2017 Baseball Season Preview Eagles look to repeat last year's success...and more

The Eagles made history in 2016...
  • They finished the season 35-22 overall and 13-15 in the ACC. The 35 wins were the most since 2005, when a record 37 was set. The 13 conference wins were the most since 2010.
  • They won a program-best six conference series, including against NCAA Tournament site hosts No. 2 Louisville, Virginia and NC State.
  • They had the best start in program history, going 8-0.
  • They swept the Oxford Regional as the three seed and advanced to the program's first-ever Super Regional, moving on for the first time in 49 years.
  • They took No. 2 seed Miami to a third game, falling one short of a trip to the College World Series in Omaha.
The Eagles won the Beanpot for the second consecutive year and placed on 13 of BC's top-five team record lists.
"Last year was fun and exciting. We’re happy with the results but ultimately, we were one game short. It was fun because we have been building toward that with the first four recruiting classes but we had a chance to go to Omaha and we fell short. It’s over and this year, we are looking to reach our ultimate goal, which is a chance to play for the national championship." - Head Coach Mike Gambino
RHP Justin Dunn was taken 19th overall in the draft while four other Eagles were selected (King - 12th round, Adams - 14th round, Sciortino - 19th round, Cronin - 34th round).
"They are all massive losses. Scores behind the plate is a massive loss. Obviously, everybody knows what Justin, Jesse and Michael were able to do on the mound for us. Joey was a huge part of the team both on the field and leadership wise. The year before, we also had massive losses. We also lost two weekend starters (Jeff Burke and John Gorman), as well as first-round pick Chris Shaw and we ended up having a more successful year. I believe that our program is finally at the point where we can have these massive losses and replace them with other really good players. The program can move forward and the team can complete at the same level that last year’s team did."
BC returns seven starting position players and 11 pitchers, including Friday starter and Freshman All-American Jacob Stevens.
"We have a great veteran lineup with a lot of players who have been through it. They know what it’s like to play in the ACC and the grind of a season. We have great leadership on the field and although we lost some really great players from last year’s team, I think – top to bottom – the lineup will be better this year with the overall depth that we have."
The Eagles welcomed 12 newcomers to The Heights in the fall: 11 freshmen and a sophomore transfer.

"I think it’s a really good freshmen class. We have some guys who will make an immediate impact." - Gambino

LINEUP

"It’s going to be a similar lineup to what had last year. We will have a little bit more thump in the middle with Casey, Braren and Martellini. We have guys at the bottom of the order who can do some damage. We can run throughout the order. It’s going to be similar to the last couple of years as we have really good at bats top to bottom and pitchers are really going to have to work to get outs. Our guys are going to grind out at bats and fight and scrap for runs." - Gambino

DEFENSE
"We are always going to be built on pitching and defense, especially our infield defense, which has been the strength of this team for the last four or five years." - Gambino

FIRST BASE

Mitch Bigras, Chris Balogh and Michael Strem
"We love the defense that Mitch Bigras gives us. He is probably the best defensive first baseman in our conference. At the plate, he started to make the turn last year. We are excited to see what he can do for us offensively this year." - Gambino
"Chris Balogh is going to give us really good depth at first and a bat off the bench. Chris has a really good ability to hit off the bench, which is a hard thing to do. He is in the mix at first for us and he improved immensely defensively." - Gambino

THE MIDDLE

Senior SS Johnny Adams & Junior 2B Jake Palomaki

"If there is a better double-play combination, I would like to see it." - Gambino

THIRD BASE

Junior Anthony Maselli and freshman Brian Dempsey will start the season splitting time at third.

CATCHER

Sophomore Gian Martellini and freshman Aaron Soucy will both see time behind the plate.

