Eagle Ready For Post-Season

Boston College baseball heads into the post-season for the first time since joining the ACC. The tournament begins today and runs through the weekend. First up for the Eagles is Florida State, who BC beat two out of three in the regular season.

On March 8, the Boston College baseball team opened eyes in Chestnut Hill and around the country with a 12-5 victory over #7-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee. With the win, BC took 2-of-3 from the Seminoles – certainly the team's biggest accomplishment since joining the ACC.

Over two months later, the Eagles are set to take on the Seminoles again – and this time, Eagles have a chance to open even more eyes.

BC will play Florida State this afternoon at 4 PM in their first game in the 2009 ACC tournament in Durham, N.C.

The tournament will be played in pool play format, with two groups of four teams. Each team will play the other three in their group, with the top teams in each group playing in Sunday's title game. After Wednesday's game with Florida State, which will air on Fox College Sports Atlantic, BC plays Georgia Tech on Thursday and Miami on Friday, both at noon. Both games will air on NESN.

"Obviously I feel good going in," said Mik Aoki, who guided the Eagles to a 31-23 record (13-15 ACC). "Our goal all year was to get a chance at playing in the ACC tournament… and I hope we enjoy our first taste of post season since we left the Big East."

"We had some success against Florida State, but they've gone 31-7 since we left Tallahassee, so they're a much different team now. It will be a great test for us," he continued. The Seminoles are 40-14 on the season (19-9 ACC).

John Leonard will start the opener for BC. Leonard is coming off one of his best performances of the year, giving up just one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings as part of a huge 3-1 victory over North Carolina last Thursday in Chestnut Hill. It was the only game BC would win on the weekend.

In the first series against Florida State, Leonard pitched four innings of shutout relief to earn a save and help BC win game two. On the year, Leonard is 1-3 with a 7.24 ERA.

Sean Gilmartin, a freshman who went 10-2 this season, will be on the mound for the Seminoles. Gilmartin shut down BC in Florida State's lone win over the Eagles, tossing eight innings of three-hit, one run ball, with the only run coming on a Barry Butera solo homer.

BC's second game will be against Georgia Tech on Thursday at noon. In their only match-up with the Yellow Jackets this season, BC suffered a tight 5-4 loss on March 13. Both of the weekend's other games were cancelled due to rain.

"Georgia Tech obviously is a team that has been among the nation's leaders all season long, but we played them very competitively in the one game we played down there," said Aoki. "I feel like [with J.B. on the mound] we have a good chance if we execute."

Senior captain J.B. MacDonald will get a chance for redemption on Thursday, as he suffered a hard-luck loss in Atlanta. Despite giving up two earned runs in seven innings of work, three unearned runs proved to be BC's undoing.

MacDonald has been BC's first starter all season long, pitching against some of the ACC's best on Fridays. He posted a 4-7 record with a 4.66 ERA.

Pat Dean will likely pitch the pool play finale on Friday against Miami, also at noon. If BC were to go 2-0 in their first two games and got enough help elsewhere to clinch a spot in Sunday's championship game before Friday, then Dean would be saved for Sunday's game, with someone else given the nod against Miami – possibly Mike Dennhardt.

This indicates the confidence BC has in Dean, who started the year as a mid-week starter but quickly earned a role on the weekends. Dean put up a 5-4 record with a 3.54 ERA, striking out 80 and walking 15 in 81.1 innings.

"It's the same with Miami [as Georgia Tech]," said Aoki. "They're a top 25 team, but we played them competitively. A couple more pitches, a couple more hits, and that series could have been turned around as well."

BC dropped 2-of-3 to Miami at Shea Field on the first weekend in May, but it was the sophomore Dean who notched the win for BC in the series finale, throwing seven shutout innings as BC pounded the ball in a 13-3 victory.

Although the Eagles have lost 2-of-3 in their last four ACC series – against Virginia, Duke, Miami, and UNC – BC was competitive in each series, and has been a difficult matchup for ACC teams all year, particularly due to their explosive offense. With the added motivation of playing in their first ACC tournament, as well as the possibility of an NCAA berth on the horizon, the Eagles have a chance to make some noise in Durham.


Team Offense: 54 games, .312 AVG, .390 OBP, .483 SLG, 55 HR

Team Pitching: 31-23, 4.84 ERA, 309 runs, 259 ER, .281 Opp. Avg.

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