill as the Eagles will try to bounce back.
Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com