"It has been really cool to watch Gian continue to get better. He was a kid whom a lot of people questioned whether he could catch at this level. Everyone knew he could hit at this level. He has just completely dedicated himself to getting better. He has all the tools; he has the mentality. He has really taken massive steps this year to turn himself into an ACC catcher." - Gambino

"When you watch Aaron catch, he doesn’t look like a freshman from his presence behind the plate to the way he receives, blocks and throws. Our guys love throwing to him. It’s really hard for a freshman to play in the ACC and I have complete confidence in him behind the plate." - Gambino

OUTFIELD
Freshman Dante Baldelli, sophomore Dominic Hardaway, juniors Scott Braren and Donovan Casey and senior Michael Strem

"When you have Dante, Dono and Strem out there, it’s really hard to get a ball down in the outfield." - Gambino

"Donovan has made tremendous strides offensively, especially with pitch selection and recognizing pitches. He has always had bat speed and power but he tended to be streaky hitter early in his career. He would get outside of his plan, but we have seen him grow into a premium-premium prospect." - Gambino

"Michael Strem is just a baseball player. He can play any position on the field. He has the feel for getting the barrel on the baseball. He has always done it. He gives you the quiet, steady presence in the order and in the outfield. Every time he comes up, you just have the feeling Michael is going to hit a double." - Gambino

UTILITY

Sophomore Jake Alu and freshman Jack Cunningham

"Jake is going to give us great depth. He can play all three infield positions. He is one of our best base runners. He gives us options if we hit for someone. He can run, he can go in and play defense. He can legitimately play infield and outfield and can now pitch for us so he gives us a ton of versatility." - Gambino

"Jack is going to give us infield depth but he can also really play the outfield. His bat is really starting to make a turn. We can really see some development there...He is a strike thrower and he can mix his pitches. He is super competitive. He can hold runners extremely well and he can obviously field his position. We have complete confidence giving him the ball on the mound." - Gambino

PITCHING

RIGHTIES

Sophomore RHP Jacob Stevens

"What Bear did last year as a freshman was awesome – not surprising – but awesome. He is not fazed by anything. He has a great, three-pitch mix. One of the amazing things watching his development this year has been how much he has dedicated himself to his strength and conditioning and how much better shape he is in. He was great last year but he ran out of gas, which makes sense for a freshman. He is in great shape this year and his stuff looks great. He is the stalwart of our pitching staff." - Gambino

Junior RHP Brian Rapp

"Brian is really making a turn to maturing as a pitcher. He has always had big time stuff and he’s really starting to figure out how to harness and use that stuff. We’re excited and think he is going to be a big part of this staff."- Gambino

Junior RHP Bobby Skogsbergh

"Hitters have always had trouble barreling Bobby’s fastball. We love having him in our bullpen because of his confidence and his competitiveness. He can field his position. It’s really hard to get in the ball in the air and drive it out of the ballpark when he’s on the mound so when he’s in the game, you feel like it’s going to take three hits to score a run. As a staff and a program, we have so much confidence when he’s in the game. He doesn’t match your stereotypical closer because we’re used to seeing – especially in the Big Leagues – 97-100 mph, but Bobby shows you that you don’t need to throw that hard to be effective." - Gambino

Casey will also close games for the Eagles
  • Jake Alu
  • Austin Batchelor
  • Jack Cunningham
  • Luke Fernandes
  • Matt Gill
  • Mikey Giordano
  • Sean Hughes
  • Thomas Lane
  • Jack Nelson
  • John Witkowski

LEFTIES

Sophomore LHP Dan Metzdorf

"Dan is one of the most athletic kids on this team. He can do so many things on the mound. He changes speeds, moves the fastball around and has a really good breaking ball. We think he has the chance to be really, really good. He has Friday night stuff." - Gambino

Sophomore LHP Zach Stromberg

"Hitters have trouble getting comfortable against Strom when he is down in the zone. He has a curve, cutter and change up that he can mix. He’s healthy this season and throwing the ball great and he can be a big piece of our staff this year." - Gambino

Junior LHP Carmen Giampetruzzi

"Carmen has made huge leaps this fall. If you asked anyone on the team who their favorite guy is, Carmen’s name will come up a lot. We knew when we recruited him out of high school how competitive he was and we are seeing that now. I think he’s going to play a huge role in the bullpen this year." - Gambino

  • LHP Mitch Bigras will also see time on the mound.

In 2016, the Eagles were one of four ACC teams to advance to a Super Regional, finished eighth in the conference and ranked as high as 15th in the nation. They were not ranked in any preseason polls and voted to finish tied for the sixth in the Atlantic Division.

"As a program, we could not care less. The only thing we care about is us. Last year, I don’t think there was anyone outside of our program who believed we could go to Omaha and we ended having a 'flip a coin' chance in game three in Miami. So the fact that there is nobody outside this clubhouse and this program who thinks we can go to Omaha is par for the course…we are fine with it." - Gambino
The 2017 season begins on Friday...

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